An Update from Ian McDade

I am now very happily living in Stratford, Ontario. I am not on stage yet, but active in getting deaf people involved in acting or stage design – both light and sound.
My colleagues at
The University of Saskatchewan (ISAS) and The University of Stockholm (MISU) still can’t work out how to switch that OSIRIS instrument on the Odin satellite off.” – Ian McDade


An Interview: Tetiana Sitiugina

Photo Credit: Lassonde School of Engineering)

(Photo Credit: Lassonde School of Engineering)

By: Sandra Sinayuk

What is your program and year of study?

I’m going into my 4th year of Space Engineering.

What is your favourite course at York?

ENG 2000, the Project Management part, because I enjoyed organizing people and bossing them around.

What is a lesson you learned at York?

No matter what is going on in your life and how stressed you are at the moment, as long as somebody is waiting for you at home, everything will be fine. I am fortunate to have great parents that have been incredibly supportive for me throughout my degree.

Also, Monster Energy is more effective than RedBull.

What do you like about York the most?

I like how squirrels and other animals on campus aren’t scared at all — I find it amusing to observe their interactions with humans.

Favourite building at York?

Steacie library, because it’s quiet – this is where I camp out during exams.

What’s your pet peeve?

When I walk beside somebody carrying an umbrella, and the spikes keep poking me in the face, dangerously close to my eyes!

Favourite quote?

A human being should be entirely beautiful: the face, the clothes, the mind, the thoughts. ” by Anton Checkhov

and  “… You better starve, than eat whatever
And better be alone, than with whoever.”
by Omar Khayyám

Favourite food?

Baby carrots (so crunchy and sweet!) and, of course, Russian food in general.

Favourite movie?

“Mr. Nobody” – it makes you think about how small choices you make every day result in completely different paths in your life.

Favourite book?

“Lolita” by V. Nabokov, because it’s one of those books that keep you reading non-stop. I also like “Harry Potter” series, but I’ve read those books too many times!

What is your Harry Potter house?

I’d say between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

If you could be any age, which age would you choose and why?

Twenty three, right after graduation—when you are still young and full of energy and have the entire world in front of you (or at least you feel that way).

If you were a breakfast cereal, which would you be?

Honey coated oats, because they are sweet on top, yet “good for you” on the inside.

Scariest thing you have ever done?

Moved to Canada.

A few items from your bucket list?

My number one item is to become a Canadian national champion in ballroom dancing. My retirement plans include learning how to play saxophone and writing a memoire book.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I’ve never watched neither Star Wars nor Star Trek.



Ketchup/Mustard/Relish Mac/PC Summer/Winter Coffee/Tea Sweet/Savory


Prof. Mojgan Jadidi Becomes a P.Eng.

Since the beginning of February  2017, Prof. Mojgan Jadidi became a member of Professional Engineers of Ontario (P.Eng.). The licence ceremony was held at Islington Golf Centre on May 9th.

Congratulations to Mojgan on this achievement! 🙂

Prof. Mojgan Jadidi with her new P.Eng. licence (Photo Credit: Mojgan Jadidi)

Prof. Mojgan Jadidi with her new P.Eng. licence
(Photo Credit: Mojgan Jadidi)






Poster Coffee Talks by ESS Graduate Student Association

Throughout the Fall 2016—Winter 2017 academic school year, the ESS Graduate Student Association has organized weekly Graduate Colloquium Series, where students had an opportunity to present their research to both their peers and faculty members. The weekly presentations will stop for the Summer semester.

Photo Credit: Kajendra Seevananthan


Surveying Camp

Summer geomatics field courses are in progress. Despite the rain, students are committed to completing their tasks!

Photo Credit: Tetiana Sitiugina

img_20170425_122832 img_20170425_123043 img_20170425_123254 img_20170425_123517

Prof. McElroy at the Brewer Ozone Spetrophotometer Workshop

Professor Tom McElroy of ESSE will be attending the biennial Brewer Ozone Spectrophotometer workshop in Mazagon, Spain at the end of May this spring.  Approximately 20 Brewer spectrometers will be brought together for maintenance and calibration at the Spanish El Arenosillo rocket range on the Atlantic coast South of Portugal.  McElroy designed the double monochromator Brewer which is gradually replacing the original single Brewer in the global network.  Ozone data and UV spectra collected by the Brewer were used to develop the UV Index, reported in the weather forecast in 25 countries around the world.  May 27 marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the UV Index.   McElroy and colleagues David Wardle and James  Kerr are credited with its invention.  There are now more than 200 Brewers in service globally.

The featured image displays Brewer Ozone Spectrophotometers on the roof of the El Arenosillo observatory in spring of 2015 (Photo Credit: Tom McElroy)


By: Prof. Tom McElroy


European Geosciences Union 2017

Dr. Peter Taylor and Dr. Keith Aldridge have spent the week of April 23rd-28th at European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2017 held in Vienna, Austria. EGU General Assembly brings together geoscientists from around the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

Dr. Taylor has given a talk “Observation and Modelling of Fog at Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada,” slides for which can be found here

Ground Instruments at Cold Lake, Alberta (Photo Credit: Peter Taylor)

Ground Instruments at Cold Lake, Alberta (Photo Credit: Peter Taylor)


Google earth map of Cold Lake (54°N, 110°W, 541 m ASL) and ECCC’s ground instruments site (Photo Credit: Peter Taylor)

Google earth map of Cold Lake (54°N, 110°W, 541 m ASL) and ECCC’s ground instruments site (Photo Credit: Peter Taylor)

An Interview: Dr. Sunil Bisnath

Dr. Sunil Bisnath (Photo Credit:

Dr. Sunil Bisnath
(Photo Credit:

What is your educational background?

I obtained a BSc and an MSc in Surveying Science at University of Toronto, and a PhD in Geomatics Engineering from the University of New Brunswick.

What is your most memorable project?

The first one that comes to mind is a project that I worked on as a PhD student: assessing GPS-based helicopter approaches on an 80-storey oil platform under construction in a Newfoundland harbour.

If you could create any course at York, which course would you create?

A multi-sensor integration course. Students will take different sensors, e.g., GPS, inertial, optical, etc. and integrate them physically and with optimal estimation code in order to produce positioning and orientation solutions. Actually, soon this course will be introduced as a fourth-year technical elective, possibly integrated with a graduate component.

Which part of teaching is most exciting to you?

Being in the lectures, interacting with students, and seeing them learn through understanding the concepts.

What do you like/dislike about York the most?

Like: The learning environment – to see students learn, but also learning new things myself. Coming in every day and doing so many various tasks has always made the job interesting from my first day at York.

Dislike: Administration and bureaucracy. We work to try to change (fix, improve) things, but intuitional change is always difficult.

Favourite building at York?

I don’t know about favourite, but I think that the coolest building is the new York University Subway Station.

What’s your pet peeve?

Stupidity in general – on the roads, on the news, etc. Another one is ignorance –  when people aren’t even trying to understand something.

Favorite quote?

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.” – Albert Einstein

Favorite Lassonde colour?  

Blue I guess; it is the colour of our department.

Favorite food?  

Almost everything! It’s easier to say what I don’t like – quinoa, for example.

Favorite movie?

“It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s an old Christmas movie that basically says that life is not that bad at all.

What do you do in your free time?

Work! But, if its an answer, playing with my now five year old son and seeing him learn … everything.

If you could be any age, which age would you choose and why?

I would just be my age, as I’ve never had a problem of being too old or too young.

Where would you like to travel to?

Luckily, with my job, I have travelled to many places already. I would like to go to Antarctica, as it’s the only continent I have yet to visit. I don’t know if I want to stay there for too long though! I also want to go to all the other continents again … and again.

A few items from your bucket list?

I would love to go on Safari in Africa with my son for him to see what I saw previously. I also want to visit every single national park in Canada with him son. We have already started, and we are visiting a few more parks this summer, but there are a lot of national parks!

Another item is to find that elusive work-life balance and to maintain it.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I was born in Trinidad.

Anything you would like to add?

I like what we’re doing, and I hope we can further improve the student experience and ESSE community.


Summer/Winter Apple/PC Star Wars/Star Trek Ketchup/Mustard


Mars Rover Spots Clouds Shaped by Gravity Waves

Even though NASA’s Curiosity rover mostly focuses on Mars’s bedrock, every few days it observes the sky. Last summer, the rover has shot the first ground-based view of Martian clouds shaped by gravity waves as recently reported at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. These shots are the best record made so far of a mysterious recurring belt of equatorial clouds known to influence the martial climate.

The potential gravity wave cloud captured by  Curiosity’s navigation camera. (Photo Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University)

The potential gravity wave cloud captured by
Curiosity’s navigation camera.
(Photo Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University)

“Understanding these clouds will help inform estimates of ground ice depth and perhaps recurring slope lineae, potential flows of salty water on the surface,” says John Moores, a planetary scientist at York University in Toronto, Canada, who led the study with his graduate student, Jake Kloos. “If we wish to understand the water story of Mars’s past,” Moores says, “we first need to [separate out] contributions from the present-day water cycle.”

During Curiosity’s 1302th  martian day, it saw a sequence of straight, parallel rows of clouds flowing in the same direction, known as gravity wave clouds. Not to be confused with gravitational waves, gravity waves are atmospheric ripples that result from air trying to regain its vertical balance. Similar to the waves that follow a pebble tossed into a pond, gravity waves are created when some unknown feature of the martian landscape causes a ripple in the atmosphere that is then seen in clouds. Such waves are common at the edge of the martian ice caps, but thought to be less frequent over its equator.

It is not certain those are gravity waves, however. They could also be “cloud sheets”, a similar looking pattern that’s potentially associated with strong winds striking heated air parcels as they near the top of the lower atmosphere.

 Read the full article here

Adopted from  the article by Paul Voosen in “Science Magazine”


48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

On March 20th-24th, ESSE students have attended the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in The Woodlands, Texas. Twelve members of the department were in attendance, including nine students from John Moores’s group, two from Mike Daly’s group, and one from Jim Whiteway’s group.

By: Prof. John Moores