Saskatchewan is known to be a flat region, but who knew it was so flat that it could be an ideal testing ground for scientific experiments? Vancouver, B.C science Youtuber Kurtis Baute did, and he was in the Stoughton area on Thursday to do just that.
"My project is to test if the world is round or flat. Science says that it's round but, you know, people are not sure about that these days. So I figured I'd do a simple experiment," he explained.
Highway 33 is one of the straightest roads in the entire world, apparently, equivalent only to one or two in North Dakota and Egypt. The region was also logistically more convenient.
"I biked 138 kilometers and measured it, it's straight enough that you can do that. Then I put two sundials, one at each end, and measured their shadows at the same time with help from the Saskatchewan Science Center."
"If the world was flat, those shadows should be the same length, but that's not what we found. We found that they were different lengths, therefore, the world is round," Baute stated with a chuckle, "That's the gist of the experiment. We were also able to calculate the size of the earth by doing that, which is the real fun part for me."
"The shadow in Regina was 3.9 centimeters longer than the shadow in Stoughton. When you put the sundials together in the same place, the shadows are the same size. It's a small difference, but it's the difference that proves that the world is a sphere."
He used the bicycle to stay closer to how such experiments would have been conducted in the 1500's, often paced out on foot, plus it was a simple tool for distance measurements.
Baute added that a growing number of North Americans are convinced of a flat earth, and organizations to promote the idea are increasing in size.
"The shadow in Regina was 3.9 centimeters longer than the shadow in Stoughton...It's a small difference, but it's the difference that proves that the world is a sphere."
"Something like one in ten Americans aren't sure if the world is round or not. That's a fundamental piece of science. Everything in earth science and astronomy is based on the fact that the world is a sphere like every other thing we see in the solar system. If people don't know that, and they don't understand how we learn these things, then what hope do we have for them in thinking about other things scientifically, like climate change or vaccines?"
"I'm using this project to make a Youtube video, that hopefully will get people interested in science and excited to see the world in a different way. Even in the last couple days, while I've been doing this experiment, I've been getting messages on Facebook and in my Youtube comments from people who are genuinely uncertain about the shape of the world. They're asking me curiously and sincerely, what should I think and how should we figure this out? I'm able to answer those questions, so I feel like I've already made a difference, at least to a few people, and that's what I live for," said Baute.
"It's my dream to help science make the news, and I feel like I've kind of done that. That's what keeps me up at night, out of excitement."
He expects the video to be finished and posted later in July.