Recent Posts

  • Sciographies – Episode 11 – John Gosse, Geologist Thu, Oct 10, 2019

    In this episode, we interview Dr. John Gosse, a geologist with Dalhousie University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

    We discuss growing up in Newfoundland, his adventurous undergrad years studying earth sciences, and how some of his latest research will help us better understand the risk of natural disasters in the Canadian Arctic as global temperatures continue to rise.

    Dr. Gosse uses specializes in using cosmic ray Isotope techniques to study how vast landscapes form and change over time. His research has brought him to The Andes, The Rockies, and The Himalayas. He has also explored the lesser known Torngat Mountains in Northern Labrador.

    Dr. Gosse spends a lot of time looking far, far into the pasts of massive mountains and glaciers, but his research also contributes to the fundamental science around prediction of natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis.

  • Sciographies – Episode 10 – Megan Bailey, Fisheries Economist Thu, Oct 03, 2019

    In this episode, we interview Dr. Megan Bailey, a fisheries economist with Dalhousie University’s Marine Affairs Program. We discuss her artistic hobbies, changing her focus and finding her passion, and what it’s like to work at the intersection of ecological science and social science.

    Dr. Bailey grew up in London, Ontario with a love of animals that led her to a zoology degree. She then spent a year studying the behaviour of monkeys in the Suriname jungle, hoping to one day become a primatologist. While there, though, she found her mind was more occupied with questions about the jungle’s natural resources and how the local communities were using them. When Dr. Bailey returned to Canada, she course-corrected her career path and pursued a Master’s and PhD in fisheries economics instead.

    Now Dr. Bailey is a Canada Research Chair in Integrated Ocean and Coastal Governance. Her research informs public and private policies around seafood production and consumption all over the world. Her motivations are guided by the belief that ocean resources can be governed in ways that consider both ecological resilience and the social-wellbeing of communities that rely heavily on local fisheries.

  • Sciographies – Episode 9 – Alastair Simpson, Evolutionary Biologist Thu, Sep 26, 2019

    In this episode, we interview Dalhousie University’s Dr. Alastair Simpson, an evolutionary biologist. We talk to him about a widely-publicized paper his team landed in the journal Nature last fall, and how studying the genetic information of microbes helps us better understand the evolution of complex lifeforms on Earth. We also take a break from the science to discuss the sport that helps Dr. Simpson get through Canadian winters.

    Dr. Simpson grew up in Sydney, Australia. He first came to North America for some of his graduate work at the storied Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

    Then he landed a post-doc position here at Dalhousie in the Med School’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – and he’s been with the university ever since.

    Dr. Simpson was drawn to evolutionary biology in his undergrad because of how much we still don’t know about complex lifeforms on Earth. Today, he contributes to his field with research on eukaryotic microbes, also known as “Protists”. They’re organisms with complex cells – just like us – but they don’t belong to the animal kingdom, and they aren’t plants or fungi either. These microbes form many different branches on the Tree of Life, and Dr. Simpson’s team is particularly interested in the species that are predators; the ones that eat other microbes to survive and reproduce themselves.

  • Sciographies – Episode 8 – Jason Brown, Mathematician Thu, Sep 19, 2019

    In this episode, we interview Dalhousie University mathematician Dr. Jason Brown. We talk to him about his early days playing guitar in a band with his siblings, the real-world applications of graph theory, and the mathematics behind Beatles music.

    In his free time, Dr. Brown enjoys playing music and writing songs. He’s been performing in front of audiences for decades and has even recorded his own album (Songs in the Key of Pi).

    Back in 2004, some of Dr. Brown’s research made international headlines when he first used the power of math to figure out what was really going on with the mysterious opening chord of A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles. Since then, he’s continued to explore music mathematically and publish the results.

  • Sciographies – Episode 7 – Sara Iverson, Marine Biologist Thu, Sep 12, 2019

    In this episode, we interview Dr. Sara Iverson to learn about her upbringing in Michigan, her fascinating path through university and grad school, what it’s like to work in the field with wild animals, and how to tag sharks and track them for studies that inform conservation policies.

    Dr. Sara Iverson is a marine biologist with Dalhousie University and the Scientific Director of the Ocean Tracking Network. She’s also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada—an honour that recognizes her life’s work studying physiological ecology. Her research takes her to remote locations in North America and the Arctic to study seabirds, seals, sea lions and polar bears in their natural habitats. Mattel and National Geographic even chose her as the role model for their recently-released polar marine biologist Barbie. Learn more at dal.ca/sciographies.

  • Hali-facts – Ep 04 Mon, Jan 21, 2019

    Rev. Russell Elliott was born in 1917. When he graduated from university in 1937, some of his classmates were going off to fight in WWII. He has lived all over Nova Scotia, watching it, the communities he made home and the entire world around him change in so many different ways over so many years. He witnessed the effects of the Great Depression. He was 10 when the television was invented and well into his teens when the first one came into his home. A few months over a century in age, he recalls his past as if it was yesterday. To start off 2019, Hali-facts hopes this conversation simply offers you perspective on life from someone who has lived a long and unique one.

  • Hali-facts – Ep 03 Tue, Nov 20, 2018

    The University of King’s College, Canada’s oldest chartered university, is trying to determine if it had any ties to slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries. The questions do not only surround Nova Scotia’s uncomfortable past but also how that past continues into today.

  • Hali-facts – Ep 02 Thu, Nov 15, 2018

    Cannabis is now legal in Canada. So, why, days before legalization, did Halifax police bust two dispensaries and charge 10 people? And why are some dispensaries, which are technically illegal, deciding to stay open?

  • Hali-facts – Ep 01 Thu, Oct 11, 2018

    Halifax is the first municipality in Canada to put a Legacy Space in its city hall. What does this mean in the bigger picture of Reconciliation?

  • Episode 6: Jeff Dahn, Battery Scientist Thu, Sep 20, 2018

    He went from the varsity soccer team at Dalhousie to striking a deal that made him Tesla’s first university research partner ever. Physicist Jeff Dahn isn’t one to “stand around and let grass grow” under his feet. He has led a highly-acclaimed career in battery science. Known around the world as one of the pioneering developers of the lithium-ion batteries now found in portable electronics, power tools, electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage, Dr. Dahn has been recognized with awards like Canada’s NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal in Science and Engineering. Now an Industrial Research Chair with NSERC and Tesla Canada, Dr. Dahn works to improve how much energy Li-ion batteries can store, how long they last over time, and how they’re made in an effort to reduce their cost. In between running his 25-member lab group, he teaches the first-year physics course at Dalhousie. In this episode, he talks about how he built a successful career as a scientist in government, industry and academia. He also comments on how Li-ion batteries are currently the best energy storage solution but alternatives, while in their infancy now, can also help us solve our energy problems in the future.