Planning for the Best; Preparing for the Worst

On December 3, David Saint-Jacques will launch with two crewmates from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. David will spend six months aboard the Station as part of the ‘C3’ expedition, Canada’s third long-duration mission. Preparation for an ISS expedition is a significant undertaking requiring the […]

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Being Mindful of Everyday Encounters

Gathie Falk is a beloved and unconventional artist from Vancouver. She has a reputation in the art world for skillfully using a wide variety of media to venerate the ordinary. ‘Venerating the ordinary’ means that she incorporates commonplace objects into her artworks and invites us to reconsider the role of these objects in our lives. […]

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The Spirit of Innovation

I had the pleasure to meet Margaret Nazon at the opening of the Cosmos exhibition at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Margaret is a contemporary artist and delightful woman from the Gwich’in First Nation in the Northwest Territories. Tsiigehtchic, the small (150 people) remote community where she lives, is situated on the Mackenzie River south […]

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Rendezvous of the Arts and Sciences

A new art exhibition entitled Cosmos opened Saturday at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. The exhibition features intriguing works by three esteemed Canadian artists – Gathie Falk, Margaret Nazon and Erik Olson – on the subject of space. A few months earlier, Melanie Kjorlien, Glenbow Vice President, approached me to submit a narrative about her […]

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Skills for Success in the Digital Economy

I dropped in last week on an educational workshop being held at the Vancouver office of SAP Canada. 40 Grade 6 to 9 students and their teachers from local schools were engaged in a hands-on project called Living Space. As I moved about their workspace, I noted that the students and teachers were coding tiny […]

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Returning Home in Soyuz – a Wild, Wild Ride

A second edition of the book ‘The Farthest Shore: A 21st Century Guide to Space’ has just been published by Apogee Books (a Canadian publisher). http://www.cgpublishing.com/ The original book was a paperback that served as a textbook for the students of International Space University. It covered all aspects of space exploration and development. The new […]

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Let’s regain our place as a nation of explorers

I noticed a tweet this morning from my space colleague Natalie Panek stating that the federal government’s Standing Committee on Finance had launched its pre-budget consultations and deliberations in advance of the 2019 federal budget. Natalie encouraged us to make our voices heard by sharing our priorities with the Committee. I was eager to help. […]

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Deep space exploration and healthcare innovation

Last month I was in Vancouver to attend the e-Health 2018 Conference. This annual conference and tradeshow brought together 1,250 digital health professionals from diverse backgrounds and across Canada. It was a good opportunity to network, share ideas and learn from each other. I participated in a plenary session at the conference. Sonny Kholi (physician […]

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Looking back on four years as Chancellor

My four-year term as Chancellor of the University of Calgary is coming to an end. It has been an enjoyable ride. Many people think of the chancellor solely as the official who attends formal university events and participates in convocation. The chancellors of Alberta’s three largest universities have responsibilities that go beyond simply presiding over […]

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Failure: a critical element on the path to success

Several years ago, when I was a novice astronaut, I was asked to participate in a training simulation. The training session lasted about eight hours and involved mission managers, flight controllers and crew. As a participating crewmember, I was stationed in a high-fidelity simulator of the International Space Station in a building at the NASA […]

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