Category Archives: Canadian history

Science as Vocation and Life

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By Dimitry Zakharov Gerhard Herzberg was a man of science. His life revolved around his office, where he spent countless hours, often working six days a week going over spectrograms, interpreting and writing results, and familiarizing himself with the latest research in his own field and quantum physics in general. Spectroscopy and the scientists involved in this field were his… Read more »

Physics in Exile: Nazism, Anti-Semitism, and the 1933 Scientific Exodus

By Dimitry Zakharov In September, 1935, physicists Gerhard and Luise Herzberg arrived in Saskatoon, Canada. This move was a leap of faith, as they had only learned of the small prairie city’s existence shortly before their journey, and secured a university position due to a chance friendship with the University of Saskatchewan chemistry professor John Spinks, and a generous grant… Read more »

Dr. Gerhard Herzberg and The Prize

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By Denisa Popa In Gerhard Herzberg: An Illustrious Life in Science, Boris Stoicheff recalls the amusing way in which Herzberg found out he had received the Nobel Prize. On November 2nd, 1971, as Herzberg was seated on a train waiting to leave Leningrad station, the Secretary of the Soviet Academy of Science ran up to his cabin and informed him… Read more »

Scientific Freedom and “the Golden Years”: Gerhard Herzberg and the National Research Council of Canada

Denisa Popa From 1948 until his retirement in 1994, Dr. Gerhard Herzberg conducted ground-breaking research at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). As his close friend and biographer Boris Stoicheff has noted, Herzberg’s early period at the NRC– culminating in his Nobel win in 1971 — were truly “the golden years” of his career.[1] Recognizing the essential nature of… Read more »

How to Celebrate New Year’s Day Like a Fur Trader

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Jessica Di Laurenzio It is impossible to study early Canadian history without understanding the fur trade, and impossible to study the fur trade without coming across the records of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Some of the most useful and interesting records are the journals that kept daily accounts of post activities. Among the entries that jotted down the weather, visitors… Read more »

Visiting and Recognizing the Past: Toronto’s 1919-1920 Smallpox Outbreak

Alt text: A crowd dressed in hats and coats fills a city street. There are banners with the following text: “Stop the slaughter of the innocents! Protest against compulsory vaccination” and “Compulsory vaccination German born – down with compulsion!!”

Sara Wilmshurst A few years ago, on this very site, I published an article about combatting vaccine resistance with historical education. Surely, I thought, if people understood how devastating preventable diseases could be, everyone would be eager to roll up a sleeve and be jabbed. Such is the pain of living through historic times. At least I learned something. Like… Read more »

Historia Nostra: Myth, Memory, and Misconception at the Plains of Abraham

By Erin Isaac The Battle on the Plains of Abraham, on 13 September 1759, is heavily commemorated on Québec’s physical landscape. From the streets, buildings, and shops named for the French and British military men who fought that day, to the monuments that dot the city’s historic neighbourhoods, and commemorative panels or plaques at the Plains of Abraham, it’s hard… Read more »

Inequality: Only for Academics? A Self-Publishing Saga

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Eric W. Sager I have always believed in the mission of public history. I have given public talks, written op-eds, and published books and articles intended for non-academic readers. I have even won awards for “public dissemination.” Although I have had some successes, I have also met with failures. Recently, failure is winning. How could this be? Have I lost… Read more »

Experts Confront Postwar Poverty, or How Good People Do Bad Things

Tina Loo The Northern Affairs Officers who live and work with the people of the Keewatin have no promise and little hope that tomorrow will bring an opportunity for work and self-dependence for all the Eskimo people of that region. If the problem does not seem capable of immediate solution, it is no reflection on them; we have been impressed… Read more »

As Long As The Rivers Flow 30 years on : An epic collaboration in documentary filmmaking

By James Cullingham This autumn marks a significant milestone in the history of filmmaking about Indigenous – settler relations in Canada. As Long As The Rivers Flow, the documentary series about Indigenous resilience that launched Tamarack Productions, was released in September 1991. As Long As The Rivers Flow was among the first national collaborations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous documentarians in… Read more »