About the blog
This blog offers science journalism from a Canadian perspective. ‘Scientific Canadian’ refers to the intended reader; someone who is interested in learning about science, but who might or might not have any formal training or expertise. In this sense, I think it describes pretty much everyone.
You’ll read about new scientific discoveries and the people who are making them. You’ll learn things you might not have known about our scientific heritage. And you’ll get a Canadian perspective on global science issues and trends, from climate change to the chemistry of food.
I don’t believe that scientists are fundamentally different from the rest of us, or that science is too difficult, complex, or boring for non-specialists to understand. Scientists don’t need to ‘dumb down’ their message to be understood; instead they merely need to strip away the dense, jargon filled-language that they use to communicate with one another, revealing the beautiful truth beneath.
At its heart, science is about investigating the world around us, something all humans do instinctively, and something we all take pleasure in. It is nothing more or less than the best tool we have for revealing the true nature of the universe. This world, the real world, is more amazing, more surprising, and more engaging than anything we could make up.
I hope you like what you find.
Most of what you’ll find here relates to the latest discoveries in fields as diverse as chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, and even a wee bit of psychology. I’ve labeled these stories “The Latest”.
Occasionally I depart from straight news to give an opinion. While it’s undeniable that science impacts our daily lives, there’s still room for debate about the exact role that science (and scientists themselves) should play in areas like social policy or politics. These posts are labeled “The Issues”.
Sometimes something isn’t particularly new, but it’s new to me and/or I feel it’s worth revisiting. For example, I might describe the Canadian connections to the history of a scientific theory. I’ve called these posts “The Vault”.
A subset of “The Vault” is a series on demystifying some common analytical techniques that scientists often use, such as spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). These posts are filed under “Technique of the Week” despite the fact that I don’t expect them to come out anything like weekly.
Lastly, if I don’t have the time or the energy to write, I may just add a quick commentary/recommendation to something worthwhile that someone else has produced. These posts are labeled “Made You Look.”
About the blogger
My name is Tyler Irving.
I write from the perspective of someone who has some formal science training (in my case, a couple of degrees in chemical engineering) and is passionate about public understanding of science. Over the years, I have approached this field from every angle I can think of: science camp counsellor, outreach program coordinator, museum host, high school teacher, graduate researcher, part-time lecturer, radio broadcaster, tutor, and science writer. I live in Toronto and feel strongly that Canada is a great place to live, work, and do good science.
Much of my work has been published in ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News where I worked as staff writer and news editor from 2010 to 2013. My work has also appeared in general interest publications like Torontoist.com and I’ve been recognized with national awards from the Canadian Science Writer’s Association and from Engineers Canada. In my spare time I can be found writing this blog, freelancing as time permits, and occasionally playing the Great Highland Bagpipe.
If you want to contact me, you can do it here.