Tim Caulfield

Unravelling the Urban Science Myth

University of Alberta Professor Tim Caulfield’s research focuses on the ethics of evidence-based science.


Tim Caulfield is a Professor in the Faculty of Law and School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He is also the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy. We asked everything from why he chose his field of study to what’s on his playlist in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
To be fair, I’m more of a researcher who does research on science and health policy. So, I’m a scientist in the broader sense of the term!  Still, I am a science geek. I simply love everything about it. Science history. Philosophy of science. And science controversies.  But I am also fascinated by social policy.  So, my job is the perfect combo!

What do you like most about being a scientist?
Engaging with incredible colleagues, learning new things and the possibility – however slight – of improving the future.

What do you envision in the future of your field?
I think the areas of bioethics and science health policy will become increasingly science-based.  This prediction might be tainted by wishful thinking!

How will your research make a difference in our lives?
One of my passions is debunking all the ridiculous health myths that circulate in popular culture.  They are simply everywhere and touch everything from vaccination practices to diet and exercise.  I hope my work helps Canadians, in some small way, to focus on the evidence-based truths about what makes us healthy.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Be fearless. Be rigorous. Be passionate. And have fun!

What do you read?
History-oriented nonfiction, but trying to read more great fiction!

What’s on your Ipod?
Is “everything but bad country” (a very large category) a fair answer?  Music is one of my great loves. I am using streaming services now, resulting in a lot of sampling.

If you could meet any historical figure who would it be and why?
This is going to sound like I am playing to my audience, but I’m gonna say Newton (a kook, but I don’t think he was a lot of fun), Darwin (the man changed the world!), or Joe Strummer!

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?
If you could wave a wand and give me the talent, I’d be a writer of historical fiction… that or the lead singer of a fabulously successful and critically acclaimed rock band.

What do you like to do for fun?
Books, bikes, movies, music, and family.