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Learn about astrobiology while celebrating women this March

In its first ever International Women's Day event, Royal City Science is partnering with the Guelph chapter of 500 Women Scientists to host event including a women-led talk on astrobiology

Royal City Science wants you to have an out of this world International Women’s Day this March with their Science on Tap event. 

Wednesday at Royal City Brewing, PhD candidates Lexi Mollica and Kimber Munford will be talking everything from earth to the stars and answering your burning astrobiology questions, like whether we’re alone in the universe, and if other planets could be home to microbial life. 

Royal City Science has been running Science on Tap events every month since September, to encourage “armchair scientists of all ages,” said physicist and Royal City Science fo-founder Joanne O'Meara. 

This is their first International Women’s Day event, held in partnership with the Guelph chapter of 500 Women Scientists, a non-profit aimed at building a more inclusive STEM community.  

“The idea is to celebrate women in STEM by having our two speakers be incredibly talented women scientists,” O’Meara said. 

“I’ve been in physics for probably 30 years now, and (representation has) been an issue in our discipline for since before I became a physicist. We’ve made some progress, for sure. In the life sciences, I’d say we’ve made a lot of progress. But in the physical sciences, we still have challenges,” she said. 

O’Meara pointed to a study that found a sharp decline girls and women studying physics as they progress through secondary and post-secondary education. 

In Grade 9 and 10 science class, there are an equal number of girls as boys across Ontario, because it’s a required course. But in Grade 11, that drops from 50/50 to a 60/40 split of boys to girls. By Grade 12, it drops even further, with girls making up only 34 per cent of science students. 

“And then those numbers go down even further when they get into university,” she said. “So it’s a challenge at the high school level; it’s probably a challenge earlier on than that.” 

Along with physics, O’Meara said computing, math and engineering fields are all still predominantly male disciplines as well. 

“So having an event like this where we feature fantastic women scientists is a great way to show young women that it is a field for you; it’s an exciting career option,” she said. 

The event is pay by donation, and will kick off around 7 p.m. at Royal City Brewing with the first speaker, along with some time for questions. After a quick break, the second speaker will take the stage, followed by “a super silly and fun trivia game” with prizes. 

“It’s just a fun evening. And you can learn about a field that maybe you don’t know much about, in a very informal, casual environment.” 

You can learn more or get tickets here


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Taylor Pace

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