Public Science Series Lecture on Electromagnetism

March 10, 2021

(by Lillian Beltaos and Lydia Emanuel)


Each year, around mid-March, the NTHSA holds a public science series lecture to celebrate International Pi-Day and share interesting scientific concepts and stories with attendees. This year was our first virtual Pi-Day event; nevertheless, we retained the format of featuring a keynote speaker as well as a science byte and Tesla Tales. In addition, we announced the winners of our first annual Arts Contest.


We engaged numerous attendees from across Canada, including Vancouver and Toronto, for a stimulating evening of science and art. Another first was collaborating with the Calgary Tesla Society whose Vice President, Peter Brackett, was the keynote speaker. It was gratifying to extend our reach to so many Tesla enthusiasts with a strong presence from Alberta and beyond. The science topics stretched across time, starting with Dr. Angela Beltaos who opened with the tragic story of Hypatia – a significant mathematician, astronomer and physicist from ancient Greece. Our keynote speaker was next, beginning with Thales of Miletus–an ancient Greek who discovered electricity, then leading us through the scores of later individual discoveries about electricity to the end of the 19th century.

It was not lost on the audience how there had been so many brilliant minds that contributed to bring us the quality of life and comforts we enjoy today, and were ultimately crowned by Nikola Tesla’s Three Phase Alternating Current Motor that achieved electricity for people all around the world.

We were all electrified by Peter’s presentation.

Tesla Tales came next with a 1912 newspaper article submitted by the Calgary Tesla Society where the reporters of the day popularized Tesla and extolled his wizard-like concepts of wireless technology. The second Tesla Tale reflected the theme of science and art with the reading of a poem that was written by Serbian poet Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj to commemorate Tesla’s visit to Belgrade in 1892.

That flowed nicely into the final portion of the program where the winners of the Literary and Visual Arts components of the Arts Contest were announced.

The winners, in order, were Dr. Maida Djordjevic (Toronto), Ms. Helen Hall (Montreal), and Ms. Mira Colic (Denmark) for the Literary Category. For Visual Arts, they were Ms. Ana Milankovic (Calgary), Dr. Elaine Beltaos-Kerr (Edmonton) and Dr. Moira Walker (Edmonton). Honorable Mentions went to Ms. Ana Plavsic (Belgrade) and Dr. Amenda Chow (Waterloo).

Thank you to our panel of judges: Ms. Lydia Emanuel, Vice President NTHSA, Dr. Branka Barl, Member of NTHSA and assisted by Ms. Tana Alekcic, Member of Public, Mr. Gene Emanuel, Member NTHSA, and Ms. Violeta Lalic-Zaric, Violeta Graphic Design.

A video of the presentations and Arts Contest finalists can be found at


It was a memorable and wonderful evening. Thanks to everyone who participated, organized and contributed. It was a true community event, just like in ancient Greek times (with a touch of technology)!