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Day 1: Dr Margot Mandy is the Astrochemist in the classroom!

Did you know that our free Scientists and Innovators in Schools (SIS) program puts BC science, technology, engineering and math professionals into classrooms across the province? Today, we will celebrate one of our scientist volunteers, Dr Margo Mandy.

Dr Margot Mandy is a scientist who blurs the lines between chemistry, physics, mathematics and astrophysics. We know Margot because she volunteers through Science World’s Scientists and Innovators in Schools program. In fact, she is on her way to schools in her area right now to inspire the next generation of astrochemists!

Many of our Science Odyssey scientists demonstrate a love of science and find that they tried their hand at many types of science throughout their careers. Margot is no different, even though she had firmly decided that she wanted to be a scientist when she was just 8 years old, it took her much longer to decide what type of science she wanted to do...she changed her mind a lot!

During her second year at Acadia University she found that she needed to choose a major in order to graduate and it was a little daunting.  Luckily she got some reassuring advice from her Dean who pointed out that choosing a major did not mean giving up the other sciences. The Dean encouraged her to think of choosing a major as selecting a starting point, because one does not go very far in one area of science before running into the others. She graduated from Acadia with an Honours degree in Chemistry and the equivalent of a major in Mathematics.

Margot’s path has been uniquely affected by a form of arthritis that she has lived with since early childhood. By the end of her undergraduate degree she knew that she lived in a body that was not compatible with laboratory bench work. So, when she undertook graduate work at the University of Toronto, she moved into theoretical chemical physics. 

While still a graduate student, she began her ongoing collaboration on interstellar chemistry with the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics.  Her computational and theoretical research brings together chemistry, physics, math and astrophysics. Her internationally recognized research in the chemistry of space has earned her membership in the International Astronomical Union.

What Margot loves about her career is that she is always learning. She cultivates a love of science and learning in others both through teaching at the University of Northern British Columbia and volunteering in schools through SIS.

Get your hands on some space science!

Want to do a space science activity at home or in the classroom? The Lunatic Lander Challenge is to build a lander that will safely deliver an astronaut (a raw egg) from space (or the top of a staircase) to the ground. How did your landers do? Share your results in the comments!

Are you a teacher who wants to inspire students with a hands-on workshop delivered by a real scientist? Learn more about SIS and request a scientist.