Canada’s next Governor General – out of this world!

By Claire EamerLiterally, she was out of this world. Twice! Julie Payette, who will take up the post of Governor General of Canada in the fall, is a scientist, an astronaut, and the first Canadian woman to board the International Space Station (ISS).Julie Payette. Canadian Space Agency photo.In fact, she helped build it. In 1999, she spent nine days as part of the second mission ever to the ISS. In a 2015 interview with Macleans…

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Canada’s next Governor General – out of this world!

By Claire EamerLiterally, she was out of this world. Twice! Julie Payette, who will take up the post of Governor General of Canada in the fall, is a scientist, an astronaut, and the first Canadian woman to board the International Space Station (ISS).Julie Payette. Canadian Space Agency photo.In fact, she helped build it. In 1999, she spent nine days as part of the second mission ever to the ISS. In a 2015 interview with Macleans…

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How Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Saved Lives

by L. E. CarmichaelOne of the coolest things about fiction (especially science fiction) is how it inspires scientific discovery in real life. Cell phones - inspired by Star Trek communicators - are a classic example. Edmond Locard is another. Locard was a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes novels, in which the great detective solves crimes using the tiniest of clues. The books were one of the reasons that Locard became a forensic scientist. He not only…

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It’s Chemical!

By Adrienne MontgomerieIn advertising and in popular writing, especially about health concerns, chemicalis used to mean harmful. As science writers and science-literate people, we know that chemical isn’t a synonym for harmful. Not all chemicals are harmful, and besides, everything is a chemical. So how can we, as science communicators, help readers understand the message by using more accurate language?What writers mean by chemicalWhen we read chemical, the writer often meansharmfulunnaturalartificialThe truth about artificial chemicalsSome…

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Science in Middle Grade Fiction

By Yolanda RidgeAs a kid, most of what I learned about history came from reading historical fiction. Although non-fiction has come a long way since I was growing up, for me there is still something magical about learning a topic through a character that is experiencing it.But unlike historical fiction, a genre that gives a realistic depiction of history, science fiction refers to titles set in the future dealing with imaginative concepts - things that…

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Retro Shows on Science from the CBC, and more!

By Paula JohansonSummer is here, and a lot of people are out of school for months. Though it's time to be outdoors doing fun things like gardening and kayaking, nobody wants to turn their brains off for an entire summer. There's plenty of science to learn -- but where?One of the things that works for science learning in the summer is finding free videos and audio recordings and podcasts to play when needed. Quiet evenings…

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A Two-hour Marathon

Breaking the four minute mile. Roger Bannister: 3 minutes, 59.4 secondsIn 1954 Roger Bannister electrified the world by breaking the the four-minute mile barrier. This video of the historic run is narrated by Bannister himself: Four minute mile Many had believed that running a mile in under four minutes was beyond the capability of the human body. Once that psychological barrier had been broken, new records were set steadily. Bannister's record stood for  less than…

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Beneath an Arctic Sea – Volcanoes Spewing Mud

By Claire EamerNormally, you wouldn’t expect the Beaufort Sea to be a hotbed of volcanic action. It’s covered with ice for much of the year. And during the short spell when the ice is gone, it’s a vast expanse of cold, featureless ocean that washes up on the northern coasts of Alaska, the Yukon, and the western Northwest Territories.An underwater mud volcano as seen by the research ship's scanners. Credit: Natural Resources CanadaBut beneath that…

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Three Men in a Canoe – A Fossil Legacy

By Larry VerstraeteOver the phone, Don Bell is matter-of-fact and modest, as if just about anyone could have accomplished what he, Henry Isaak, and David Lumgair did. But others didn't - at least not initially, nor to the same degree - and you don't have to look far to find proof of their legacy. It's a floor below the indoor hockey rink in Morden, Manitoba, in a sprawling space called the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre…

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