In 1971, Dr. Gerhard Herzberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Find out more about how Herzberg’s Nobel win marked an important moment in Canada’s history and how his personal journey shaped our views on the values of science.

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More information about the Herzberg50 project

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of German-Canadian scientist Dr. Gerhard Herzberg’s Nobel Prize Award in Chemistry. The prize was awarded in recognition of “his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals.” (NSERC) In celebration of this anniversary, Defining Moments Canada, in collaboration with Heritage Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, University of Saskatchewan, and ESRI Canada, is leading a national commemorative and educational project: Herzberg50.    

The Herzberg50 project aims to commemorate Dr. Gerhard Herzberg’s Nobel Prize Award in Chemistry– exploring and learning more about his personal life story and making his scientific research accessible to all readers. This story will be told through a bilingual virtual exhibit and a series of articles that will be grounded in six broader themes in Canadian science:  

  • The Responsibilities of Scientists and Academics
  • The Importance of Canadian Research
  • The Freedom to Study & Explore in Canada
  • The Pursuit of Study & Progress
  • The Meaning of Receiving a Nobel Prize 
  • The Connections Between Science & Culture

The broader objective of this project will be to provide educational resources and support for teachers and students through supplemental lesson plans, digital tools and artifacts that will focus on highlighting interdisciplinary relevance. This project will become an invaluable digital resource for students of Canadian History, informing and enhancing the experience of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Herzberg50 will be available gradually on the Defining Moments Canada (DMC) website over the next 10 months. Following year 1 of Herzberg50, DMC will go on to launch NobelCanadian– a digital commemoration project celebrating all of Canada’s Nobel Laureates in 2022.

Who was Gerhard Herzberg?

Learn more about the life of Dr. Gerhard Herzberg in this introductory blog post by our Scholarly Associate, Denisa Popa.

Coming Soon

Check back often or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on new content. We look forward to sharing a Gerhard Herzberg storymap, video content exploring Herzberg’s scientific and personal impact, and historical content exploring the wider social and scientific context surrounding Herzberg’s story.

The Scientific Context – Coming soon!

What was happening in the scientific community when Herzberg won the Nobel Prize? Paul Dufour, a leading science policy advisor and expert on Dr Herzberg, explores major scientific milestones in Canada during the 1960s and 1970s.

Herzberg and Science in the Social Science Classroom

Defining Moments Canada looks forward to developing a series of trans-disciplinary educational resources with Canadian teachers during Summer 2021. These lesson resources and plans will use the curatorial thinking framework in a variety of transdisciplinary applications and will be adaptable for use in synchronous, hybrid, or face-to-face classrooms.

The Curatorial Thinking framework has been developed by Defining Moments Canada as a way to structure best practices that teachers have already been using. Curatorial Thinking helps to make sense of digital information, create meaningful stories, and build social responsibility and awareness while empowering students to take ownership of their own learning. It also creates more accessible opportunities to achieve transdisciplinary perspectives in the classroom, creating connections between different subjects, skills, and curricula. 

Read more about Curatorial Thinking and Herzberg50 from Dr. Madeleine Mant.

Meet the team

Read more about the team of dedicated individuals working to deliver Herzberg50.

Our Partners

Defining Moments Canada works collaboratively with a variety of organizations and institutions to provide authoritative and quality educational and heritage content. Thank you to the partners and supporters of Herzberg50.