Canadian Science News

Federal Funding for Basic Science Research May Increase

CP24 News said that the research community of Canada has, for a long time, wanted a substantial increase in funding for science. 2018 may be the year for this to happen. With the Liberal government federal budget being only a few weeks away, there is a predicted or expected “lift” for basic science research.

The article claims that there has been an increase in the confidence for the academic world on the potential for an increase funding. This may address some of the concerns of the previous year with the national review on the state of fundamental science.

Some concerns have been raised about a possible focus on basic or fundamental science research and a resulting lack of focus on other areas of science. However, some disagree. Nobina Robinson, Chief Executive of Polytechnics Canada, said, “I don’t really care for this discussion around unfettered research versus applied research… A G7 country should be able to do both.”

Canada in Potential Risk for Decline in Relative Space Science

CBC News: Technology & Science noted that the unmanned SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was launched on Tuesday, in the afternoon. It launched from launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral—the same pad as the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Andrew Radar, a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, was the mission manager and is one of the top executives within SpaceX.

Relative to other countries, Canada has declined in its previous dominance in the area of rocket innovation and science, according to the article. Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, Afzal Suleman, said, “My feeling is that, at the end of the day, our sovereignty could be at risk…With crucial technology, if we depend on foreign entities, we are basically dependent. Do we want to depend on [other countries] to have these capabilities?”

Brown Mouse to Help with Research into Human Neuromuscular Diseases

The Vancouver Sun stated that a special brown mouse in Fabio Rossi’s lab at the University of British Columbia carries a specific genetic mutation that is for muscular dystrophy. The brown mouse with the genetic defect is being used to study neuromuscular diseases found in human beings.

Unfortunately, especially for the squeamish, the poor little brown mouse has to have Australian tiger snake venom injected into the muscle tissue in order to see the mouse’s own regenerative response. According to Rossi, the injected venom “burns.”

Canada is criticized for its treatment of animals in research. The Executive Director for the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods, Charu Chandrasekera, said, “Animal research has been the foundation of biomedical research for the last 100 years,” continuing, “It’s difficult to initiate culture change. It’s a paradigm shift that we need. We’re not ready to end animal testing tomorrow morning, but we certainly need to start moving in that direction.”

Meteorites and the Telus World of Science Edmonton

Global News reports that the facility director, Frank Florian, for the planetarium and space sciences gets a lot of calls about the Telus World of Science Edmonton.  Florian talked about receiving many calls from members of the Alberta community regarding the “bright fireball” that crossed the province, among others.

It turned out to be a meteor. Florian described how this could be valuable for the discovery meteorites in order for “researchers, astronomers, geologists” to look into the early history of the Solar System.

“When we take a look at these rocks from space, they kind of give us a clue about what the solar system was made out of… four and a half billion years ago,” Florian said, “Meteorites, because of their rarity and that they’re not of this earth, they do have some monetary value but again, the big thing… is their scientific value.”