Bob McDonald is a Canadian author and science journalist. He is the national science commentator for CBC Television and CBC News Network (formerly Newsworld), and since 1992 has been the host of a weekly radio science show, Quirks & Quarks which draws approximately 800,000 listeners each week.
This week’s special edition of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks looks at the history and future of Black people in science. We delve into the the history of biased and false “race science” that for hundreds of years was used to justify slavery, exploitation and exclusion. This has left a terrible legacy in systemic racism that in the past and present has, on one hand, led to misunderstanding and mistreatment of Black people by the scientific and medical community, and on the other has created obstacles for talented Black researchers that prevented them from fully participating in the scientific process. We also talk to Black researchers about how they’re working to increase recognition for the contributions of Black scientists, and use that profile to build more opportunities and representation across all disciplines of science. Along the way we identify and honour historical Black scientists who overcame the obstacles to make significant but often unrecognized contributions to science.
When the magnetic poles flip out, Earth seems to suffer; Bacteria-hunting viruses can track down antibiotic resistant bugs where they hide; Levitating solar-powered micro flyers may fly high where planes and rockets can't; HIV testing study of trans people in the UK reveals health care gaps; Music inspired by endangered bird calls brings focus on conservation and creativity; If the sun is round, why are the planets in elliptical orbits?
Meet the Canadian engineer who will help guide NASA’s new rover on Mars; Butterfly males leave a stinky parting gift with mates that deters further suitors; Biologists can tell how some corals survive climate-related coral bleaching events; Quick decisions might not be easy ones as ‘choice overload’ leads to stress; Monkeys are 'naturally selecting' themselves for domestic cooperation and tranquility; Why don’t animals get sick from filthy, drying-up water holes in Africa?
Treating COVID-19 one year in: what have we learned?; Me, myself and I: Little words might signal a breakup is coming, long before you know it; What’s feeding the algae growing on — and helping to melt — Greenland’s ice?; Faster, higher, stronger — bats reach Olympian heights and record speeds; Amateur astronomers use the ‘mark one eyeball’ to find brown dwarf stars; If fish don’t experience gravity, can astronauts learn from them to stay in shape?
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Creator Details

Jan 25th, 1951
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 week, 1 day
Podchaser Creator ID logo 849046