Science lectures

The Faculty of Science hosts many public lectures throughout the year. Several of these are part of annual lectures series, list below:

A. J. Carty lecture

The Arthur J. Carty lecture was established by Dr. Francis W. Karasek to honour Arthur J. Carty, a former Chair of the University of Waterloo Chemistry Department and inaugural Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. The lectureship is intended to attract an individual with expertise related to the field of Science who will share knowledge and insights with students, staff, and faculty members.

Past Carty lecturers:

  • 2011: Sir David King
  • 2010: Richard Schrock
  • 2009: Nina Fedoroff
  • 2007: Carl Wieman
  • 2006: Arthur J. Carty

Adrian Smith lecture

The Adrian Smith lecture Series on Environmental Geochemistry, an annual lecture in environmental geochemistry, was established in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo by colleagues and friends in memory of Dr. Adrian Smith. For more than a decade Adrian Smith was a regular visitor to our department, initially as guest speaker and later as an adjunct faculty member, a colleague and a supervisor to our students. Adrian generously gave his time, participating in technical discussions of thesis projects, providing comments and advice for improvements and fostering philosophical debates. These efforts are reflected in new approaches and attitudes that our students take toward research and science.

The five most recent speakers are listed below. For a full list of past speakers, see the Adrian Smith Lecture Series page.

Past Smith lecturers:

  • 2018: Dr. Heather E. Jamieson, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queens University
  • 2017: Dr. Alfonso Mucci,Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University
  • 2016: Dr. John Cherry, University of Waterloo Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph and founder of the Adrian Lecture Series
  • 2015: Dr. Tom Johnson, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2014: Dr. Peggy A. O'Day, Professor, School of Natural Sciences, Univ. of California, Merced

Bridges Lecture Series

The Bridges Lecture Series aims to overcome the distance among academic disciplines. At one time, universities served as a meeting place for a number of seemingly disparate fields. In the classical and medieval worlds, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy all fell under the umbrella of the “liberal arts.” However, recent decades have witnessed the increasing separation of these areas of study. As university programs become more specialized, the gap widens, and the respective approaches and lexicons of Arts, Science, and Mathematics grow increasingly distant.

In past seasons, the Bridges Lecture Series has featured public lectures delivered jointly by a mathematician and a non-mathematician. Beginning in the 2016-2017 season, we are adding scientists to our roster. Bringing together scholars from Arts, Science, and Mathematics allows us to explore timely topics from a number of disciplinary perspectives, just as it enables an even wider scope of discussion. The metaphor of the bridge captures the spirit of our endeavour: to bring these fields back into productive dialogue, to raise questions that are essential to scholars in Arts, Science, and Mathematics, and to provide specialists and non-specialists alike with compelling and enriching information that uncovers the possibilities and opportunities that exist on the bridge between disciplines. Our guiding goal is to coax audiences out of their intellectual comfort zones, and to transcend narrow discipline-specific avenues of academic inquiry.

For further information, and this season’s lineup, please visit the Bridges Lecture Series page or Science events.

Gairdner Foundation lecture

The Gairdner Foundation was created in 1957 by James Arthur Gairdner to recognize and reward the achievements of medical researchers whose work contributes significantly to improving the quality of human life. Since the first awards were made in 1959, the Gairdner Awards have become Canada's foremost international award. They hold up the pinnacle of achievement as a mirror to Canadians, and in so doing, play a role in helping Canada achieve its goals of excellence. Each October, as part of the Gairdner's mandate to communicate the work of medical researchers to others, the most recent Canada Gairdner awardees, along with awardees from years past, visit universities across Canada to provide academic lectures on their area of expertise.

Previous Gairdner lectures at the University of Waterloo:

Farvolden lecture

The Farvolden lecture series, hosted by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, was initiated in 1996 as an annual celebration in honour of Dr. Robert N. Farvolden. The lecture series fosters interaction and communication between the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the alumni of the hydrogeology program and the groundwater community at large.

The five most recent speakers are listed below. For a full list of past speakers, see the Farvolden lecture page.

Past Farvolden lecturers:

  • 2019: Dr. Ian Clark - "Environmental isotopes in aquitard research: Are we finding solutions for nuclear waste isolation?"
  • 2018: Ed Sudicky
  • 2017: Cathryn Ryan
  • 2016: Roger Woeller
  • 2015: David Rudolph

TD Walter Bean lecture on the Environment

The professorship attracts top international research professors on the environment to campus to give public lectures, teach classes, and meet with professors and students. The professorship is named after the late Walter Bean who was president of Waterloo Trust until its merger with Canada Trust in 1968. When the professorship was launched, it was called a "fitting testament" to his legacy of community involvement and commitment to youth, education and community.

Past TD Walter Bean lecturers:

  • 2019: Dr. Jacqueline McGlade
  • 2018: Dr Steven J. Cooke
  • 2017: Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • 2016: Dr. Ben Schwegler
  • 2015: Dr. Tom Stohlgren
  • 2013: Prof. Diana Liverman
  • 2012: Dr. Norio Okada
  • 2011: Dr. Roger Peilke
  • 2010: Dr. Stephen Schneider
  • 2009: András Szöllösi-Nagy
  • 2008: Prof. Tavi Murray
  • 2007: The Honourable Michael Harcourt
  • 2006: Dr. Steve Hrudey
  • 2005: Dr. Frank W. Schwartz
  • 2004: The Honourable Flora MacDonald
  • 2003: Kelly Thambimuthu
  • 2002: Jörg Imberger
  • 2001: Dr. Naresh Singh
  • 2000: Jeff Luvall
  • 1999: Joseph MacInnis
  • 1998: David Schindler
  • 1997: Ursula Franklin

In addition to our science-focused lectures, there are numerous other UWaterloo events, Science events, and alumni events.