The Importance of Supporting Women in STEM

It takes a lot of strength and courage to follow your heart and do something you truly believe in. Since I have entered the sciences I have gone through this enormous emotional struggle of never feeling good enough, or always feeling the need to prove myself to be accepted. I strongly believed the reason I felt like I didn’t belong was because of the large cultural difference of entering the sciences from the arts. But as time passed, I kept finding myself go through these emotional roller-coasters. It became harder to be in the sciences, than to study the sciences. After a lot of soul searching I finally decided to follow my heart and study want I love. I was even prepared for the academic challenges that lay ahead, but never did I expect to get so close to my breaking point as a result of not feeling good enough to be a part of this world regardless of how hard I tried.

At a Women in STEM event at York University I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing these amazing stories, of women going through their academic careers with the very same struggles. As each woman shared her experience, I not only grew confident but for the first time ever I felt like I belonged in the sciences. I have accomplished so much since I’ve entered this field, and I absolutely love what I am studying but more importantly I am good at my research. I enjoy the science outreach I’m involved in and I can’t see myself do anything other than what I am doing now. I looked around the room and I was proud of every single person sitting in that lecture hall, for what they had overcome to be where they are now. I realize it won’t get easier, but thanks to those amazing women I now know that I can be successful in science as long as I keep believing in myself and working hard.

If you know someone going through something like this, support them. Because more often than not, that is all they’ll need. And if you are someone experiencing this, know that you are not alone and never let anyone make you feel like you can’t accomplish what you started.

Happy International Women’s day to all the beautiful women in the world working to make it a better place one step at a time.

The YorkU Astronomical Observatory 2015 Calendars have Arrived!


We have been working very hard to finish the calendar just in time for the Holiday Season. All images were taken by students of the Observatory Team, either from the campus Observatory or while on location in darker skies.

A $10 donation gives you one of these wonderful calendars and helps to support the Observatory’s on-going Outreach initiatives.

A special thank you to Richard Bloch for helping me make this happen!

Capture Science in Action!!

York University has been doing Science for 50 years! In order to commemorate this achievement, the Faculty of Science is hosting a photo contest.

Capture the images from the wonder of a chemical process to the laws of physics, from cells under a microscope to graphical representation of a mathematical concept or equation, or anything else that explores and celebrates the beauty of Science all around us. The image submitted must belong to either one of the two categories: real (photographically acquired image) or virtual (computer-generated image).

Everyone is invited to celebrate Science@50 with us by submitting an image capturing Science in action. All successfully submitted images will get air time on #YUSci50 social media outlets, and will be nominated for a chance to win one of two Dell Venue 7 tablet and a ticket to the Science@50 Gala, held on May 1st 2015

Contest details:
– Submissions via email to:
– Submission deadline April 1st, 2015
– Winner will be announced at the Gala (May 1st 2015)

More details:

York Universe 200th Episode

York Universe Turns 200!!

York Universe is an Astronomy and Astrophysics radio show produced live every Monday at 9:00pm EST (Tuesday 0200 UTC). The program is run out of the York University Astronomical Observatory in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The radio program is broadcast in concert with the observatory’s live online public viewing experience, featuring live telescope feeds, archived images, and interactive chat, which you can find at

York Universe is produced by the voice of astronomy, Astronomy.FM. You can listen to all AFM programs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by clicking the “Listen to AFM Radio Now” button at the top of their homepage.

The show is developed and presented by faculty and students at York University, and often features guests from the astronomy and science community of Toronto, Canada, and the world.

The winner of the “Creative Writing meets Interstellar Space” contest is Possibilities By Laura Austin


Beyond our Galaxy
Farther than the eye can see,
But the mind can travel there
To an untouched, infinite, black void.

Glittering stars sandwich this place,
Of interstellar space
Where mighty systems may exist;
Among the unknown suns, stars and vastness.

Looking up on a cloudless sky
Questions abound: what, where and why?
Exceeding our realm of stars,
An interstellar race.

Cosmic colonies to behold
Our small existence in a galaxy so old.
A frontier of science fiction in progress.
Celestial adventures within our grasp.

Earthling curiosity wants to travel,
Measureless distance to unravel.
The mystery of unexplored territory.
The space between the stars.

By Laura Austin

Wake Up Rosetta!!

The York University Observatory wants to help wake Rosetta up!!

Students and faculty members from the Physics and Astronomy department at York University came together to create this video for Rosetta’s wake up call on January 20th.

Creative Direction by Jen Mehrnoush Zomederis & Brittney Hopson
Videography by Brittney Hopson

About the Rosetta Mission:
ESA’s Comet-Chasing Mission Rosetta Will Wake Up on January 20, 2014 from a Deep-Space Hibernation to Reach the Destination it has Been Cruising Towards for a Decade!

The mission was originally en route to comet 46 P/Wirtanen. But due to a delay in launch a new target was set -comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta was launched on the 2nd of March 2004. The spacecraft entered deep-space hibernation mode in June 2011. It will remain in this state until the 20th of January when the hibernation exit sequence will be initiated.

Rosetta will be the first mission ever to orbit a comet’s nucleus and to land a probe on its surface. It will also be the first spacecraft to fly alongside a comet as it heads towards the inner Solar System, watching how this icy object is transformed by the warmth of the Sun.

For more information visit European space agency


For more information about the York University Observatory check out the Public Outreach section of my blog or visit the observatory’s website.

“Creative Writing meets Interstellar Space” – Poetry Contest

You may have heard that Voyager 1 crossed over into interstellar space a few times over the past year. This is because the boundary of where interstellar space begins is somewhat arbitrary.

We would like to know what interstellar space means to you. Where does your mind take you when you think about the regions beyond our solar system?

Contest Rules and outline:

–       Write a short poem on the given topic, no longer than 300 words.

–       Must be original

–       Submit poem in one of these file formats: doc, docx or pdf

–       Submission opens Today (Dec 12, 2013) – Closes at midnight on January 15, 2014

–       Must include age, bio, and contact info

–       One person per poem

–       Open to to all ages worldwide (must be written in English)

–       Must follow the following on twitter:                @ArtOfPhysics @YorkUniverse @STS_Canada for announcements and updates!

–       Submit your entries to

Three finalists will be announced on the 20th of January. We will then leave it up to the public to vote on the winner by the 30th of January!

The Prize: The winner will receive a limited edition NASA Space Shuttle Medallion (Bronze), it contains metal from special ingots that were flown on a Space shuttle mission. The winner will also get his/her poem published on the Astronomy – The Art of Physics page, the Space Tourism Society of Canada website, and the York Universe Website.

Good Luck!


NASA goes Social


What is the first thought you have when you look up into the night sky? Do you notice the difference between stars and planets? Or do you stare into space and wonder about all the possibilities?

The people at NASA have all the same questions as you and I, and are on the mission of a lifetime to get answers. The research carried out by NASA has given us a better understanding of the world we live in and our unique place within our solar system. It has allowed us to open up our minds to new possibilities and encouraged us to push the boundaries into undiscovered frontiers. We have come a long way from watching Apollo 11, the first Moon landing in black and white in 1969. We’ve taken a journey and have landed in a privileged place where we get to see vibrant images of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and sunsets on Mars with just a click.

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