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IGniting curiosity

IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will feature talks on oral history and climate change Jan. 31 at The Isabel.  

At its series launch event in November, IGnite captivated its audience with lectures on neutrinos and medical miracles. This Thursday, IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will showcase local history and research into climate change. 

Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) will take us back in time to Kingston’s historical Swamp Ward district with “History at home: Community research in action in Kingston.” Using research of past environments to illuminate evidence of climate change,

IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will feature talks on oral history and climate change Jan. 31 at The Isabel. Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change John Smol (Biology) will present “Back to the Future: Using the past to inform environmental policy.”

IGnite is a collaboration between the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and the University Relations portfolio. Each event features two researchers from different fields discussing their projects and research experiences, while also including interactive demonstrations and poster presentations from students and additional researchers. The series offers a public platform where researchers can share what first ignited their curiosity and motivates them to pursue their research.

Dr. Murray explains that for her IGnite offers an opportunity to share her methodology and how it relates to the community.

“My research draws on the knowledge of the community, and it’s a primary goal of mine to give it back,” she says. “Through oral history we discover the real lives of the city, going far beyond names and dates and buildings and accomplishments to what it has meant to live here in the past, and what it might mean to live here in the future. Oral history is also a wonderful research methodology in that non-academics can do it too.”

For Dr. Smol, it is the emphasis on public engagement that motivates him to participate in the series.

“Events such as this provide an important vehicle for knowledge translation to the public – a group of people who, by and large, paid for the research in the first place,” he says. “In universities we search for evidence - we search for truth.  If facts and information are not prized and communicated, then ideology will trump evidence.  And if you don’t value truth, then you don’t value democracy.”

The event, the second in a three-part series for the 2018-2019 academic year, will take place Thursday, Jan. 31, 6:30-9 pm at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Registration is free on Eventbrite and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series, visit the McDonald Institute’s website