Canadian Science News

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan Views Research Chair Nominations as “Dismal”
Maclean’s said, “Canada’s Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan made headlines when she expressed frustration over the fact female scientists occupy only 30 per cent of the 1,612 positions in the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP).”

Global News noted that Minister Duncan considered universities to not be doing enough heavy lifting in hiring more women research chairs. She stated her belief in the competitive economy, where, if leaving out half of the talent pool, the country will be less competitive economically.

Based on reportage from the Toronto Star, the results of the nominations for the CRCPs were “dismal,” according to Minister Duncan: two times more men than women were nominated. The CRCPs were created 17 years ago. They are research positions in Canadian universities to push for excellence in “engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.”

Canada’s Mixed History with Science
According to Global News, “?people in almost 500 cities across multiple continents marched in solidarity for the promotion of science. What began as a single rally in Washington, D.C. … grew into an international political statement that included over a dozen Canadian cities.”

The march has a background. In 2010, Bill C-626 helped eliminate the long-form census. The census was meant to gather data for governments to plan particular programs. In 2012, Bill C-38 “launched an uproar.” It was from the Harper administration, and according to Global News, “weakened the laws protecting the natural environment in Canada.”

With Bill C-38, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, which was based on commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, Justin Trudeau campaigned for scientific freedom. It was the first time “science became a campaign promise.”

17 New Astronaut Candidates
CTV News reported that 17 new Canadian astronaut candidates have been selected. Among the candidates? occupations, there is a family doctor, astronomical optics scientist, and an engineer working with the German Aerospace Centre, among others.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) revealed the names and profiles of the 17 astronaut candidates. Jeremy Hanson, a CSA astronaut, and Canadian innovation minister, Navdeep Bains, introduced the 17 candidates during a live-streaming Facebook presentation.

“we’re searching for people that I would climb into a rocket with and fly to space,” Hanson said. “Who have to be able to fix the toilet one day, be a plumber in space, to conducting world-class science to carrying out a risky spacewalk.”

Fundamental Science Review the most comprehensive in 40 years
Canadian News Wire printed a release stating: “A comprehensive review of Canada’s complex science system will help inform the future of Canadian research and scholarship. This was the message given by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, during?Universities Canada’s annual membership and board meeting.”

This was Minister Duncan’s first speech after getting the most comprehensive science review in 4 decades. It is the Fundamental Science Review for the nation, which looks at the “federal support for fundamental science.”

Minister Duncan emphasized to university presidents the need to ensure effective and strategic investment of taxpayer money. Governments and researchers have a co-responsibility in showing how investments in science are of benefit to the common good in Canada.

Quantum technology in space and radar research for Mars get $80.9 million
“Money earmarked for space development in this year’s federal budget will go to two projects that could have lasting impacts on Earth and beyond, the federal government announced Thursday,” the Toronto Star reported.

One research project involves radar to study the surface of Mars, even below its surface. The other science project will examine the potential uses of quantum technology in space. University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing will oversee it.

The money investments will be $80.9 million over 5 years. Navdeep Bains, economic development minister, said, “We want to have a thoughtful, insightful, long-term plan when it comes to space.” He talked to Canadian Space Agency (CSA) staff, saying investments in space innovation are smart.

Humans may have been to North America 115,000 years earlier than thought
Humans may have lived in North America far longer than previously thought. Recently, there was evidence found of human activity as far back as 130,000 years ago. The evidence is from an archaeological site in San Diego County, California.

“In 1992, a site was uncovered containing mastodon bones, along with stone anvils and hammerstones. Dating the tools proved to be challenging. However, using recent technology, including uranium dating, the team believes they have firm evidence that humans were using tools to break apart the bones and make other tools,” CBC News said.

Co-author of a Nature paper, Richard Fullager, said the materials, bone wear patterns, and the site, make the evidence “absolutely incontrovertible.” It is also controversial. Anthropologists and paleontologists have consensus for humans? journey to North America 15,000 years ago. This evidence indicates it was 115,000 years earlier.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the AUSU VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.

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