Quirks and Quarks

About Quirks & Quarks

Quirks & Quarks is the CBC's award-winning radio science program.


CBC Radio One

Saturdays at 12:05pm

Thursdays at 1:05 p.m. 


Saturdays at noon ET

Tuesdays 7:04am ET

Thursdays at 1:05 p.m. ET

Fridays at 5:04 a.m. ET


Quirks & Quarks is the award-winning radio science program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The program is heard by a national audience in Canada of nearly 800,000 people, and by thousands more around the world on our weekly podcast.

For the past 40 years, Quirks & Quarks has brought its listeners to the cutting edge of scientific inquiry. Every week, the program presents the people behind the latest discoveries in the physical and natural sciences, from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest objects in the sky and everything in between. The program also examines the political, social, environmental and ethical implications of new developments in science and technology. Quirks & Quarks is a program for people fascinated by the world above, below and around them. And you don't need a PhD to enjoy it.

Join host Bob McDonald each week to find out the latest in science, technology, medicine and the environment. We cover every aspect of science, from the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom ... and everything in between.

Awards and Accolades

Over its lifetime, Quirks & Quarks has won more than 80 national and international awards for science journalism.

The Producers

Behind the scenes, Bob works with a team of talented producers to bring you the show each and every week.

The senior producer is Jim Lebans. The producers are Amanda BuckiewiczSonya Buyting and Mark Crawley.


The host of Quirks & Quarks is Bob McDonald. One of Canada's best known science journalists, Bob has been presenting the program since 1992. Bob is also a regular science commentator on CBC News Network, and science correspondent for CBC-TV's The National. Before joining Quirks & Quarks, Bob was the host of CBC Television's children's science program Wonderstruck. He is also the author of two books based on the program Wonderstruck Iand II.

Portrait shot of Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.
Bob McDonald is the host of CBC's Quirks & Quarks and the national science commentator for CBC-TV. (CBC)

Bob's books include The Future is Now (2022) An Earthling's Guide to Outer Space (2019), Canadian Spacewalkers (2014)  which was short-listed for a Canadian Science Writer's Association book award, and Measuring the Earth with a Stick: Science as I've seen it (2000), a collection of essays reflecting on his 25 years as a science journalist.

Bob also hosted and wrote a children's TV science series Heads Up!, which ran for 3 seasons on TVO and the Knowledge Network. In addition, he is Chairman of the Board for Geospace Planetarium.

Bob has been personally honoured for his contributions to the public awareness of science with the 2001 Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion, from NSERC; the 2002 Sandford Fleming Medal from The Royal Canadian Institute; and in 2005, the McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science from the Royal Society of Canada — completing the 'triple crown' of medals for science communication in Canada. In 2010, Bob was named as an honorary life member of the Sigma Xi Society, the first Canadian to be so honoured by America's oldest scientific body.

And in November, 2011, Bob was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Bob McDonald is shaking hands with a distinguished-looking scientist behind a podium.
Bob McDonald is presented as an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

(The CBC Archives have dug up some great old video, starring our very own Bob McDonald —- in his younger days. Check it out.)

It's Dr. Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald has been awarded 12 honorary degrees.

In 2017, Bob received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Alberta.

In 2015, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Toronto. Previously, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Athabasca University in Alberta and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Western University in London, Ontario — both in June, 2013.

In addition, Bob received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Calgary and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Winnipeg — both awarded in June, 2010; an honorary Doctorate of Science from McMaster University in June, 2008 and a Doctorate of Letters from Laurentian University in Sudbury in October 2007.

Bob McDonald is on stage behind a podium with his arms outstretched as he's wearing the ceremonial garb that an honourary doctorate wears.
Bob McDonald received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Alberta in 2017. (Richard Siemens)

You can watch his speech to the students at the University of Alberta here.

You can watch his speech to the students at Western here.

You can also watch his speech to the students at U of T here.

In 2005, Bob received an honorary degree from Carleton University. The university awarded him a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, "In recognition of his outstanding contribution to helping the public understand and appreciate science."

Bob was also recognised by The University of Guelph in 2003, with an honorary Doctorate of Letters.

Bob received two more honorary doctoral degrees in 2017, from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and from Royal Roads University in Victoria. You can watch his convocation address here.


Check out Bob's new book, Canadian Spacewalkers, which profiles the 3 Canadian astronauts who have walked in space.

Quirks & Quarks' book is Nasty, Brutish and Short: The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Animal Sex and Other Weird Behaviour.

And you can still order The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Space: 42 Questions (and Answers) About Life, the Universe, and Everything. It's also available as an e-book. Watch video of Bob and producer/author Jim Lebans, discussing The Guide to Space

And our first book, The Quirks & Quarks Question Book, is still in print, or available as an e-book.