Media Releases

UTSC professors leads amazing geologic journey around the world

October 21, 2010

TORONTO, ON — Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough pro­fes­sor Nick Eyles leads CBC’s award-win­ning doc­u­men­tary pro­gram The Nature of Things with David Suzu­ki on an unfor­get­table jour­ney.  Begin­ning Thurs­day, Octo­ber 21, on CBC-TV at 8 pm, The Nature of Things presents GEOLOGIC JOURNEY II, a five-part series on world geol­o­gy host­ed by Dr. Nick Eyles.

To pro­duce Geo­log­ic Jour­ney II, Dr. Eyles worked with the CBC team for over two years as their “res­i­dent geol­o­gist” devel­op­ing sto­ries, loca­tions and episodes.   For a sev­en-month peri­od, Eyles left his lab and class­room chalk­board behind and, sport­ing a fedo­ra, Indi­ana-Jones style, began the great­est adven­ture of his career.

Eyles first stop was a manda­to­ry course in sur­viv­ing hos­tile envi­ron­ments where he learned how to spot a land mine and rec­og­nize when the safe­ty catch is off on an AK 47 point­ed in his direc­tion.  Guid­ing a film crew through 22 coun­tries at an exhaust­ing pace Dr. Eyles climbed vol­ca­noes, took har­row­ing heli­copter rides, crossed the desert by camel, stood on the ocean floor and delved deeply into the geo­log­i­cal process­es that shape our world and our lives. The crew trav­eled to places in Africa, the Mid­dle East, Nepal, India, Japan, Ice­land, along the length of the Amer­i­c­as, and more, and vis­it­ed many dif­fi­cult-to-access and dan­ger­ous sites, such as Erte Ale on the Eritre­an bor­der of Ethiopia, the Mer­api vol­cano in Indone­sia and Chait­en vol­cano in Chile.

“It was an extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­ni­ty as an Earth sci­en­tist to con­nect togeth­er evi­dence of how the Earth works as a giant tec­ton­ic machine in a mere sev­en-month peri­od,” says Eyles.  “Sur­pris­ing­ly, I found the real sto­ry is that of the peo­ple who live on the rest­less sur­face of our plan­et. I spoke to many who live day to day under the threat of vol­ca­noes, tsunamis, earth­quakes and land­slides, yet choose to stay and adapt.  I have a new appre­ci­a­tion for the resilience and adapt­abil­i­ty of humankind, which is going to for­ev­er influ­ence my research and teach­ing.”

Fre­quent­ly employ­ing heli­copters and HD cam­eras to cap­ture the sto­ry, the series has some stun­ning land­scape shots.  “The oppor­tu­ni­ty to share the Earth’s his­to­ry with mil­lions of view­ers, using some of the best media tech­nol­o­gy avail­able, is one of the great­est pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ences I’ve had as an edu­ca­tor,” adds Dr. Eyles. “Work­ing with CBC has been the high­light of my career. “

“It is fit­ting that one of UTSC’s research stars is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the coun­try’s longest-stand­ing, pre­mier sci­ence broad­cast­er, The Nature of Things,” says Mal­colm Camp­bell, pro­fes­sor and vice-prin­ci­pal, research at UTSC. “Like the very best of sci­en­tists, pro­fes­sor Eyles is a gift­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tor.  The CBC and pro­fes­sor Eyles deserve wide praise for part­ner­ing to bring to life the remark­able sci­en­tif­ic sto­ry of Earth­’s evo­lu­tion for the ben­e­fit of count­less view­ers.”

Geo­log­ic Jour­ney II was co-pro­duced by CBC’s Sci­ence and Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Unit with 90th Par­al­lel Pro­duc­tions. Exec­u­tive pro­duc­ers are Michael Allder and Gor­don Hen­der­son.

Join Nick Eyles and Michael Allder, the Exec­u­tive pro­duc­er at the Nature of Things at UTSC for a spe­cial evening screen­ing of episode three, The West­ern Pacif­ic Rim, on Novem­ber 4, 2010.  Dr Eyles will also share his per­son­al account of his jour­ney around plan­et Earth.

The West­ern Pacif­ic Rim is one of the most tec­ton­i­cal­ly volatile and dan­ger­ous regions of the world.   This episode leads us from the vol­ca­noes of New Zealand to the “Earth­quake Nation” of Japan.  We’ll hear from oth­er world lead­ing geol­o­gists to under­stand why this region’s con­sid­ered the “Pacif­ic Rim of Fire”.

Dr. Eyles will also be avail­able to answer ques­tions live via Twit­ter from 8–10 pm ET Octo­ber 21, dur­ing the series pre­miere. Twit­ter users should use the hash­tag #geoworld when ask­ing ques­tions.

Through a unique part­ner­ship between UTSC and CBC a blog will give vis­i­tors a glimpse into the aca­d­e­m­ic life of stu­dents and sci­en­tif­ic researchers. UTSC is also spon­sor­ing a 60-page Teacher Resource Guide to accom­pa­ny the edu­ca­tion­al ver­sion of Geo­log­ic Jour­ney II, which will be avail­able to Cana­di­an schools in ear­ly 2011. The first series Geo­log­i­cal Jour­ney Cana­da is now incor­po­rat­ed into the cur­ricu­lum of 45 per cent of Cana­di­an schools.

Geo­log­ic Jour­ney II will be seen around the world via Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Inter­na­tion­al and in the Unit­ed States on Dis­cov­ery Sci­ence, and will be released in its entire­ty on DVD to the pub­lic ear­ly next year.

For infor­ma­tion on the series, go to:

Mem­bers of the pub­lic are invit­ed to join Dr. Nick Eyles and the Series Exec­u­tive Pro­duc­er Michael Allder at UTSC for a screen­ing of The West­ern Pacif­ic Rim and a talk on “The mak­ing of Geo­log­ic Jour­ney II”,  on Thurs­day, Nov. 4, 2010,  7  to 9 pm, AC223, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough, 1265 Mil­i­tary Trail, Toron­to M1C 1A4.  Admis­sion is FREE.


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Karen Ho
Media and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tant
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Pub­lic Affairs
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough
(416) 287‑5149