360° of Life: Paul

If ever you need a science question answered chances are Paul Bissonnette is your guy. As a member of SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Paul is taking a break from his 4th year at the University of Dalhousie where he majors in Physics and Chemistry.

While here at Merit360 he hopes to produce real change through spreading awareness and implementing ideas.

It's clear Paul means business as, despite only ever commuting on his bike, he cycled all the way from Nova Scotia, Canada to Connecticut, USA, in an exciting 12 day adventure aimed at spreading awareness and measuring air pollution.

Paul's bike was kitted out with a solar panel on the back which charged his battery pack during the day as he rode. He would then use the battery to charge all of his pollution monitoring equipment at night in preparation for another day of research.

He told Merit360: "One day I was standing beside a big vessel that violently blew up while I was stood just a few inches away. This made me process my own mortality and ask myself, do I want to be working on things that might be helpful in the future, or do I want to be working on science that definitely will help people and the world in a concrete way?

Doing this crazy cycling journey was my way of spreading awareness and choosing the latter with my research."

As well as recognition around sustainable cities Paul believes in making science more understandable to the general public. This enthusiasm stems from one of his idols, Richard Feynman; a man he's always looked up to for simplifying complex scientific topics and making them approachable.

While talking to Paul it's easy to forget he's only 22, yet behind his scientific jargon is a young man who loves hiking, and rock climbing. A hobby which has taken him all over Canada and the U.S.

For more detail about Paul's journey have a look at his blog, the Cycling Scientist.

Text: Rochelle Beighton
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