The Institute welcomed two new members this past month! Dan Lizotte joined us as our newest faculty member, with interdisciplinary research interests in machine learning, biostatistics, and health. Lizotte is jointly appointed to the Department of Computer Science in the Faculty of Science, and to the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He is also appointed to the Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health and cross-appointed to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences. Farshid Soltani is our newest graduate student member. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and is currently working with Francesca Vidotto’s research group. His main research interests include quantum gravity, black hole physics and foundations of physics. Please join us in welcoming Dan & Farshid to the Institute!

We also launched a new initiative this month: Rotman Lunch Symposia. Held bi-weekly, these meetings include 2 – 3 informal presentations, followed by a brief discussion. Topics will vary, but we may introduce new members, share different research topics certain members are working on, highlight new initiatives, or discuss opportunities for involvement in research projects or working groups. For the first meeting on February 1, we heard from our three newest postdocs, Michael Montess, Kerry O’Neill & Jacob Neal. Each told us a bit about their interests & their research plans for the upcoming year. We also heard from Rob Corless who gave a brief presentation to us titled, “Does Truth=Beauty in a Mathematical Visualization?” At the second meeting on February 15, we heard from Emily Adlam, Michael Barnes, and Eric Desjardins, who lead the philosophy of physics, ethics of artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology reading groups, respectively. Each told us about the format of their groups, guests speakers they’ve invited, and how others could get involved. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to speak! We’re looking forward to hearing from more of our members next month as this series continues. And as we transition back to in-person events, we look forward to enjoying coffee & treats after these discussions!

Read other updates from our members, listed below alphabetically.

Michael Barnes presented his paper, ‘The Promise and Peril of Bringing Speech Act Theory Online: Human Content Moderators and the Collateral Damage of Online Speech,’ at the 2022 Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, in Chicago, IL.

There was an author-meets-critic session on Carolyn McLeod’s book, Conscience in Reproductive Health Care (Oxford 2020), at the Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association on Feb. 24. The book was also just favourably reviewed in the Notre Dame Philosophical Review.

On February 3, Kerry O’Neill gave the talk “Empowering or Oppressive? An Analysis of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs” as part of the panel Building a Just Welfare State: Equality, Efficiency, and Experimentation at the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Society Annual Meeting.

Maxwell Smith contributed to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidance for the use of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (i.e., Pfizer’s Paxlovid) to treat COVID-19 in the context of limited supply.

Maxwell Smith published an entry with Impact Ethics titled “Why the “Freedom” Convoy is not a Reason to Re-Think Vaccine Mandates“.

Pictured above: Dan Lizotte taking a selfie with the Western Master of Public Health Class of 2017; Farshid Soltani pictured at the bottom of a water fall in the Valle delle Ferriere near Amalfi, Italy; Institute members participate in the February 15 Rotman Lunch Symposium via Zoom.