Two groups of Earth Sciences students are on international field trips. Professor Ed Spooner is leading a trip to Monserrat and Antigua. Professors Russ Pysklywec and Grant Henderson are leading a trip to New Zealand.
Joshua Nguyen is blogging from Monserrat and Antigua.
Ed’s courses in Economic Geology have been immensely popular over the decades and he has influenced a generation of students. Consequently a special undergraduate scholarship fund has been initiated specifically to support students in this field. A short video featuring past and present students impacted by Ed in their education and career can be viewed here.
We encourage all of you to donate to this scholarship fund in recognition of Ed’s commitment to teaching.
Professor Kim Tait’s ESS381 Special Topics course had the opportunity to ask Commander Chris Hadfield questions when he called in to the class on Monday, January 30th. Some of the questions concerned the role geology plays in astronaut training. Commander Hadfield stated geology was one of his first loves and he was fortunate to have a high school that taught a geology class. He stated astronauts train extensively with geologist to learn and understand the various formations they photograph from space so that they can take interesting and informative images. On missions, geology knowledge is essential to astronauts when they become “Geo Tech’s” operating equipment to collect and run analysis on rock and soil samples, sending results to labs where geologists will study them. Canada’s role and the importance of world-wide collaboration in space exploration rounded out the topics of a very exciting class.
Many thanks to Professor Grant Henderson who took on the role of Acting Chair for the 2016 calendar year while Professor Russ Pysklywec was on leave. Grant lead the department through an exciting year, celebrating the achievements of colleagues, steering infrastructure projects including the final stages of the Diamond Environmental Research Lab, the seminar room refurbishing, and the upgrading of classroom 1062 to a technology based teaching room along with the many administrative tasks that come with the office of a Chair.
Grant will resume his role as Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies. Thanks are offered to Professor Uli Wortmann who stepped into that role for the year with enthusiasm.
Three members of the Solar System Exploration Group (Alexandre Boivin, Brian Tsai, and Sara Mazrouei) in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida,on September 8th 2016, to watch the launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft which is travelling to Bennu, a Near-Earth asteroid.
PhD students Brian Tsai and Alexandre Boivin along with Dr. Michael Daly (OLA Lead Instrument Scientist, York University) speak with Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science prior to the launch of OSIRIS-REx. Photo credit: Kim Tait
OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) is the first US mission to return a sample from an asteroid to Earth. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is collaborating with NASA on the mission by supplying the OLA instrument (OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter) which will measure the surface materials and topography of the asteroid Bennu. Faculty members Dr. Becky Ghent and Dr. Kim Tait (cross-appointed with the Royal Ontario Museum) are members of the OLA team. Alex and Brian (PhD Candidates, supervised by Dr. Ghent) are Science Team Members on the OSIRIS-REx mission as part of the OLA Team. Alex and Brian also met with The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science along with the rest of the OSIRIS-REx Canadian Science Team prior to the launch.