Gerhard Herzberg won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971.

USask joins in announcing Herzberg50 and ‘NobelCanadian’ commemoration projects

As part of a national initiative to mark the 50th anniversary of Gerhard Herzberg’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is partnering with heritage education organization Defining Moments Canada, Canadian Heritage, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) on a major digital project that will showcase Herzberg’s life and achievements to a wide public audience including high school students.

Led by Defining Moments Canada with funding and other support from Canadian Heritage and the NRC, Herzberg50 will highlight Herzberg’s life and his longstanding impact on science and science policy.  An interactive website targeted at youth and teachers will include innovative digital mapping created by Esri Canada.

The project will also be supported by archival and historical research at USask, Herzberg’s academic home for 10 research-intensive years after he was brought to Canada from Germany in 1935, through efforts led by USask’s first president Walter Murray.

“Herzberg’s work is a testament to the importance of fundamental research where transformative applications become evident over time,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. 

“I am proud that Canada and USask welcomed Herzberg and his wife when no other country or university did, and in the process, enabled him to undertake superb work on the journey to the Nobel Prize. His legacy is evident today in so many ways, including at the USask Canadian Light Source where scientists from across Canada and around the world continue to unravel the mysteries of atomic structure.”

Herzberg50 will inaugurate a larger commemoration project—NobelCanadian—honouring all Canada’s Nobel Laureates which will get underway in 2022-2023.  USask has two Nobel Laureates, both in chemistry: Herzberg and Henry Taube.

“The team at Defining Moments Canada is honoured to commemorate the achievements of Canada’s Nobel Laureates over the next two years,” said Defining Moments Canada President Neil Orford. “Herzberg’s lifetime commitment to research defined a new standard for science education in Canada, and we are proud to inaugurate the NobelCanadian project with Herzberg50 in 2021.”

NRC President Mitch Davies said the NRC, where Herzberg worked for 40 years, is honoured to celebrate Herzberg’s legacy.

“Dr. Herzberg was a world-renowned scientist who advanced knowledge and pushed boundaries in chemistry, physics, and astrophysics with his passion for excellence and scientific exploration as a professor in Germany, and then as a researcher at the NRC,” Davies said.

He noted that 2021 marks two important milestones for Canada and Germany: the 50th anniversary of Herzberg’s Nobel Prize, and the 50th anniversary of the formal Canada-Germany Science and Technology collaboration.

Read the full partnered announcement here: