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James Andrew Smith's Blog

I'm an associate professor (professeur agrégé) in York University's Lassonde School of Engineering. I dedicate my time primarily to teaching, but also conduct research and work to make education, engineering and science and academia more just, inclusive, diverse and equitable. I teach some of the largest (150 - 500+ students) programming and electronics classes here at YorkU and love supervising capstone projects in both engineering and computer science.

Originally from Québec City, I studied and built robots at the University of Alberta in the mid to late 1990s. In 2006, I completed a Mechanical Engineering PhD on the world's first galloping robots at McGill University's Centre for Intelligent Machines and worked on bipedal robots as a post-doc at the University of Jena, in Germany. I continued to work on legged robots as a professor at Toronto Metropolitan University from 2008 to 2015 where I also developed robots for modelling human birth. In 2015, I joined York University's Lassonde School of Engineering. In 2018/19, my family and I went on sabbatical in France and I taught at two engineering schools: INSA in Strasbourg, France and Hochschule Karlsruhe in nearby Karlsruhe, Germany.

I can be found on Twitter and reached through my University email

You'll see lots of information in this blog about COVID, airborne hazards, clean air, N95 respirators, etc. It's important to point out that I have an interest in this, generally, but do not have a technical background in ventilation or PPE, in spite of my mechanical engineering degree or any work I've done in biomedical engineering -- so any opinion I express on this topic is not officially within my area of technical competence and should not be taken as a "professional engineering recommendation". If you're looking for proper professional advice on PPE, HVAC, etc., hire a registered Professional Engineer who is trained and who practices in those domains.

That said, COVID is Airborne, we need to cleanse the air and wear N95 or better respirators. You don't need a degree in HVAC to know or recommend those things. You just need to listen to experts, read peer-reviewed papers, as well as industry white papers and product user manuals.

Quick links to topics on this blog:


James Andrew Smith, PhD P.Eng.