The City of Vaughan’s Dreamweaver 150 Project Catalyzes Conversations about First Nations & Inuit

Talking Art at the Toronto-York Subway Extension Opening The opening day celebrations for the Toronto-York Spadina Line subway extension were not only a chance to take in exciting new architecture, but also live music and art. The City of Vaughan's Dreamweaver 150 interactive art installation was at the Vaughan Metro Centre station (above & below). […]

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Crowdfunding Science and Scientists Has Its Benefits

A week or so ago, Glen Wright's very funny book, Academic Obscura, finally arrived in the mail. I learned about Glen from his twitter account, and donated in support of his book quite some time ago. Everyone who has ever done research should read Glen's book! I'm incredibly grateful to the people that reached unexpectedly […]

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At long last, the subway to York University has arrived!

I arrived at York University in 1990, to start a job as an assistant professor in Biology. I had just spent six years in England, at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, doing my doctoral research, and holding a couple of junior research fellowships (post-docs). I was excited to join a modern, new university, because […]

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Countering a Science Communications Failure

The decisions of Associate Professor R. A. Pyron, to write a perspective piece on extinction and biodiversity, and The Washington Post editors, to publish him, with the headline, "We don’t need to save endangered species. Extinction is part of evolution", have produced what I would label, as a rather large failure of science communication. Geological […]

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Researching women botanists in 19th century Ontario brought footnotes back into my life

Investigator-driven research is often highly serendipitous. In high school, I liked history as much as biology, but I'm a fidget, and biology, which is much more action-oriented, allowed me to move more. Also, references were much easier to type for science lab reports and essays, than those fussy footnotes required in history and philosophy. Nearly 40 […]

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What Trees Talk About features the excellent research of Canadian ecologists

I'm always thrilled when one of my colleagues contacts me, to alert me to their research hitting the mainstream media. On November 26th, 2017, CBC's Nature of Things, which is  introduced by Dr. David Suzuki, broadcast an absolutely fabulous documentary on the ecology of Canada's boreal forest: What Trees Talk About. I loved the programme […]

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Growing International Ada Lovelace Day in Canada

In October 2017, professional communicator, and designer of #ThatOtherShirt, Elly Zupko, came to Toronto with her family, to give the 3rd International Ada Lovelace Day Lecture (see her great talk above). International Ada Lovelace Day is one of several initiatives, such as Soapbox Science, founded by women in the last 10 years, with the aim […]

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Biology Graduate Students Bring the Bioblitz to YorkU

My friend and colleague, Guelph professor, Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (left, with her new son) invited me to give a guest talk in her first year Biology course: Discovering Biodiversity. I introduced the bioblitz concept in my talk, and encouraged students to join in with one, or to even organize a bioblitz of their own. The general […]

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Must-read books for scientists: 2. The Invention of Nature

When I launched my lab website in 2013, I had a vague idea that I would write one to two posts a year, urging scientists to read a book that I had found particularly inspiring. That first post was about Stephen Clarkson and Stepan Wood's A Perilous Imbalance. Sadly, Stephen Clarkson has, since, died. In more cheerful […]

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Blogging helps students AND professors to write more clearly

I didn't do much undergraduate teaching when I was director of IRIS (York University's now closed Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability). My course releases enabled me to attend loads of meetings, in place of lectures, where I ate A LOT of baked goods. I also ground through piles of financial, and other administrative […]

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