This is Why … There’s a Buzz About Bees

I snapped this photo in my backyard while enjoying the last bit of the summer holidays – just look at how busy this little critter has been, flying from flower to flower, collecting pollen. I’m fascinated by the role that physics plays in pollination, and not just the unlikely aerodynamics of bumblebee flight. Electricity plays...

Continue reading


This is Why … Igloos Are An Incredible Example of Human Ingenuity

Our amazing crew at Royal City Science has been brainstorming ideas for travelling exhibits that we can take to schools, festivals, Farmers’ Markets, etc. to share our passion for all things STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), while we fundraise to build a permanent home in Guelph. A blog post from the NFB recently...

Continue reading


This Is Why … I have a love/hate relationship with #IWD

Last month, the world celebrated the 7th annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGS). I was honoured to be featured by my institution for my work in fostering the natural curiosity of young girls through our fun video series, among other initiatives. I LOVE talking and doing science with kids, so getting the opportunity to share this passion more widely is fantastic. But today, on International Women’s Day (IWD), I find myself…

Continue reading


This is Why … Ducklings Form Single-File Flotillas Behind Mumma

This adorable example of everyday physics took me entirely by surprise. We’ve all seen a sweet little floating parade in the springtime at our local river or pond, with a mumma duck or goose followed closely by a line of babies paddling quickly to keep up. But I never really noticed that the spacings of each duckling is quite consistent down the line. Or that the formation tends to be single file much more than…

Continue reading


This is Why … Geese Are Yoga Gurus

(An ashy-headed goose demonstrating its exceptional balancing ability; image from Shutterstock.com) The other day I spent some time exploring the “arm” at Guelph Lake, curious to see how far up the Speed River I could get in my kayak before bottoming out. (Turns out, not very far. Water shoes would have been a good idea. I definitely need to try this earlier in the season when the water is higher.) (map of Guelph Lake with…

Continue reading


This is Why … Falling on the Ice May Have Saved My Life

(images from Shutterstock.com unless otherwise noted) On an icy cold morning at the end of February, I tentatively headed down the slope behind our house, on my way out for some daily exercise. As I stepped off a retaining wall down to the walkway below, my foot went right out from under me and I crashed down, hard. The small of my back came down on the edge of the six-inch high concrete step as…

Continue reading


This Is Why … Rainbows Have Nothing to Hide

A few weeks ago during dinner there was a sudden burst of sunlight in the midst of a rain shower. Knowing that these were ideal rainbow-making conditions, we jumped up from the table and ran out to investigate. Sacrificing our meal was entirely worth it: this photo was taken just a few hundred metres down the road from our house. Once again, I am blown away by the beauty of physics in the world around…

Continue reading


A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Lecture Hall…

As I strode across campus to meet my second-year physics students in our Electricity and Magnetism class a few years ago, it suddenly struck me that I had the makings of a fantastic opportunity tucked under my arm. My teaching assistant had returned their last assignment of the semester to me, so I quickly formulated my plan. As I entered the room and prepped for our session, I projected a stern and serious air, quite…

Continue reading


This is Why … Campfire Smoke Follows You Around

They said someday you’ll findAll who love are blindWhen your heart’s on fireYou must realizeSmoke gets in your eyesJerome Kern and Otto Harbach, 1933 (“Watching the Campfire” by Mr Moss is licensed under CC BY 2.0) Despite legions of campers swearing to the contrary, campfire smoke does NOT actually follow you around like your friend’s labrador retriever who really, really, really wants that wiener you just roasted. Of course, if there was no wind, if there were no complex…

Continue reading