Bacon and Eggheads

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This flagship series brings together Parliamentarians with experts in science and engineering, showcasing outstanding Canadian research accomplishments. Its purpose is to provide unbiased insight into topical scientific issues, within a non-partisan forum. This prestigious forum represents a unique opportunity for scientists to communicate important findings to a distinguished and influential audience.

The series is organized by PAGSE, an umbrella group of 25 + science and engineering organizations operating under the auspices of the Royal Society, and is supported by NSERC.

When failure is not an option: new lessons for making Canada's buildings and bridges safer


Denis Mitchell, McGill University

Many of Canada’s urban regions are at risk of a moderate or severe earthquake. Preventing loss of life and major damage to infrastructure depends on correctly anticipating the degree and type of shaking, as well as understanding what makes structures fail, especially those built before the availability of modern seismic design codes.

As Program Leader of the NSERC-funded Canadian Seismic Research Network, Dr. Mitchell leads a national eight-university research effort to assess the vulnerability of Canada’s urban infrastructure and develop new methods to prepare our buildings and bridges for the inevitable significant earthquake.

An internationally-recognized authority on the behaviour of structures, he is frequently called upon to evaluate structures in distress and major failures such as the collapse of the de la Concorde overpass in Laval. The results are providing valuable lessons for structural designers, as well as adding new context and urgency to the assessment of Canada’s aging infrastructure.

Dr. Mitchell has received a number of national and international research awards and honours. He is the Chair of the Canadian Standards Association Committee A23.3, responsible for the Standard for the Design of Concrete Structures and is involved with a number of national and international codes of practice, including the National Building Code of Canada, the Standing Committee on Earthquake Design and the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code.

Organized by: The Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE)

Sponsored by:

--the Speaker of the Senate
--the Speaker of the House of Commons
--Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Date: Thursday February 3, 2011NEW TIME 7:15 am - 8:45 am
NEW LOCATION: Government Conference Centre, 2 Rideau Street
Cost: No charge to Members of the House of Commons, Senators and Media. All others $20
Registration: Please register by contacting Donna Boag, PAGSE Manager: 613-991-6369,
Registration Deadline: Monday January 31, 2011