Dan Riskin

2020 Henry Marshall Tory Lecture

The Friends of the University of Alberta is pleased to welcome back 2015 University of Alberta Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Dan Riskin.

Making Science Accessible to Canadians in the Age of COVID-19

TV shows and web-videos about science were all fun and games until a coronavirus from China showed up to the party. Until then, audiences had mostly let the presenters pick the topic, and trusted them to deliver entertaining content. But with the arrival of COVID-19, audiences suddenly want science content about one particular topic. What’s more, the stakes have become much higher for two reasons: (1) science presenters must dispel a tidal wave of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and (2) public trust in science and scientists has a huge impact on the spread of the disease itself, since it influences whether or not people follow the advise of experts to social distance and wear masks. Dan will talk about his own experience as a science communicator in Canada through this transition, and offer his perspective about what the future holds.

November 4, 2020 at 7pm MT via Zoom

Bio:
Dan Riskin, PhD, is a biologist, science journalist, and author. He is best known as the former host of Daily Planet on Discovery, and as the author of the bestselling book Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You. After graduating from the University of Alberta, Dan worked as a bat scientist, travelling around the world to understand the biomechanics of bat movement. But for the last decade or so, he has focused on communicating science to popular audiences, writing, and appearing as a guest on TV news shows (CTV, BNN, CNN, CBS). Dan’s been interviewed by Anderson Cooper, Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, and Mehmet Oz, and has hosted his own shows on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, CTV, and CBC. He now lives in Toronto, but he still cheers for the Oilers.

Follow Dan Riskin on Twitter: @riskindan

Update: Here are the paper’s Dan referenced in his talk

β-Adrenergic activation and memory for emotional events
https://www.nature.com/articles/371702a0

A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-020-0534-9

The impact of incorrect social information on collective wisdom in human groups
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsif.2020.0496

The spread of true and false news online
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146

The Emotional Path to Action: Empathy Promotes Physical Distancing and Wearing of Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797620964422