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Meet Svetlana Barkanova

Six years ago, Dr. Svetlana Barkanova, Physics Professor at Acadia University, became one of the first Techsploration role models to star in our Women in Action web video series. Since then, she’s been busy expanding her research, helping create a new graduate program, and producing her own series of introductory science videos.

Svetlana 2007 team 2Barkanova has been a Techsploration role model since shortly after becoming a faculty member at Acadia University and was shocked to see how few females in Nova Scotia were considering a career in physics. She says, “Physics is so much fun! We have really good students taking physics at Acadia, but very few girls. Techsploration is doing an amazing job opening doors to enriching careers for young women, and I really want to help.”

As mentioned in her Women in Action video which details her career as a physicist, Barkanova does research in subatomic physics and carries out radon research and testing in Nova Scotia. Recently, she expanded the reach of her radon testing to Newfoundland with the help of her colleagues at the Memorial University (MUN) Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook.

“There was a lot of work done on radon in Nova Scotia, but almost nothing in Newfoundland. Many Newfoundlanders had never even heard of it,” says Barkanova. “So, my goals are community outreach and education, as well as providing free radon tests.”

Additionally, Barkanova has been working with Dr. Aleksandrs Aleksejevs, Professor at MUN, to help develop a new graduate program in subatomic physics in Newfoundland. The first student will graduate this year with a Master’s degree and plans to continue studies by enrolling in the doctorate program.

Barkanova says, “Now that I know that everything worked out well, I am looking for more students to start this fall.”

Svetlana 2008 - SMU (2)She is also looking for more students to participate in the online courses she teaches at Acadia University; creating a new, dual-purpose video series. Originally filmed by Open Acadia to promote Barkanova’s online physics classes, they are also a fantastic resource for teachers—breaking down complex physics topics in merely 10-minutes.

“My inspiration for the videos came from interactions with high school teachers. Unfortunately, they do have not much time in their curriculum to cover particle physics, nuclear physics and astronomy. So, my hope is that the teachers can find a bit of time to show a 10-minute video in class or forward the links to their students.”

The first three videos, Particle Physics 101 in 10 Minutes, Nuclear Physics 101 in 10 Minutes, and Astronomy 101 in 10 Minutes make the subjects easy to understand and accessible to students, teachers, or anyone interested in learning some basic principles.

If the videos become popular enough, Barkanova hopes to find more funding to create additional videos about cosmology, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics (featuring cats!).

For more information about enrolling in Barkanova’s undergraduate online courses, visit the Open Acadia website. Also, you can check out the MUN website to read about the new subatomic physics graduate programs or email your questions directly to svetlana.barkanova@acadiau.ca.

“Physics is everything,” she states. “It describes our universe at all scales, from quarks to galaxies, and explains how everything is connected. It is the most fundamental of all sciences and I absolutely love both studying and teaching it.”


Particle Physics 101 in 10 Minutes:

Nuclear Physics 101 in 10 Minutes:

Astronomy 101 in 10 Minutes: