Catching a Glimpse of the Northern Lights

The northern lights are a spectacular natural phenomenon, with the infuriating feature of being wildly rare or exceedingly commonplace, depending on where you live. Here in southern Ontario, they are the former. Until last week, I’d never properly seen an aurora, but on a visit to Killarney Provincial Park on July 7, 2022, I was …

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The Roundhouse Crosstalk podcast: Guest appearance

Recently, I talked to Jake Jennerjohn from the California State Railroad Museum about the many ways that the railroad shaped timekeeping – and how timekeeping shapes society. We covered a lot of ground in this 30-minute discussion, including discussions about why studying history is important, and the value of equitable access to information. Listen in …

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To the Perimeter!

Today I have a quick update to share. This week, I start a new role as a science writer/editor at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo. I’m excited to dive headfirst into this role. I grew up hearing about the Institute (they gave public lectures in my high school’s auditorium), and Perimeter always …

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An 1874 Citizen Science Project Studying the Aurora Borealis Helped inspire Time Zones

For millennia, humans have gazed at the northern lights with wonder, pondering their nature and source. Even today, these once mysterious phenomena still evoke awe, though we understand them a little better now. Still, most of our knowledge about the northern lights has come recently, in the last century or two. Astronomers and meteorologists of the …

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Available Now: “The Clocks are telling Lies.”

Today’s the day! The Clocks are Telling Lies is available now in bookstores near you. The book is a scholarly investigation into the early days of global timekeeping, when engineers and astronomers vied for control over how the world would coordinate their clocks. If that sounds interesting, here’s what to expect: Its a five-part book: …

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Announcing “The Clocks are Telling Lies,” a new book Coming January 2022!

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover art for The Clocks are Telling Lies: Science Society and the Construction of Time. The book (by yours truly) was just announced in McGill-Queen’s University Press’ Fall Catalogue! The Clocks are Telling Lies is an exploration of why we tell time the way we do. It’s about how …

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When Life Interrupts Science: Precarity, Pranks, and Discipline at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

The following is a piece I wrote last month to accompany my latest article in the British Journal of the History of Science about astronomy at Greenwich Observatory in the 19th century. Read on to learn more: Astronomy at the Royal Observatory was a complicated endeavour in the nineteenth century, and not just because of …

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