Two exceptional Canadian scientists, Dr. Pierre Dansereau (1911-) and Dr. Charles Robert Scriver (1930-) were inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame this evening at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.
The two were chosen from a short-list of eight finalists by a Selection Committee representing a diversity of science and engineering institutions. Both continue to work in their fields.
A plaque presented to Pierre Dansereau during the ceremony describes his substantial career as a truly multidisciplinary scientist. In his approach to ecology, he went beyond studying one particular object — for example, a beaver, the food it eats and the affects of its dams on aquatic vegetation — to studying a whole environment, such as a forest, and the relationships among its soil, plants and animals.
Through his work, he has increased our understanding of both natural and man-made environments, and the need for improvement in their treatment. In the 1970's Dansereau led a groundbreaking study into the impact of building Mirabel Airport, bringing together specialists from a diversity of disciplines including natural sciences, social sciences, anthropology and psychology. This was a precursor to a now-familiar entity in Canada — the environmental impact study.
Charles Scriver was presented with a plaque honouring his work as a medical geneticist who has produced a remarkable range of innovations in the study and treatment of inheritable metabolic disease. He has described his career as having begun with "mechanisms of membrane transport and errors of transport" — part of the body's chemical processes — and thus with the source of many diseases themselves. He then worked on the screening, treatment, and prevention of these diseases.
He has discovered a dozen inherited metabolic diseases, and has stepped beyond the conventional role of a scientist to help establish a neonatal screening program in Quebec and a special food bank for children with metabolic disorders. He has also set up a web database for information exchange on variations of segments of the human genome. Scriver has worked at the scale of the individual, of families, of communities, and of populations while making fundamental contributions to his discipline.
This year's induction ceremony was also a celebration of the Hall of Fame's tenth anniversary. It was originally established in 1991 by the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the National Research Council of Canada. The museum is now in the process of creating a new home for the Hall of Fame, to be located within a new exhibition called Innovation Canada, set to open on July 1, 2002.
With tonight's two new inductees, there are now 28 Canadian scientists and innovators honoured in the Hall of Fame, including Maude Abbot, Sir Frederick Banting, Joseph-Armand Bombardier and Elizabeth MacGill. The achievements of these and the other members of the Hall of Fame have been so remarkable and their contributions to society so great that the Canada Science and Technology Museum hopes one day all Canadians will be aware of their accomplishments.
The Canada Science and Technology Museum is located at 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard (at Lancaster Road) in Ottawa.