Fun & Science in Quebec City

Quebec City is a remarkably beautiful city that has a unique European feel. Luckily, when a few of us from the U of T atmospheric physics group arrived to attend a bi-annual conference, the weather was perfect (20 oC)! The WIRSA conference, hosted by ABB Inc., had a wide range of representatives from industry, government, academia, and the military. The conference was particularly interesting because of the breadth of talks presented. For instance, I had no idea the spectrometer technology we use frequently in atmospheric science is also used by the military to identify the infrared signatures of planes and other objects of interest.

Above: Prof. Kim Strong, Kevin Olsen, Dr. Stephanie Conway, and Zen Mariani at the Plains of Abraham (right to left), next to the conference centre.

I gave a 30-minute presentation on my high-Arctic atmosphere measuring instrument (the E-AERI at Eureka, Nunavut) and its measurements of radiative budgets and trace gases. My colleague Jonathan gave a talk about his installation and use of an ABB DA8 spectrometer at the Dalhousie Atmospheric Observatory. On the Wednesday night ABB hosted a ‘Young Researchers’ night. This included a unique opportunity to tour the ABB manufacturing lab. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures due to privacy regulations. It was interesting to see their production floor and listen to the construction process from a project manager’s perspective. Thursday night was a social event where we visited Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec and had a guided tour of some of the irreplaceable exhibits imported from France.

Above: Thursday night’s social event at Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, which is situated right next to the historic Quebec City jail.

While in Quebec City for the conference, we were able to walk around old Quebec, try some old-school Quebec meals, visit the famous (or infamous) Simon’s department store, check out the massive Citadel and old city’s wall (Quebec City is the only city in North America that is still surrounded by walls), visit the famous Chateau Frontenac, and sample some delicious Quebec beer.

poutine and sausage

Above: Famous Quebecois food – the poutine – only this time with a grilled sliced sausage added.

It’s a shame that the conference was so short; we didn’t want to leave…

Zen Mariani

PhD Student, University of Toronto


About createarcticscience

The CREATE program for Arctic Atmospheric Science supports researchers and students across Canada. This blog provides a venue for sharing our experiences.
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