Jesse Hildebrand, creator of Science Literacy Week, says since Prime Minister Trudeau took office, funding for science has become a priority again. Photo contributed

Science Literacy Week descends on Victoria

Events range from National Science Reading Day to coding workshops to panel discussions

Jesse Hildebrand has always been interested in science communication. But, the self-proclaimed lifelong nerd never thought he’d find himself at the helm of a government-funded, week-long celebration of science in Canada.

Science Literary Week runs Sept. 18 to 24, with 650 events across the country, six of them taking place in Victoria.

Hildebrand, a University of Toronto grad, was the kind of kid whose bookshelves were lined with Carl Sagan on walls decorated with Steve Irwin posters. In 2014, he had an idea for libraries to share their science collections, in an effort to get the public more interested with how things work and why.

“Libraries are so wonderful because not only do they have the resources, they’ve reframed themselves into the ultimate community hub,” Hildebrand says on the phone from Toronto, where he develops and applies science programs for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

What’s great about Science Literacy Week is that it partners those who wouldn’t normally work together, Hildebrand says. At the University of Victoria, the Mearns Centre for Learning will host a panel discussion and wine and cheese Sept. 21, featuring speakers working in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We’re discussing science in an informal atmosphere with alcohol and it gets people interested,” Hildebrand says. “There are a lot of kids events, but I’m really excited when we get adults involved. Adults vote and need to know about climate change.”

National Learn to Code Day, Sept. 23, will provide an introduction to learning the digital language, a skill Hildebrand says will be critical in ‘every job in the next 20 years.’ Local hosts will deliver the day-long workshop designed for coders of all skill levels, including those who’ve never coded before. The event is a partnership with Ladies Learning Code’s Victoria chapter, a non-profit organization teaching technical skills in a hands-on way.

“If you look at women in high-level careers as they progress across the sciences, something is going wrong on the pathway there,” Hildebrand explains. “When I was a student, there were 70 per cent women. But heading into physics, computer science and chemistry, women are the minority and we’d like to see that change.”

At the Royal B.C. Museum, SciComm Night rounds out Victoria’s events for the week. Local innovators in science communication will be on hand including spider scientist Catherine Scott, who will discuss how science concepts must be crafted in order to be impactful.

Hildebrand has long been interested in getting the message across about science – “the fact that you can share these things with people and fascinate them about the cosmos and nature,” he says.

“It’s a frantic week, but it’s very fun.”

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Inner Harbour pathway in need of repairs: Harbour Authority

Victoria council approves initial design plans for walkway changes

RCMP open investigation to find missing Sooke macaw

$5,000 reward still being offered for safe return of Rufus

Check out what’s happening in Greater Victoria this weekend

From swimming championships to Oak Bay Light Up, there’s plenty to keep you busy this weekend

VicPD chief rescues lost $10 bill in downtown Victoria

The note was promptly returned to its owner unharmed

Oak Bay High rugby pitch mired in red tape

New field untouched since school opened in 2015

Victoria Royals giving a boost to fund inspired by Tragically Hip singer

Downie Wenjack Fund recipient of funds raised starting at tonight’s WHL game vs. Seattle

Nanaimo judge won’t let arsonist have a cigarette lighter

Martin Arthur Taylor previously pleaded guilty to February 2016 arson incident in Nanaimo

BC Ferries vehicle traffic last summer was best ever

CEO says positive results reduce future pressure on fares

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Panda picks Argonauts for the win

Giant panda at the Toronto Zoo picks Argos to win Grey Cup on Sunday

Black Friday fervour wanes as some consumers, retailers shun practice

Some businesses are choosing to opt out, while some shoppers are turning to buying online

Stay safe on B.C. roads this holiday season

RCMP warn drivers to plan a safe ride home or suffer the consequences this holiday season

Most Read