Watermelon Snow: Science, art, and a lone polar bear

April 14, 2021

Join us to learn about and engage with SFU biologist Lynne Quarmby’s new book, ‘Watermelon Snow’ (McGill-Queen’s University Press). From the vantage of a schooner full of scientists in the High Arctic, Lynne Quarmby weaves memoir, microbiology, and art in a reflection on climate change, science, and ethical obligation. Reflecting on a work described as ‘brimming with intelligence, love, and sorrow’, and a ‘song of both love and grief’, an interdisciplinary panel comprising a political scientist, poet, climate scientist, cell biologist, and legal scholar join in conversation.


Nicholas Blomley
Simon Fraser, Geography

Nick Blomley is Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University, with an interest in law, property and power. He really likes Lynne’s book.



Lynne Quarmby
Professor, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

As a cell biologist, Lynne studied the molecular machinery of motility and sensation. In 2016, her work pivoted to an ecological exploration of the climate-threatened microbiome living on the surface of alpine summer snow.

Kathryn Harrison
Professor, Political Science, University of British Columbia

Prof. Harrison studies environmental, climate, and energy policy, federalism, and comparative public policy. A frequent media commentator and policy advisor, she is the author of the book Passing the buck: federalism and Canadian environmental policy, and co-author of Risk, science, and politics.

Stephen Collis
Professor, English, Simon Fraser University

Prof. Stephen Collis’s many books of poetry include The Commons, On the Material, DECOMP, Once in Blockadia, and A History of the Theories of Rain.

Kirsten Zickfeld
Distinguished Professor of Climate Science, Simon Fraser University

Prof. Zickfeld’s primary research interests are in the long-term effects of human activities on climate. She is recognized for her research on the irreversibility of human-induced climate change and carbon budgets consistent with climate targets and is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Am Johal

Am Johal is Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Co-Director of SFU's Community-Engaged Research Initiative. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene and co-author with Matt Hern and Joe Sacco of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale.

Grace Nosek
Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Grace Nosek is Founder and Student Director of the University of British Columbia Climate Hub. She is a PhD Candidate in Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia studying how to use law to protect climate change science from manufactured doubt. She is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholar and a Killam doctoral scholar, and a past Canada-U.S. Fulbright recipient. She holds a B.A. from Rice University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an LL.M from UBC. Drawing from her research, Grace creates hopeful climate narratives, including the Ava of the Gaia trilogy, Climate Comeback, and Planet Potluck.

Martha Cyert
Professor, Biology, Stanford

A distinguished cell biologist whose research explores the molecular circuitry modulating muscle, immune and neural cells, Prof. Cyert’s discoveries include elucidation of the molecular mechanism of immunosuppression. Martha is recognized for excellence in both research and teaching. In addition to her work at Stanford, Martha has taught cell biology workshops in Ghana.

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