The Faculty of Science hosts public lectures during the academic year that address a scientific issue of the day as well as bring to campus well-known scientists from around the world. Established in 2002, the Discovery Lecture is designed to showcase and promote excellence in science journalism.

Sponsored jointly by the Faculty of Science and the School of Journalism, the lecture is held annually in the winter semester and is free and open to the public.

2024 Discovery Lecture

Misinformation and Ideology:
Does the ‘Truth’ Matter Anymore?

Timothy Caulfield

Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 | Lecture begins at 7 p.m. followed by Q&A at 8 p.m. ET
227 Teraanga Commons (Fenn Lounge), Carleton University
Find us on social media and join the conversation using #CarletonScience


There has always been a close connection between the embrace of bunk and personal identity. But the role of ideology as an engine of science-free misinformation is intensifying, especially on social media. The embrace of everything from unproven therapies to antivaxx rhetoric to climate change denial to election conspiracies have become ideological flags on par with, well, flags.

In this provocative presentation, Professor Caulfield will explore what the available evidence says about how and why ideology is used to spread misinformation, why demonstrably false beliefs are embraced by so many, and what we can, if anything, do about it.

Meet our 2024 Guest Lecturer, Timothy Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science, and public health policy has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic, science communication, and writing awards, and is a Member of the Order Canada and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He contributes frequently to the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015). His most recent book is Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety (Penguin Random House, 2020). Caulfield is also the co-founder of the science engagement initiative #ScienceUpFirst and was the host and co-producer of the award-winning documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over 60 countries, including streaming on Netflix in North America.

Follow Timothy Caulfield on X at @CaulfieldTim


Previous lectures, 2002-present

Unprecedented: Reporting on a New Era of Pandemics (2023)
Apoorva Mandavilli, Science & Global Health Reporter, The New York Times

Dangerous Genes: From CRISPR Babies to the COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory (2022)
Antonio Regalado, Biomedicine Editor, MIT Technology Review

Spiders to Wrangle & Mountains to Climb (2021)
Dr. Maydianne CB Andrade

Analyzing Picasso: Close Encounters in Art and Science (2020)
Francesca Casadio

The Past, Present and Future of Medicine (2019)
Natasha Loder

What Dinosaur Teeth Reveal About How they Lived (2018)
Robert Reisz

A Quirky Past, An Uncertain Future (2017)
André Picard

The New Communication Climate (2016)
Andrew Revkin

How to Build a Robot Brain: From Artificial Intelligence to Emotional Intelligence (2015)
Dr. Angelica Lin

Truth, An Inconvenience (2012)
Jay Ingram

Darwinian Evolution: From Conception to Misconception (2009)
Dr. Andrew M. Simons

Evolution and Its Causes (2009)
Dr. Charles Goodnight

The Darwin Beat: Dispatches From the Frontiers of Evolution (2008)
Carl Zimmer

Can Animals Think? (2007)
Jay Ingram
Host, Discovery Channel, Daily Planet

And Now For the Weather (2006)
David Phillips
Senior Climatologist, Environment Canada

Cold As Ice: Canadian Know A Lot About Cold …. Or Do We? (2005)
Dr. Gordon Geisbrecht
Professor of Thermophysiology, University of Manitoba

Future Fantasy: Turning Dreams Into Reality (2004)
Bob MacDonald
Host, CBC Quirks and Quarks

Science, Non-Science and Nonsense from Aliens to Creationism (2003)
Dr. Lawrence Krauss
Ambrose Swassey Professor of Physics, Case Western University

Hey! There Are Cockroaches In My Chocolate Ice Cream (2002)
Dr. Joe Schwarcz
McGill Office for Chemistry and Society