Journalist in Residence: Ivan Semeniuk

Welcome. I am a science journalist working here at the Dunlap Institute among researchers who are engaged in the ongoing effort to explore and understand our universe. Follow the links to my blog, weekly podcast and featured stories about their remarkable quest.

One of my interests is what motivates scientists who work in astronomy and related disciplines. After all, much of what goes on in distant parts of the universe would seem to have little to do with human affairs. Nevertheless, astronomy has a knack of popping up at crucial moments and making a big impact on our thinking and the way we perceive ourselves. A classic example is Galileo's first use of the telescope. This seminal experience — now being marked 400 years later with the International Year of Astronomy — was one of the key events that helped launch the modern scientific enterprise.

We happen to be living in a time when some of the biggest questions about the universe are being answered, including its origin, evolution and ultimate fate. With increasing precision, astronomers are closing in on seeing the universe's first stars and on Earth-like planets in distant solar systems. They are also grappling with the mysterious nature of dark matter and dark energy and using observations of the distant cosmos to help explain the underlying physical reality that accounts for why we exist at all.

I hope you will visit often and participate in this journey. In the words of Helen Sawyer Hogg, a great University of Toronto astronomer and communicator: "The stars belong to everyone!"


Ivan Semeniuk has worked as a science journalist in both print and broadcast media. He was US bureau chief for New Scientist magazine and a columnist and field producer for Discovery Channel's science show Daily Planet. In 2007 he was named a Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his Master's degree in Science Journalism at Boston University after a prior career developing exhibits and programs at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. He holds an undergraduate degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Toronto.