The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is known for its excellent science programs, and now the school is supporting good science fiction as well. Canadian scifi author Robert Sawyer, author of Hominids and Rollback, will become the first writer-in-residence at the Canadian Light Source, the university's world-class synchrotron (pictured).
Sawyer has written over a dozen novels and won both Hugo and Nebula awards for his work. He's set a number of his books at famous Canadian science facilities, and he's excited to witness the everyday workings of another exceptional lab.
Sawyer told the CBC:
I spent a lot of time visiting science labs over the years, but it's always the VIP tour. You are in and you are out in a couple of hours, and everyone has shown you all the things they want you to see but none of the day-to-day grind of the work as well. I want to get the flavour of that.
The synchrotron, called the Canadian Light Source, uses magnets to speed up subatomic particles in beams of light so that their behavior can be observed and experimented on. It can be used to study everything from theoretical physics to applied medical science.
I had a chance to hang out with Sawyer during WorldCon last year, when we went with a group of writers to visit another famous facility: the old NORAD base located deep under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. He's a truly nice guy, and pleasingly obsessed with e-books. Sawyer's next trilogy, coming out this year, is about how the World Wide Web evolves into an artificial intelligence.