This morning finalists woke up bright and early to quickly eat breakfast and head to the Currie Gym for one of the most eagerly anticipated events of CWSF 2016…the keynote address by Colonel Chris Hadfield. As finalists, delegates and members of the public entered the gym, you could feel the excitement filling the room.
Following a fantastic introduction video highlighting just a few of Colonel Hadfield’s numerous accomplishments, the renowned astronaut burst into the room and hopped up on stage to the delight of everyone in the room. Throughout his keynote address, Hadfield consistently referred to the magic of science, and the magic of his adventures and experiments as the commander of the International Space Station. Students were glued to his every word, taking his inspirational advice to heart. Hadfield inspired finalists with his belief in breadth and communication, explaining how Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo Galilei were more than just innovators, they were artists and muscians too.
“Robots don’t care, it’s people who care,” said Colonel Hadfield, explaining why its so important that the finalists continue being curious and searching for solutions to the world’s problems.
“The easy part is identifying the problem, the hard part is turning yourself into someone who can solve it,” said Hadfield, discussing his lifelong astronaut training and passion for exploration. Because science is not just a day job, it’s a unique perspective and strategy to approaching all aspects of life. It’s a way of thinking and a way of problem solving that can truly change the world.
“You are here because you recognized there are problems to be solved,” added Hadfield, speaking to the finalists’ innovative projects being celebrated at CWSF.
The rest of his address discussed the future of space travel, as Colonel Hadfield explained that having our sight set on Mars means we need to focus on the moon. He explained how we need a shift in perspective in order to revolutionize how we approach space travel in our continued exploration of the universe. It was a thought-provoking idea to say the least and you could almost see the lightbulbs turning on above each of the finalist’s heads.
Finishing his presentation ona musical note, Colonel Hadfield performed the song he wrote with the Barenaked Ladies and a rendition of David Bowie’s “Ground Control to Major Tom.” After a media event in the auditorium, Hadfield then toured the exhibit hall, getting the chance to speak to some of the finalists.
“It was an absolute honour meeting Colonel Hadfield and talking about my research with him today. Chris Hadfield made me realize that we can still make a dent in the universe even down here on Earth,” said Lucas Penny of Niagara region after sharing his project with Hadfield.
Throughout the afternoon, the exhibit hall remained busy, filled with school tours and members of the public learning about the finalists’ projects, exploring the exhibition booths and listening to the incredible line-up of presenters as part of the On-the-Podium Speaker Series. The busy day of public viewing then concluded with a panel discussion on the State of Science and Science Education.
Ready to relax and unwind, the finalists then headed to Café YUL, a cozy evening to showcase the diverse array of talents the students possess beyond their incredible ability to innovate. It was an awesome show, featuring musciancs, magicians, comedians and dancers from across the country who also happen to be accomplished young scientists.
Tomorrow, public viewing and school tours will continue from 9am to 12pm, before finalists and delegates get all dressed up and ready for the Awards Ceremony. Following the presentation of awards, there will be a banquet dinner and celebration as well as a fun MUCH music video dance party.
Today’s fun fact about Montreal is that the first indoor hockey game ever was played in Montreal on March 3, 1875 at Victoria Skating Rink.
Tomorrow’s weather is looking warmer, with a high of 19 degrees and mostly sun…a perfect day to take photos with your regions dressed to impress for the Awards Ceremony!