The game is six degrees of Canadian history. Take two seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian culture and connect the dots through various people, places and events to discover how they’re distantly — or maybe not-so-distantly — related. Along the way, we visit the quizzical and curious, the tragic and comic, and everything in between.
Boris Peter Stoicheff, physics professor (b at Bitola, Yugoslavia 1 June 1924). A specialist in spectroscopy, laser physics and nonlinear optics, he is known for his innovative use of lasers. After receiving a PhD from U of T in 1950 he joined the National Research Council of Canada in 1951.
Julie Payette, OC, CQ, astronaut, engineer, jet pilot, musician (born 20 October 1963 in Montréal, QC). Payette participated in two space flights to the International Space Station, STS-96 (1999) and STS-127 (2009), and served as the chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007. In 1999, she became the first Canadian to board the International Space Station. An accomplished scientific authority, musician and athlete, Payette is a board member of Own the Podium and a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s board of directors.
Theodore Lionel Sourkes, OC, biochemist, neuropsychopharmacologist (born 21 February 1919 in Montréal, QC; died 17 January 2015 in Montréal, QC). One of Canada's great scholars, he became professor of psychiatry at McGill in 1965 and director of the neurochemistry laboratory at the Allan Memorial Institute of Psychiatry; in 1970 he was appointed professor of biochemistry, retiring in 1991. He was a prime mover in the establishment of biochemical psychiatry as an accurate discipline.
Philip J. Currie, palaeontologist, museum curator (born 13 March 1949 in Brampton, ON). In the early 1980s, Currie played a lead role in the founding of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. He later became the namesake of another institution, the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which opened in September 2015 near Grande Prairie, Alberta. Much of Currie’s research has focussed on fossils from Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park and other Cretaceous sites, as well as the evolution of carnivorous dinosaurs and the origin of birds.
Loris Shano Russell, palaeontologist (born 21 April 1904 in Brooklyn, New York; died 6 July 1998 in Toronto, ON). Over the course of his career, Russell served as a palaeontologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, as professor of geology at the University of Toronto, and in various roles at the National Museums of Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum. Russell was among the first to suggest that dinosaurs might have been warm-blooded, his most significant contribution to the field of palaeontology.
Bertram Neville Brockhouse, physicist (born 15 July 1918 in Lethbridge, AB; died 13 October 2003 in Hamilton, ON). Brockhouse pioneered the use of thermal neutrons to study structural, dynamical and magnetic aspects of the behaviour of condensed matter systems at an atomic level.
Andrew Hill Clark, historical geographer (b at Fairford, Man 29 Apr 1911; d at Madison, Wisc 21 May 1975). Son of a Baptist medical missionary, Clark was educated at McMaster and University of Toronto where he studied with geographer Griffith Taylor and economic historian Harold Innis.
Alexander Thomas Cameron, biochemist (b at London, Eng 1882; d at Winnipeg 25 Sept 1947). Educated in chemistry at University of Edinburgh, Cameron came to University of Manitoba as lecturer of physiology and remained there (except for WWI service in France) until his death.
Albert Edward Litherland, "Ted," nuclear physicist (b at Wallasey, Eng 12 Mar 1928). Ted Litherland received a BSc in 1949 and a PhD in 1955 from the U of Liverpool. He was a National Research Council Fellow (1953-55) and a career scientist (1955-66) with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.