20/20: How drones could ‘see’ the world more accurately

In order to ‘see’ better, drones need help from scientists such as UBC’s Dr. Kwang Moo Yi. Photo: istock.Computer vision and visual geometry are key to improving autonomous vehiclesBy Silvia Moreno-GarciaUBC computer scientist Dr. Kwang Moo Yi studies computer vision and visual geometry — hoping to enable computer systems to better understand their environment, which could lead to truly autonomous drones, vehicles and robots.Can you tell us about your research?Autonomous drones, vehicles and robots need to know where they…

Continue reading


Bird’s-eye view

American goldfinch with Canada thistle and other plants, designed to bird-proof windows at UBC. Illustration: Derek Tan.How UBC community members are flocking together to bird-proof campus buildingsBy Silvia Moreno-GarciaVancouver’s shiny, tall, mirror-like buildings are an attractive and much-photographed sight. So too is the local wildlife, with Vancouver boasting one of the highest densities of wintering birds of any Canadian city.Unfortunately, the combination can turn those beautiful reflective glass windows into bird killers.A study conducted by four UBC alumni…

Continue reading


It’s not too late to save the night sky

Megaconstellations threaten to affect the quality of stargazing. Photo: iStockBut governments need to get serious about protecting itBy Dr. Aaron Boley, University of British Columbia, and Dr. Samantha Lawler, University of ReginaIn early 2021, just after the Perseverance Rover landed on Mars, a purported image of the Martian night sky went viral. In that image, above the sleek metal of a Mars rover, the clearly defined Milky Way cuts from horizon to horizon, crossing a sky filled…

Continue reading


Bee-ting the heat

Close-up of a dead drone. Photo: Emily Huxter.Could insulated hives protect bees from next summer’s heat waves?By Silvia Moreno-GarciaIt was a macabre sight. Dozens of dead drone bees spread over the ground, looking as if they had literally exploded from the inside out.“When drones die from shock, they spontaneously ejaculate,” explains Dr. Alison McAfee, a postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories who has long studied bee health. “They have this elaborate endophallus that comes out and is…

Continue reading


Summer science for the whole family

Photo: Beaty Biodiversity Museum.Looking for STEM activities for your family this summer? The University of British Columbia has online resources for you to explore, or check out some of our in-person programming 🎟️.UBC partnersThe Beaty Biodiversity Museum offers downloadable activities, online exhibitions and videos. Or visit the museum in person using an online timed-entry ticketing system 🎟️.Explore the UBC Botanical Garden online or in person. Book your tickets 🎟️ ahead of time.The Pacific Museum of the Earth…

Continue reading


Celebrate Earth Day 2021 with UBC Science

We celebrate Earth Day this April 22. Photo: istock.We should care about our environment all year long, but Earth Day is a good reminder to pause and consider the myriad issues affecting our planet and envision how we can create a cleaner, fairer, more sustainable world for all.This Earth Day, we look at some of the resources around UBC that explore the many ways humanity and our planet are interconnected.Earth 2020Last year, UBC oceanographer Dr. Philippe Tortell…

Continue reading


How Indigenous knowledge is helping us fine-tune statistical models

Pulling nets. When catching seals we employ different methods to outfit them with telemetry tags and track them. Photo: R. Gryba.How Indigenous Knowledge is helping us fine-tune statistical modelsA UBC statistical ecologist is trying to develop better methods to include Indigenous Knowledge in animal movement and habitat mathematical models.By Rowenna Gryba, UBC Statistics and GeographyIn Bayesian statistics, there’s a term called a prior. The prior can be “something known before” called prior knowledge. But it can…

Continue reading


What we’re learning moving our science and engineering outreach online

Science outreach experts are trying to keep kids learning and interested in science and engineering activities and topics. Photo: UBC Geering Up.UBC experts explain why online outreach for youth isn’t as simple as just digitizing curricula.By Theresa Liao (Communications Coordinator, UBC Physics and Astronomy), Alex May, (Graduate Student, UBC Physics and Astronomy), and Stephen Ji (Indigenous Outreach Curriculum Coordinator, UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach)Physics and Astronomy OutreachConnection between facilitators and participants is central to meaningful experiences,…

Continue reading


Bee smart: How I ended up pushing a weather station around campus in a baby stroller

Bumble bee on chives, which is a food and a flower, in my garden. Photo: Jennifer Lipka.Overshadowed by their more famous cousin, the honey bee, bumble bees have been understudied. But UBC’s Jennifer Lipka wants to get a closer look at these fuzzy insects.By Jennifer Lipka, UBC BeeHIVE Research ClusterMy bee search started last summer. With bug net in hand, I ran around the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus chasing bumble bees. As you can imagine,…

Continue reading