This Week in Canadian Science 2018-05-13

by | May 13, 2018

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“Thousands of children descended on the University of Manitoba’s campus Saturday to muck up their hands and feet creating art, while learning about science and engineering.

At 50 interactive stations, the annual Science Rendezvous festival in Winnipeg aimed to show kids how science overlaps with all aspects of life — including painting, food and playtime.

While using a catapult to fling weighted balloons into buckets, nine-year-old Sara said her impression of science, so far, was that it’s “really fun.”

“I think it’s interesting,” she said. “There’s different kinds of it and different things you can do with it.””


(CNN)This week marks what would be the 100th birthday of legendary American physicist Richard P. Feynman. In a world in which many people think of the socially awkward Sheldon Cooper in the television show The Big Bang Theory as being a typical scientist, Feynman was the quite the opposite. And he should be remembered as one of the most brilliant and impactful physicists of the 20th century.

The public met him in his 1985 book Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, in which he regaled the reader with anecdotes of a colorful and well-enjoyed life. Feynman was a bon vivant, with an affinity for samba music, art, strip clubs and playing the bongos. He was also a successful ladies’ man.
There are those who have claimed that he was sexist, but the truth is subtler. He encouraged his sister to study physics, he advocated for both male and female students, and in the 1970s he supported a fellow female faculty member who he felt had been discriminated against due to gender. (She won her lawsuit in part due to his backing.) He certainly was a product of his time, but his attitudes towards women were not unusual for the era.
Feynman was certainly one of the most brilliant scientific minds of the 20th century, with an impact eclipsed perhaps only by Einstein. He was born in Queens, New York, to immigrant parents. His advanced academic life began when he attended college at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by graduate study at Princeton University, where he achieved a perfect score on the physics entrance exams. The bulk of his career was spent at Cornell University and California Institute of Technology.”

Feeling stressed and want to blow off some steam? Sites throughout the GTA and across Canada will be holding events all day May 12th for the Science Rendezvous Festival.This festival kicks off Science Odyssey, a week-long celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

The theme this year is Full STEAM Ahead, with the extra “A” standing for art. Last year’s event brought in more than 30,000 people from around the GTA.

Universities, colleges and other locations around the GTA will be holding free events and street festivals Saturday to show families the fun that STEM can bring.”


The value of diversity is well-proven. Findings from Harvard Business School, Catalyst, and WinSETT Centre demonstrate that increasing women’s participation in the workforce – especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers – brings significant economic benefits to organizations, industries, and countries.

 Diversity enhances market development. There is very strong evidence that an organization whose employees reflect the diversity of its client or customer base responds more effectively in understanding and serving their needs and in identifying new opportunities and markets.

 Diverse companies also have stronger financial performance and improved governance. Specifically, companies with the highest representation of women in their top management teams had a 35.1 per cent higher return on equity and 34 per cent higher total return to shareholders than those with the lowest representation.

A 2007 Catalyst study showed that “on average, Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the lowest. Compared to U.S. companies with the least gender-diverse boards, these firms reported a 53-per-cent higher return on equity (ROE), a 42-per-cent greater return on sales (ROS), and six-per-cent higher return on invested capital (ROIC).””


“VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Whether your interests lean more toward the intricacies of quantum physics or to drinking beer and making slime, a free festival stretching across Metro Vancouver today has you covered.

It’s called Science Rendezvous and it’s on today at the Kwantlen campus in Langley, SFU in Burnaby and UBC in Vancouver.

Executive Director of Science Rendezvous Katie Miller says at UBC, you can play something called science chase. “You get a card and it will direct you to go around the campus, try out hands-on activities and get a stamp. You’ll be able to ride a hovercraft, discover micro-organisms in the pond [and] explore quantum physics.”

The goal is to spark an interest and curiosity in science and engineering, especially, in young people. “See all of the current, exciting research that’s happening right now in Canada and inspire the next generation to fall in love with it and have their parents watch.””


“Before and after Sarah Blaffer Hrdy met her infant grandson for the first time, she spit into a vial. Two weeks later, when her husband arrived to meet the newborn, she had him do the same thing.

Lab tests later revealed that Hrdy’s levels of a brain chemical called oxytocin spiked by 63 percent that evening. Her husband’s spit showed a 26 percent jump after his initial meeting, but several days later, it also increased to 63 percent.

“There was no difference in the end result between me and my husband, it just took him a little more exposure to his grandson to get there,” she says. Now a professor emerita at the University of California, Davis, the esteemed anthropologist has written extensively about the science of human maternity. (Here are seven things you may not have known about the dark history of Mother’s Day.)”


“All across the country, from Nunavut to British Columbia to Newfoundland, people are invited to participate in hands-on science during this year’s Science Rendezvous taking place this weekend.

The annual events are held at locations — primarily universities — across Canada as part of Science Odyssey, a celebration of science by the Natural Sciences, Engineering Research Council of Canada. This year it runs from May 11 to May 20.

Science Rendezvous kicks it off on Saturday, inviting people young and old for a day-long celebration of hands-on science.

“The goal ultimately is to really increase the public’s awareness and involvement with actual science,” Kathleen Miller, executive director of Science Rendezvous, told CBC News. “Science isn’t just a thing; science is the process of finding truth.

“Science is truly involved in everything.””


““U.S. May Limit Access for Chinese Researchers” (front page, May 1) merely reflects the culmination of the concerted campaign in this country to erode public trust in science and liberal academia.

Foreign students readily fill the openings created by lack of American interest in advanced education in science and technology. Where these foreign students once stayed in the United States and applied their education for the benefit of this country, they are no longer welcome as immigrants.

Barring Chinese students won’t restore American interest in filling these positions with our own students. Reclaiming our eroding position as a world leader in science and technology also requires raising the profile of American science among our own students.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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