MacLean admits he still ‘floats’ with space excitement

CTV News reporter Graham Richardson interviewed York alumnus Steve MacLean (BSc ’77, PhD ’83, DSc (Hon.) ’93) prior to the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Atlantis – later postponed due to Tropical Storm Ernesto. Here is a partial transcript of that interview, which was broadcast Aug. 27:

Richardson: First of all, the question on all Canadian’s minds, how excited are you, and at your level, do you still get excited about something like this?

MacLean: You know, this is amazing. When I first was selected a number of years ago, I can remember floating when I woke up in the morning. And I still float. I mean this is exciting business. I’ve been in it for a while. And I’m just as excited to go this time as I was the last time.

Richardson: I know you haven’t done it yet, but can you describe how it might feel to be walking in space?

MacLean: I’ve been told that it’s a lot easier [than training in a pool]. You still need to move slowly. You still need to maintain your focus. You need to make sure that you don’t fall off the station…. Physically, it boils down to forearm strength – every time you squeeze your glove it’s like trying to squish energy out of a brick.

Richardson: Are you hearing from other astronauts who’ve done spacewalks that it’s that much more amazing when you’re just floating there on a spacewalk?

MacLean: Yes. In fact, I was just talking to one of the Hubble astronauts about two nights ago and he was saying, Steve, there is no comparison between being inside and being outside and just having your visor between you and all, basically all the phenomenon of the universe. You are your own rocket ship out there. You’re moving at mach 25. You’re orbiting the earth just like the space station is. You don’t need to hang on to it. You can let go and float beside it.

Richardson: You’ve flown on [the shuttle] Columbia and you’ve lost friends on Columbia. Tell me a bit about that and what’s going through your mind?

MacLean: It’s, you know, when I think about Columbia, I find it very difficult. Three of those astronauts were in my class, my training class, and two of the astronauts, and it’s a different two, actually, were my best friends, and now in my personal life there’s a gap because those two individuals are gone. We had lots of different discussions about how to go to the moon, how to go to Mars…. And it is important for me to finish their mission through mine. And when I land, I know that I will feel good about that.

York student’s film fundraiser pulls up short

A sprint by a Sault Ste. Marie filmmaker to raise money for an upcoming project might turn into a marathon instead, reported the Sault Star Aug. 28. York student Chris Nash wanted to raise $10,000 Saturday by running laps at the YMCA for 12 hours. The fourth-year film student in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts was able to drum up just $2,000 in donations. “It’s obviously not as much as I wanted,” he said. “I underestimated the amount of time I would need to present myself to different businesses in the city.” Nash remains confident he’ll be able to raise the cash he needs to shoot his film noir, Reload, later this year. “It’s just a minor step back,” said the Desbarats native.

McRoberts to speak in Cobourg lecture series

The Northumberland Learning Connection fall series of lectures, “One never knows…Sait-on jamais?“, will deepen your understanding of 21st-century Quebec, reported the Port Hope Evening Guide Aug. 28. The speakers, many from Quebec and several from Ontario universities, will address stereotypes of Quebec and its peoples, its cultural vibrancy, institutions and history. The lectures are held at the Columbus Community Centre, Cobourg, Ont. On Oct. 5, Kenneth McRoberts, principal at York’s Glendon campus, will deliver a lecture titled “Quebec and Canada: Biculturalism, Multiculturalism and Federalism.”

York’s green roof beats urban heat

The “urban heat island effect” is the name for the phenomenon of densely populated urban areas having significantly higher temperatures than surrounding areas, reported Aug. 28. Concrete, which holds heat, is seen as a large contributor. Cities can combat the problem with green spaces – and increasingly green roofs. In Canada’s biggest city, officials have proposed the Green Roof Pilot Program, which will showcase a variety of green roof types to encourage this type of construction in Toronto. York University, one of the largest institutions in Toronto, added a green roof to its computer science building in 2003.

Insp. Banks fans grill his York alumnus author-creator

Fans of author and York alumnus Peter Robinson (PhD ‘84) were able to solve any mysteries about him at the Celebrated Writers Series hosted by the Stratford Festival, reported the Stratford Beacon-Herald Aug. 28. He is the author of 18 novels, 16 of which are Insp. Banks novels. Born in Yorkshire, England, he moved to Canada and got a PhD from York University. It was while working on his PhD that he wrote two novels.

York professor delivers harassment report to Memorial University

An investigation into the harassment of a Memorial University of Newfoundland professor, who later died of natural causes, has been completed, although its findings have not been made public, reported CBC News online Aug. 29. Deepa Khosla, who taught political science at Memorial’s main campus in St. John’s, filed reports that she was being stalked by a male graduate student. Memorial appointed Shirley Katz, a humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, last January to review the case. Katz was also asked to study Memorial’s sexual harassment policies and procedures, and to “determine whether the university’s climate is supportive and welcoming to women.”

On air

  • Bruce Ryder, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed censorship of James Joyce’s Ulysses on CBC Radio’s “Sounds Like Canada” program Aug. 28.