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Science of Scary

  • Mississauga Central Library 301 Burnhamthorpe Road West Mississauga, ON, L5B 3Y3 Canada (map)

At a time of year when we celebrate fear, join RCIScience to explore the science behind the scary! 

Dr. Amanda Veri presents Should You Fear the Walking Dead: A Microbiologists Guide to Zombies


Whether they’re in movies, TV shows or video games, it seems like zombies are everywhere. But are zombies just a pop culture fad or should we all be making zombie apocalypse plans? Let’s investigate the potential for a zombie attack by exploring the science behind zombies: specifically, microbes! We’ll discuss what makes a zombie, examples of microbes that cause zombie-like behaviours in nature, and consider whether these microbes could evolve to create the walking dead in humans. We’ll also take a look at the best ways to protect yourself from a zombie apocalypse (spoiler alert: the movies get it all wrong)!

Amanda is a microbiologist and recent PhD graduate working as a Research Associate at the University of Toronto. She helps support research programs exploring how microbes, especially fungi, can cause disease in humans.


Jen Chan, PhD student at the University of Toronto Mississauga, shows us how stress and fear interact with our abilities to perform while in dangerous situations. Using physiological measurements like heart activity and stress hormones, Jen studies police officer’s mental health and their decision-making skills in the field.


Get up close with black widow spiders, as University of Toronto Mississauga PhD candidate Monica Mowery guides us through some cool spider behaviours - including web spinning, swimming and...ballooning?! She’ll even bring along some live specimens! Monica studies how widow spiders invade new places, and how spider behaviours change as they establish and spread to new continents.

Reserve your spot here.