Herzberg & Plenary Speakers 2021

Herzberg Public Lecture Speaker 

The Herzberg Memorial Public Lecture will take place on Sunday June 6th in the evening.  The lecture will be live streamed to the whole of Canada. University academics, students and researchers, high school teachers and students, and the general public are encouraged to attend.

The Herzberg Public Lecture Speaker will be announced in March 2021.

Plenary Speakers:


Avery E. Broderick

University of Waterloo

View bio here. 

“Unmasking Black Holes with the Event Horizon Telescope”
Black holes are, without question, one of the most bizarre and mysterious phenomena predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  They correspond to infinitely dense, compact regions in space and time, where gravity is so extreme that nothing, not even light, can escape from within.  And, their existence raises some of the most challenging questions about the nature of space and time.  Over the past few decades, astronomers have identified numerous tantalizing observations that suggested that black holes are real.  This past April, the search for confirmation changed dramatically with the publication of the first image ever taken of a black hole, rendering tangible what was previously only the purview of theory and science fiction.  I will describe how these observations were made, how the images were generated, how quantitative measurements were obtained, and what they all mean for gravity and black hole astronomy.
2021- Renée Horton-Photo

Renee Horton


View bio here

“Friction Stir Welding in the Aerospace Industry”

Abstract coming soon.


Alessandra Lanzara

University of California, Berkeley

View bio here. 

“Leveraging Local Symmetry Breaking to Engineering Novel Materials”

The 20th century has been dominated by the realization that symmetry and symmetry breaking influence the forces that govern our universe and are keys to much of the novel phenomena observed in materials today.   Recently it has been realized that, even if the global symmetry of a system is retained, a local symmetry breaking can still drive a variety of novel fascinating behaviors.  In this talk I will present the effect that local breaking of inversion, translational and rotational symmetry can have in defining fundamental properties of matter from topological phases to superconductivity and how it can be used as a tuning parameter to control novel properties in van der Waals heterostructures.

author photo high res

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

University of New Hampshire

View bio here.

“The Right to Know and Love the Night Sky”
In this talk, I will argue that treating the marginalization of certain groups in science as a workforce problem ignores the deeper issue: that wondering about the universe is a fundamental right. I will discuss what it means to create the conditions in which we all have a chance to know and love the night sky and all of the particles that populate it.

Brian Wilson

University of Toronto

View bio here

“Cancer and Light: How optical sciences and engineering impact cancer research and patient care”

The multiple interactions of light with biomolecules, cells and tissues enable established and emerging techniques and technologies used in cancer research and patient care.  These approaches range from simple, point-of-care devices to complex, multifunctional platforms combined with complementary non-optical methods, including nanotechnologies, robotics, bioinformatics and machine learning. This seminar will use specific examples from current research to illustrate the biophysical and biological principles underlying the emerging fields of “onco-photonics” or “photo-oncology”.