Saskatchewan Science Trivia

From The Bathroom Book of Saskatchewan Trivia by Glenda MacFarlane:

The oldest fossils found in Saskatchewan are 1.7 billion-year-old microscopic cells of blue[-green] algae known as stromatolites. [blue algae is now considered to be bacteria]

[Big] Bert,” the fossil, of a 92 million-year-old type of crocodile a Teleorbinus-was discovered in the Carrot River area in 1991.

In 1994, “Scotty,” the fossil of a 65 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex, was found near Eastend.  The skeleton is about 65 percent complete and ranks among the top specimens in the world. [Scotty is prime attraction of the T. Rex Discovery Museum in Eastend.]

Scientists discovered some dinosaur dung the following year, again near Eastend. The single carnivore “coprolite” was the largest ever found.  It contained pieces of undigested bone and weighed almost 7 kilograms!

Dr. Gerhard Herzberg, who worked at the U of S for a decade in the ’30s and ’40s, was the first Canadian to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1971).  His field was the study of atomic and molecular spectroscopy.

Henry Taube of Neudorf won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work with dissolved organic solids.  He also won the Linus Pauling Award.  Dr. Taube said, “Science as an intellectual exercise enriches our culture and is in itself ennobling.”

Rosthern-area farmer Seager Wheeler practically invented farming on the prairie.  He developed new machinery, wrote about agricultural subjects and, starting n 1911, won five world wheat championships, a record that has never been equaled.

The first Canadian experiment aboard a space shuttle was designed by U of S professor Louis Delbaere.  The Discovery shuttle conducted Delbaere’s experiment about crystallization in space in 1990.

U of S particle physicist Chary Rangacharyulu helped to discover a new subatomic particle.  The find came in ninth on Discovery magazine’s 2003 list of the “Top 100 Science Stories.”

And in 1951, a team of researches—including future Lieutenant-Governor Sylvia Fedoruk—designed the Cobalt-60 and began using cobalt radiation to treat cancer patients.  Their first patient , a 43-year-old mother of four, beat her cancer and went on to live for another 50 years!  Fedoruk later developed the Dosimeter, which helped to regulate radiation dosages and a device to test for thyroid cancer.

Robert Moody of Saskatoon co-discovered the Kac-Moody algebras the basic mathematical structure that underlies superstring theory.

In the 1950s. Raymond Lemieux of the U of S was the first chemist to produce table sugar by synthetic means.

Margaret Newton, one of the first women in the country to study agriculture at university, became the leading Canadian authority on cereal rusts in the 1920s.

Professor Akira Hirose of the U of S’s Department of Physics constructed Canada’s first “tokamak” a doughnut-shaped fusion device.

More science and other trivia are found in the book.


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