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.

Unnatural tremors: the science of fracking and earthquakes

Gail Atkinson, Western University

Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) transformed resource economics for fossil fuels in North America and opened the door to a new oil and gas boom. But earthquakes near these drill sites are on the rise -- up five-fold in western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. How big can they get? According to Dr. Atkinson, in the wrong place they could be catastrophic. She will discuss the causes of these quakes, their associated risks, and the policy implications, as well as possible strategies to ensure the safety of infrastructure such as major dams. Dr. Atkinson will conclude her talk with some general observations about earthquake risk across the country and our state of preparedness.

Gail Atkinson is a Professor of Geophysics at Western University whose research has influenced building codes and standards in Canada as well as seismic hazard and risk assessments around the world. She has conducted hazard analyses for dozens of major engineering projects, and helped develop design regulations for structures such as buildings, dams and nuclear plants. A Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Atkinson has served as President of both the Seismological Society of America and the Canadian Geophysical Union. She holds the NSERC/TransAlta/Nanometrics Industrial Research Chair in Hazards from Induced Seismicity, which investigates this new risk from unconventional oil and gas development.

The presentation will be in English.

Organized by: The Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE).
Supported by: CANARIE inc. and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and many other sponsors.

The Speaker of the Senate
The Speaker of the House of Commons

Date: Thursday, February 9, 2017, 7:30 am - 8:30 am (Hot breakfast is ready by 7am)
Location: Parliamentary Dining Room, Centre Block
Cost: No charge to Members of the House of Commons, Senators and Media. All others $25. Payment must be made in advance by credit card. No refunds for cancellations after February 6, 2017


Contact information: Donna Boag,, 613-991-6369