What motivates you?
My goal is to make sure that Canadians have opportunities to do science in space. These opportunities are rare, so we seek the best science that can have an impact on Canadians. Someday opportunities to do science in space will be abundant, but right now, they are rare, expensive and not easy to implement. In many ways, space health science is a pioneering science that lets us use the environment of space to learn things we cannot easily learn on Earth. It is very exciting to be here and see amazing science getting done in space, and to see how living things, especially humans, adapt and respond to space flight. Science changes how we see the world and ourselves.
What do you do for a living, and what do you love about it?
I am a government scientist who is part of a team of scientists and engineers who support Canadian scientists and industry to make life in space safer and make the astronauts’ return easy. What we are learning is part of the greater body of knowledge that will pave the way for human space travel and what we learn in space adds to the body of knowledge for us on Earth. How exciting is it to be part of the early stages of the next step in exploration!
Why are you excited to speak at TEDx?
TED talks are about sharing ideas and stimulating thought. To be invited to participate is a great honour and I am very grateful to the organizers of TEDx Winnipeg for this opportunity to get feedback and learn more about my subject.
Which TED (or TEDx) talk do you think everyone should watch?
The beauty of TED Talks is that there are so many fine talks to choose from, it doesn’t seem right to choose just one. I have watched the talk by Temple Grandin “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds” several times and find it articulates the idea of inclusion in a powerful way.
What is your idea worth spreading?
I will be talking about Space Health and Aging Research. Scientists have found that many changes that occur to humans in space resemble accelerated aging. Returning to Earth, astronauts experience accelerated rehabilitation. I will be talking about how being in space can help us look at aging in a new way.
What book have you recommended more than twice?
There are a few books in that category. My most recent favourite read was “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley. It is the first in a series of murder mysteries featuring an 11-year-old girl with a love of chemistry as detective. Absolutely delicious!