Now reading: 13 physics innovations you may not know are Canadian

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

13 physics innovations you may not know are Canadian

Canadians are a notoriously humble bunch, and we tend not to toot our collective horn about our achievements. (Sorry about that.) But this year is Canada’s sesquicentennial, so if there was ever a time to celebrate Canada’s incredible contributions to the world, this is it.

canada physics

For the sake of brevity, we’re going to focus on Canadian innovations in the field closest to our heart, physics.

We compiled this list with help from Canadian Governor General David Johnston, who collaborated with tech leader Tom Jenkins on the book Ingenious: How Canadian Innovations Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, and Happier. (Watch the video interview with the Governor General at the bottom of this page.)

How many of these Canadian physics innov-eh-tions did you know about?

Slice of PI Harriett Brooks

Slice of PI - Neutron scattering

Rudolph Marcus and electron transfer theory

Victoria Kaspi and Zombie stars

Light bulb inventors

Slice of PI neutrinos


Slice of PI liquid helium

Gerhard Herzberg and molecular spectroscopy

Electronic Sackbut

Slice of PI globular clusters

Standard Model slice of PI

Slice of PI electron microscope


Governor General David Johnston recently visited Perimeter to discuss his book on Canadian innovation and the importance of fundamental research. Watch:


For quantum gravity specialist and author Lee Smolin, Albert Einstein’s greatest strength didn’t lie in numbers.

/Nov 17, 2015

Get your fill of pi (videos) to celebrate Pi Day, including great short videos from Hank Green, James Grime, Veritasium and Physics Girl, Matt Parker, and (of course) Perimeter Institute.

/Mar 14, 2017

The national tour of Innovation150 — a celebration of Canadian ingenuity as part of the country’s sesquicentennial — kicked off in Vancouver this week.

/Jan 13, 2017