Science Communication

From university professor to University Professor

At last week's York University convocation for the Faculty of Science and Lassonde Engineering School, I was made University Professor. That's me with the Dean of Science, Dr. Ray Jawawardhana. But, I'm already a university professor, so what does this mean? University Professor is an honorific title that exists at many North American universities, including University of Toronto […]

Gardening for biodiversity & local food in Carolinian Canada

Two excellent Canadian documentaries, The End of Suburbia (2004) and Escape from Suburbia (2007), discuss the enormous implications of our unsustainable North American car culture, which has spawned sprawling suburbs and gridlock in southwestern Ontario, and the Greater Toronto Area. These films include fascinating conversations with "futurists" about how people will convert their (sub)urban lawns into vegetable patches to grow local […]

More public science: appearing on the ZDF series, Infestation!

  I doubted that much could top discovering that my 2013 Skype chat about plant defences got me a movie credit in a science fiction feature film! But, you never can tell where science outreach and engagement will take you. Just a few weeks after hearing about my Botanical Consultant film credit, some of my other Public Science led to just as unexpected an […]

How doing public science led to a credit in the "Flora" movie

These days, science communication, outreach, and engagement are all the rage. But when I joined York University's Biology Department as an assistant professor in 1990, the notion, that part of our responsibility, as taxpayer-funded professors, might include spending valuable time away from research, talking with non-academics, other than our students, was rather a minority opinion amongst many YorkU faculty. Since […]

Science Fairs & Science on Ice at York University

The annual Science Fair is a right of passage for many aspiring, young scientists. I've been fortunate (if that's the right word), to experience them as both a judge, and a parent. Back in the 1990s, I was blown away by the creativity and enthusiasm of the young citizen scientists when I was a judge at the annual […]

Ada Lovelace Day at York University 2016

Once again, York University's 2nd International Ada Lovelace Day celebrations involved two different events: Canada Research Chair in Radioastronomy, and Director of the University of Toronto's Dunlap Observatory, Professor Bryan Gaensler gave the Ada Lovelace Day Lecture We held a drop-in Wikipedia Editathon in Steacie Science and Engineering Library We thank York University Libraries, the Lassonde School […]

Science Borealis' #SciComm100 science communication project

A picture is worth a thousand words. But, how about a great picture with a short-ish quote about the importance of science communication? (Now available on merch). I originally thought that this genius concept was Peggy Muddles', aka @thevexedmuddler's, idea. But, she fact-checked me, to explain that Science Borealis' recent blockbuster #SciComm100 project was rooted in Québec's Science Presse #100lascience […]

What I learned about Instagram from #ResearcherTakeoverTuesday at the COU

The clip of sea butterflies, below is from Anne Todgham's Go Pro. It didn't make it onto my Research Matters Instagram #ResearcherTakeoverTuesday in September. Anne, who is a Biology prof. in animal physiology at UC Davis, was an expedition cruise passenger on my Arctic Safari trip with Adventure Canada. Here's the text I wrote to accompany this clip: The arctic oceans […]