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Henry George Thode

Henry George Thode, scientist, university administrator (b at Dundurn, Sask 10 Sept 1910; d 22 Mar 1997). He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, earned his doctorate from Chicago in 1934 and worked in the labs of Nobel winner Harold Urey at Columbia before joining McMaster in 1939.

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Cecilia Krieger

Cypra Cecilia Krieger, mathematician, professor (born 9 April 1894 in Jasło, Galicia [Poland]; died 17 August 1974 in Toronto, ON). Krieger was the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics from a Canadian university (the University of Toronto) and only the third person to be awarded a mathematics doctorate in Canada. She taught mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto for over 30 years. Krieger is best known for her English translation of noted mathematical texts Introduction to General Typology and General Typology.

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Biruté Galdikas

Biruté Marija Filomena Galdikas, OC, primatologist, conservationist, educator (born 10 May 1946 in Wiesbaden, Germany). Galdikas is the world’s leading authority on orangutans. She has studied them in Indonesian Borneo since 1971. She is also involved in conservation and rehabilitation efforts for orangutans. Galdikas forms part of a trio of primatologists nicknamed the “Trimates,” along with Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. Galdikas spends part of the year in Indonesia and teaches half time at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

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Brock Chisholm

George Brock Chisholm, CC, CBE, ED, psychiatrist, medical administrator, soldier (born 18 May 1896 in Oakville, ON; died 4 February 1971 in Victoria, BC). Brock Chisholm earned  honours for courageous service in the First World War, including a Military Cross (MC) and Bar. He obtained his MD from the University of Toronto in 1924 and became an influential psychiatrist following training at Yale University. He introduced mental health as a component of the recruitment and management of the Canadian Army during the Second World War. He directed the army’s medical services, served in the federal government as deputy minister of health, and became the founding director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO). His vocal attacks on methods of indoctrinating children with societal myths made him a controversial public figure. He was an often provocative advocate of world peace and mental health.

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Charles Lightfoot Roman

Charles Lightfoot Roman, MD, CM, surgeon, author, researcher, lecturer (born 19 May 1889 in Port Elgin, ON; died 8 June 1961 in Valleyfield, QC). Charles Lightfoot Roman was one of the first Black Canadians to graduate from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and became a recognized expert in industrial medicine. He was also one of the first Black Canadians to enlist for service in the First World War and was the only known Black person to serve with the Canadian General Hospital No. 3 (McGill). Lightfoot Roman was also likely the first Black Grand Master of a traditional Masonic lodge.

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Walter Kohn

Walter Kohn, theoretical physicist, professor, Nobel laureate in chemistry (born 9 March 1923 in Vienna, Austria; died 19 April 2016, Santa Barbara, United States). A refugee in England at the outbreak of the Second World War, Kohn was arrested in 1940 as an “enemy alien” and sent to Canada, where he was held in detention camps until 1942 (see Canada and the Holocaust). After his release, he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. He taught for many years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and later at the University of California, San Diego and was the founding director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Kohn was at the forefront of solid-state physics and quantum chemistry during his scientific career. For his work on “density functional theory” he was named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.

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Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy, engineer, inventor (born 2 May 1843 or 1844 in Colchester, Canada West; died 10 October 1929 in Wayne County, Michigan.) McCoy was an African-Canadian mechanical engineer and inventor best known for his groundbreaking innovations in industrial lubrication.

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30 Scientists

​To celebrate its 30th anniversary, The Canadian Encyclopedia created 30 lists of 30 things that make us proud to be Canadian, from famous people and historic events, to iconic foods and influential artists.

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Louis Deveau

Louis Edouard Deveau, O.C., O.N.S, P.ENG, L.L.D. (Hon.), businessman and advocate (born 13 October 1931 in Salmon River, Digby County, NS). Deveau is the founder of Acadian Seaplants Limited, a company that specializes in the cultivation, manufacturing and processing of seaweeds for plant, animal and human use. (See also Aquaculture; Biotechnology.) Deveau became a leading figure in the modern seaweed industry and is recognized for promoting research and sustainable development in the field. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, Deveau is also recognized for his lifelong efforts to support and promote Acadian culture and French language education in Nova Scotia (see Acadian French; French Language in Canada).

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Wilfred Bigelow

Wilfred Gordon Bigelow, OC, surgeon (born 18 June 1913 in Brandon, MB; died 27 March 2005 in Toronto, ON). Dr. Bigelow's special contribution to surgery of the heart was the use of hypothermia to slow tissue metabolism and protect the heart and brain from damage (see Cold Weather Injuries). His research on hypothermia also led to him to co-develop the portable artificial external cardiac pacemaker in 1950. This medical innovation contributed to the development of implantable cardiac pacemakers.

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Onye Nnorom

Onyenyechukwu (Onye) Nnorom, family physician, specialist in public health and preventive medicine (born 27 February 1981 in Montreal, Quebec). Nnorom is the associate director of the residency program in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She also leads the Black health curriculum at the university’s medical school. Her work addresses the health inequities that racialized and immigrant communities face.

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Alfred Schmitz Shadd

Alfred Schmitz Shadd, educator, physician, farmer, politician, pharmacist, editor, civic leader (born 1870 in Raleigh Township, Kent County, ON; died 1915 in Winnipeg, MB).

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Frances Gertrude McGill

Frances Gertrude McGill, teacher, bacteriologist, forensic pathologist (born 18 November 1882 in Minnedosa, MB; died 21 January 1959 in Winnipeg). McGill was Canada’s first female forensic pathologist and a pioneer in the field. She assisted police in solving numerous difficult criminal cases and unusual deaths, earning the nickname “the Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan.” She is often regarded as the first female member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Her personal motto is said to have been “Think like a man, act like a lady and work like a dog.”

Article

Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler, physician, writer, educator (born 12 July 1849 in Bond Head, Canada West [Ontario]; died 29 December 1919 in Oxford, England). Osler was a physician and professor of medicine who helped revolutionize medical education. He insisted that medical students spend less time in the lecture hall and more time with patients; he also developed the medical residency program. Osler was a prolific writer whose textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892), was published in many editions. He was also a bibliophile and historian of medicine whose collection was donated to McGill University.

Article

Bonnie Henry

Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer of British Columbia (2018 to present), epidemiologist, physician (born 1965 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island). Dr. Bonnie Henry is best known for leading British Columbia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also worked to eradicate polio and to contain Ebola and SARS. Henry is a family care physician and a specialist in preventative medicine. She is the first woman to serve as BC’s provincial health officer.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Theodore Drake

Theodore George Gustavus Harwood Drake, physician, historian, collector (born 16 September 1891 in Webbwood, ON; died 28 October 1959 in Toronto, ON). Drake is perhaps best known for his contributions towards the development of the infant cereal, Pablum.

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Louis Siminovitch

Louis Siminovitch, CC, OC, OOnt, FRS, FRSC, molecular biologist (born 1 May 1920 in Montreal, QC; died 6 April 2021 in Toronto, ON). Siminovitch served on various national and provincial research and educational organizations. As a founder of the field, his research centered on somatic cell genetics and on the molecular biology of mammalian cells. (See also Genetics.) He has had a major influence on the careers of numerous Canadian molecular biologists, including James Till and Ernest McCulloch with their groundbreaking stem cell research.

List

Remarkable Indigenous Scientists and Researchers in Canada

Indigenous scientists and researchers in Canada have helped to advance their respective professional fields by posing new questions to seek better ways of thinking, healing and understanding. Many of them have incorporated both Western and Indigenous perspectives and teachings into their important work. In many cases, these individuals have faced discrimination and systemic racism, and persevered. Many have the honour of being the first Indigenous person to graduate and practice in their professional field. This article lists some of the most accomplished Indigenous individuals in Canada who have excelled in the areas of science, research and related fields.

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Theresa Tam

Dr. Theresa Tam, BMBS, physician, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (born 1965 in Hong Kong). Dr. Tam is Canada’s chief public health officer, the federal government’s lead public health professional. She has expertise in immunization, infectious diseases and emergency preparedness. She has served on several World Health Organization emergency committees and has been involved in international missions to combat Ebola, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and pandemic influenza. She has also worked toward the eradication of polio. Dr. Tam became widely known to Canadians through media briefings as she led the medical response to the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ernest Walter Stedman

Ernest Walter Stedman, aircraft engineer (b at Malling, Eng 21 July 1888; d at Ottawa 27 Mar 1957). Stedman trained as an engineer and ended his WWI service as a lt-col in the RAF. He then joined the Handley-Page aircraft company