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Great conversations start here!

Great ConversationsIn the spirit of discussion, debate and discovery, this speaker series brings leading global experts to a local audience to share thoughts, ideas and perspectives on a range of critical issues – from the pressing need for climate change action to the search for extraterrestrial life.

The series is presented in a three-part format: speaker presentation, followed by a one-on-one conversation with a moderator and closing with a question and answer period with the audience.

Don’t miss out on these intellectually enriching, thought-provoking evenings that are sure to get you talking and leave you pursuing great conversations of your own.

December 4David Julius

David Julius, Ph.D.

Peppers, Peppermints and Pit Vipers
How can spices and snakes help us unlock the mysteries of chronic pain?

From fibromyalgia to endometriosis to diabetic neuropathy, giving pain a molecular framework is critical to identifying new strategies for treating chronic or persistent pain syndromes, including a new generation of painkillers – without the side effects and addictive potential of opioids.

Researcher David Julius takes natural products like chili peppers, peppermint and wasabi out of the kitchen and into the lab to better understand pain and somatosensation – the process whereby we experience touch and temperature.

Julius studies how signals responsible for temperature and pain sensation are detected by our nervous system, gleaning insights from snakes, spiders and other biological systems. His groundbreaking, award-winning research has identified how these natural products reach and stimulate specific receptors on human nerve endings.  

Learn how a trip down the spice aisle spurred David Julius to this pivotal scientific discovery that could revolutionize how chronic pain is treated and controlled.

Non-Members - click here to purchase tickets.

Members - click here to purchase discounted tickets.

Presented by TELUS Health in partnership with the Gairdner Foundation.

Tickets sold separately for each presentation.

Tickets $20 - includes access to Inventorium, a new hands-on learning space

Members $15
Parking $5


Box office opens at 6 p.m.
Inventorium opens at 6:30 p.m.
Auditorium doors open at 7 p.m.
Presentation at 7:30 p.m.


Food and beverages available for purchase. 

Imperial Oil Auditorium
Level 1  

Recent Presentations

David Suzuki, Ph.D.

Can Humans Survive the Anthropocene?

Human beings have become the driving force shaping the properties of the biosphere. As the urgency of climate change becomes clear, will we have the foresight to choose a path to survival or allow economics and politics to drive us in the opposite direction?

September 27

Jill Tarter, Ph.D.
A Cosmic Perspective: Searching for Aliens, Finding Ourselves

Are we alone in the universe? Is there intelligent life in space? Humans have been asking these questions throughout history. We want to know where we came from, how we fit into the cosmos and where we are going. Searching for life beyond Earth may not only result in contact, but could also lead to a better understanding ourselves. What will life in the future look like?

Presented by "The Charles Darrow Lecture Series" in collaboration with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Toronto Centre.

October 27

Scott Kelly

In Conversation with Scott Kelly


We’ve created a research lab in space but can man really live beyond Earth’s orbit? Astronauts provide a unique perspective on both the challenges of living in a microgravity environment and the opportunities of human space missions. What are the extreme challenges of a long-term spaceflight on the body and psyche? Is there such a thing as a space gene? Does Mars hold the key to life in space?


Interviewed by former CSA astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, three-time commander of the International Space Station Scott Kelly will discuss his colourful formative years, record-breaking space career and the infinite wonder of the galaxy. Join us as the two sit down for a cosmic conversation, astronaut to astronaut.

Presented in collaboration with Penguin Random House.

 Media Partner:
Our Media Partners: The Toronto Star.