Posted on Feb. 29: $250,000 research prize honours Canadian Nobel Prize winner Bertram Brockhouse

February 27, 2004

    Doris Brockhouse, Peter George
A $250,000 science and engineering research prize in honour of the late Bertram Brockhouse, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics, was announced Friday at McMaster.

"The new prize  the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering  offers permanent recognition for Dr. Brockhouse's outstanding contribution to science and to Canada," said Beth Phinney, member of parliament for Hamilton Mountain. "The award signals the great importance of success in science and technology to the future prosperity of Canadians. We compete with the best in the world through our ability to generate new ideas and our ability to bring them to the marketplace."

Phinney made the announcement on behalf of Lucienne Robillard, minister of industry and minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

Working at Chalk River about 40 years ago, Brockhouse invented the use of neutron scattering to study the internal structure of materials, and gave Canada many years of leadership in that field. Neutron scattering is now an essential technique used around the world both in science and industry.

Among the dignitaries who attended the announcement were Doris Brockhouse, Brockhouse's widow, Peter George, President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University, where professor Brockhouse taught and conducted research for 22 years, and Tom Brzustowski, president of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the prize sponsor.

Gordon Brockhouse

"My husband was a strong believer in the importance of collaboration in research," said Brockhouse. "When NSERC proposed the award to him last summer, he was honoured to lend his name to it and enthusiastic in approving the form it took. It keeps his ideals, contributions and memory very much alive."

"The very nature and design of this award represents how Bert both lived his life and did his work  looking at every issue from every possible angle. Through his work, Bert Brockhouse inspired countless generations of scientists. Through his Nobel, he reminded Canada that we have a tradition of excellence in research and a place of prominence in the international research community. Through this new Prize, his legacy of innovation will live on," said George.

"This is a very special announcement for the Canadian science and engineering community," said Brzustowski. "It carries an important message about the changing nature of research. The prize recognizes and rewards an outstanding achievement by a team of researchers working from several disciplines. It recognizes the fact that more and more important research requires the resources of several disciplines."

The award was conceived as a 25th anniversary project of NSERC. The inaugural competition for the Brockhouse Prize will be held early in 2004. Nomination kits will be available from NSERC and full details will also be available on the Web at http://www.nserc.ca/about/award_e.htm.

NSERC, now also known as Science and Engineering Research Canada, is a key federal agency investing in people, discovery, and innovation. It supports both basic university research through research grants, and project research through partnerships among postsecondary institutions, government and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people.

Photo caption: Top, McMaster President Peter George and Brockhouse's wife Doris admire a replica of Bertram Brockhouse's Nobel medal. Below, Gordon Brockhouse reminisces about his father at today's announcement. Photo credit: Chantall Van Raay.