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Mika McKinnon - Independent. Vancouver, BC, CA

Mika McKinnon Mika McKinnon

Geophysicist | Independent

Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Field geophysicist, disaster researcher, scifi science consultant, science writer, public speaker, irrepressible educator.

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Biography

I'm a physicist and geophysicist specializing in disasters -- tsunami, earthquakes, asteroid impacts -- pretty much all the fun, heart-pounding science. My research focus is on the dynamics of landslides, and predicting where the landslides will travel to mitigate risk.

I'm a science consultant in the film industry, bringing plausibility to fictional plotlines. I worked on the Stargate franchise, No Tomorrow, and countless projects locked in the veil of development secrecy.

As a science communicator, I stick to the coolest beats -- planets, rockets, and the end of the universe.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Disaster Risk Reduction

Geophysics

Science and Policy

Science Fiction

Science Fiction Film and Tv

S.T.E.M.

Women in Science

Landslides

Natural Disasters

Education (2)

University of British Columbia: Masters of Science, Geophysics

University of California at Santa Barbara: Bachelor's, Physics

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (3)

What Geology Has to Say About Building a 1,000-Mile Border Wall

Smithsonian  online

2017-02-07

Compared to erecting a marble palace or high-steepled church, a wall may seem relatively straightforward—it isn’t.

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Episode 89 - Mika McKinnon

Talk Nerdy  radio

2015-11-30

Cara is joined by the "Master of Disaster" herself, geophysicist and science writer Mika McKinnon. They discuss her work as the science consultant on Stargate, how life was a driving force behind an explosion of earthly minerals, and the improvements Canadians are hopeful for under their new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

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The Science of Studying Eruptions

WNYC  radio

2015-01-09

In September, over 50 people died during a volcanic eruption in Japan. Iceland continues to experience its largest continuous volcanic eruption in centuries. On this week's Please Explain, we are talking about volcanoes: how are they formed, how dangerous are they, and how scientists monitor them. We will be joined by Mika McKinnon, a geophysicist and journalist with the science publication i09, and David Schneider a USGS Research Geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

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Event Appearances (10)

Workshop Leader, Panelist

2017 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics  Harvard University, Boston, MA

Guest

2012-2016 Dragon Con  Atlanta, GA

Speaker

Another Night of Total Destruction, Science and Entertainment Exchange  Director's Guild of America, Los Angeles, CA

Panelist

2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting  San Francisco, CA

Guest

2016 GateCon  Vancouver, BC

Guest

2016 Time Lord Fest  Tampa, FL

Workshop Leader

2015 Science Communication Camp  Santa Monica, CA

Invited Speaker

2013 BC Geophysical Society Annual Meeting  Vancouver, BC

Guest

2012 TimeGate  Atlanta, FL

Science Ambassador

2011, 2014, 2016 Science Hack Day  San Francisco, CA

Articles (4)

North Korea: When is an earthquake a nuclear test? BBC News

2016-10-06

The first sign that North Korea had carried out its fifth nuclear test last month was when a massive earthquake was detected by international scientists. As North Korea marks 10 years since its first test, geophysicist and disaster researcher Mika McKinnon explains how scientists have learned to identify these world-shaking events.

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Was Juno the fastest spacecraft ever? Only kind of. Astronomy Magazine

2016-07-12

It all has to do with the point of view of the observer, in a sense.

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Up close with the awesome power of NASA’s biggest ever rocket New Scientist

2016-07-04

They call it the most powerful rocket ever built. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is designed to carry astronauts on deep space missions, and after years of development it’s time to certify this monster for flight. I’m in Utah for the final ground test, to take place on the far side of a cluster of anonymous buildings blocked from view by hillsides dried out in the summer heat.

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As fires rage, emergency responders rely on familiar apps to save lives Ars Technica

2016-05-09

Handful of custom apps mixed in the with likes of Periscope, Skype, and Basecamp.

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