Category Archives: History of Science and Technology

Humanity, Humility and Humour: Dr. Gerhard Herzberg’s Pursuit of Scientific Study & Progress

By Denisa Popa On January 17th, 1985, Dr. Gerhard Herzberg attended a dinner in his honour after receiving the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany.[1] At this event, he looked back on his scientific career and life journey, highlighting the various people, places and values that had influenced him. In 1935, Gerhard Herzberg and… Read more »

Introducing Herzberg50

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Denisa Popa This year marks the 50th anniversary of German-Canadian scientist Dr. Gerhard Herzberg’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The prize was awarded in recognition of “his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals.” In celebration of this anniversary, Defining Moments Canada, in collaboration with Heritage Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, University… Read more »

Public Health, Rights, and Protest in the Age of COVID-19

Jennifer Tunnicliffe COVID-19 and the steps taken to inhibit its spread have inspired significant opposition across Canada over the past ten months. Protestors have rallied against measures implemented by provincial governments, and movements such as The Line Canada and March to Unmask have used public demonstrations and social media platforms to denounce mandatory mask-wearing, quarantine procedures, travel restrictions, and lockdown… Read more »

Immersed in the Past: Room-Scale Virtual Reality for Public History

Sean Kheraj Last year, I wrote about my early impressions of the possible uses of virtual reality technology for public history and history education. I also led a session in my fourth-year digital history class on virtual reality and its potential for generating a sense of historical presence, an ability to simulate the sensation of standing in past places. I… Read more »

Canada, UFOs, and Wishful Thinking

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Matthew Hayes If you’ve ever done even a cursory search on UFOs, chances are you’ve come across that mythical American investigation, Project Blue Book. It officially ran from 1952 until 1969, at which point the infamous Condon Report denied any scientific basis to UFOs and the US Air Force shut down its investigation. Depending who you talk to, the American… Read more »

Rediscovering the “Oracle of Wheat”

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By Anne Dance E. Cora Hind, first-wave feminist and famed agricultural journalist, was never one to back down from a fight. In the 1930s, the septuagenarian recommended reforms to a federal cabinet minister. The Canadian politician quickly dismissed Hind’s suggestions, much to her disgust. “This merely shows his colossal ignorance of the whole situation,” Hind later wrote in one of her… Read more »

“Listen to Our Cannabis Constituency”: A View from South of the Border

By Phillip Smith I’m taking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals at their word that they are actually going to get around to legalizing marijuana, so my concern is not that they do it, but how they do it. I can’t claim to be familiar with all the intricacies surrounding how legalization is going to work up there, but… Read more »

Virtual Spaces, Contested Histories: A Retrospective of a One-Day Symposium on “Envisioning Technologies”

By Roy Hanes and Beth A. Robertson   Technological advances have historically been integral to creating inclusive spaces of learning, whether in schools, universities or public libraries, especially as the discourse has shifted from one of ‘charity’ to a human right. Yet how does one tell that story in an online format that is similarly inclusive and accessible? On Thursday,… Read more »

Virtual Histories of Disability and Assistive Devices

Introduction to the Exhibit by Dominique Marshall on behalf of Carleton University’s Disabilities Research Group Machines of the past hold many of the secrets for designers of future technologies. This is why in the 1960s, a mechanic from Gatineau with 2% vision, personally collected precious old Braille printing machines.  Roland Galarneau laboured in his basement for over a decade, in… Read more »

High Energy: Hydro-Québec’s Relationship with Vermont

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By James Morgan During the 1960s and 1970s, Hydro-Québec rose to prominence as a major producer and exporter of hydroelectric power. This later led to a mutually beneficial economic relationship with the State of Vermont when it needed electricity and Québec wanted to sell electricity. The exchange of power from Québec to Vermont changed diplomacy from the federal to provincial… Read more »