Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 18, 2016 10:00 ET

Colonel Chris Hadfield Wins NSERC Award for Science Promotion for Popularizing Science

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 18, 2016) - The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, today presented Colonel Chris Hadfield, one of Canada's most accomplished astronauts, with this year's Award for Science Promotion (Individual). The annual Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) award, valued at $10,000, honours individuals who make outstanding contributions to the promotion of science and engineering to the general public.

Colonel Hadfield, selected for his ceaseless activities as a champion and spokesperson for science, is one of the most recognized science personalities in Canada. He accepted his award at a ceremony held at the Ontario Science Centre attended by young science students, researchers, science educators, and other officials.

As an astronaut of the Social Media Age, Colonel Hadfield has leveraged the worldwide scope of social media platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter, to share his space science experiences. During his five months on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2012-13, he tweeted to the world, sent inspiring photographs of the Earth below, and posted unique YouTube videos of life in space.

Quotes

"I am very pleased to present Colonel Chris Hadfield with this award in recognition of his untiring work in promoting science. We must continue to celebrate and support the men and women engaged in science and engineering, whether it's in research labs, our schools, or outer space."

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"Fostering science culture among youth lets us take advantage of Canada's diverse and growing talent. With his unmatched ability to communicate his enthusiasm for the adventure of science and engineering, Colonel Chris Hadfield is a perfect example of making science mainstream. Moreover, he epitomizes the global perspective needed for science and engineering today: not only did he orbit the globe many times, but his videos and books have reached an international audience. "

- Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President, NSERC

"I congratulate Colonel Hadfield on winning the NSERC Award for Science Promotion. Public and especially youth engagement in science and technology is key to our future and Colonel Hadfield has done exceptional work in making science relevant and accessible to the younger generations."

- Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre

"It is a great honour to receive this award from NSERC, as I believe passionately in the importance of education and scientific understanding. NSERC was pivotal in starting my career, when their scholarship enabled me to pursue a graduate-level education. I am deeply grateful to NSERC and the good they do, especially for young Canadians."

- Colonel Chris Hadfield

Quick Facts

  • The event included a science camp with some 15 to 20 children aged 10 to 12 who participated in a demonstration in the Challenge Zone hosted by the Ontario Science Centre and Colonel Chris Hadfield.
  • Colonel Hadfield's many YouTube videos have been widely viewed around the world: Space Oddity has 31 million views, and Wringing out Water on the ISS - for Science! has more than 12 million views.
  • Colonel Hadfield performed numerous science experiments while on board the ISS, including several designed by Canadian researchers.
  • Since returning to Earth permanently, he has authored a number of best-selling books and toured extensively, lecturing a wide variety of audiences from elementary students to business leaders.
  • Colonel Hadfield was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.

Associated Links

About the Award

Colonel Chris Hadfield: From Humble Roots to Lofty Heights

Where NSERC Invests and Why

A Vision of NSERC in 2020

About NSERC

NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries - valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

NSERC Award for Science Promotion - Profile of the Individual Winner

Colonel Chris Hadfield

Colonel Chris Hadfield is one of the best-recognized science personalities in Canada. An astronaut of the Social Media Age, he has leveraged with panache the worldwide scope of platforms like YouTube and Twitter to share his enthusiasm for space science. During his five months on the International Space Station (ISS), he tweeted with followers around the world, sent inspiring photographs of the Earth below, and posted unique YouTube videos that let millions of people better understand what life was like in Outer Space.

Many of his videos were recorded during direct "downlink" sessions with students in Canadian schools. His famous "Wringing Water out of a Towel" demonstration, for example, was designed by students from Lockview High School in Fall River, Nova Scotia, and conducted as some 1,200 students watched.

Using personal insights and anecdotes, Colonel Hadfield answered questions from students around the world, including the University of Waterloo, and Chris Hadfield Public School in Milton, Ontario. Thanks to his direct involvement, this school has seen a significant increase in science interest among both students and teachers. Their focus on the environment is something that has resulted directly from Colonel Hadfield's comments on how we as humans have affected our planet home.

Colonel Hadfield also performed numerous science experiments while on board the ISS, including several designed by Canadian researchers.

Since returning to Earth permanently, he has authored a number of best-selling books and toured extensively, lecturing a wide variety of audiences from elementary students to business leaders.

More information on Colonel Hadfield (personal website).

Contact Information

  • Veronique Perron
    Press Secretary, Minister of Science
    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
    343-291-2858
    veronique.perron@canada.ca

    Nyree St-Denis
    Manager, Public Affairs
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    Cell.: 613-614-7010
    media@nserc-crsng.gc.ca