USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

He’s known to his students and fans simply as “Dr. Joe,” but then Joe Schwarcz, professor of chemistry, has always kept things light, uncomplicated and a little magical, especially when pursuing his challenging goal: demystifying science for young learners and the public.

Joe has created a multi-faceted career in using his skill as a chemical scientist, magician, author, broadcaster, food expert and motivational speaker in communicating science to others in very interesting ways. This includes his role as Director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he and his colleagues use their unconventional “Chemistry for the Public” lecture series to wow students and the public about chemistry and other areas of science, and how such knowledge can be applied to everyday life .

“Our mandate at the Office for Science and Society is to demystify science, separate sense from nonsense and hopefully foster critical thinking,” says Joe. “When people are ill-informed about science, they are at risk of falling into the clutches of charlatans… unless we arm the public with enough informational weaponry to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Here is an article written by Joe with a cautionary tale about a celebrity chef and his “science free” diet.

Joe says chemicals get a bad rap. Can you name some chemicals that improve our lives without causing any harm to us or the environment?

Read more about Joe here.

And watch this video interview with Joe discussing the role chemicals play in our every day lives.


  1. #1 Ethan Siegel
    July 15, 2011

    Short answer: because industrial and chemical processes often have severe, unintended health consequences.

  2. #2 Kandy Collins
    July 20, 2011

    Thanks for your comment.

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