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Society Honours Pioneer Harriet Brooks

December 12, 2023

October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child, a day to promote the empowerment of girls. The Society joined with Women in Nuclear Canada, and artist Jo Napier, to highlight the contributions of women in the nuclear industry.

Women in Nuclear commissioned a portrait of Harriet Brooks, the first female Canadian nuclear physicist. Her work is considered to be foundational to the understanding of nuclear science.

Harriet Brooks (1876–1933) was a pioneering Canadian physicist whose groundbreaking contributions to the field of nuclear physics laid the foundation for future discoveries. Born in Exeter, Ontario, Brooks embarked on her scientific journey at a time when women faced significant barriers in the male-dominated scientific community.

While her scientific career was relatively short-lived, her work laid the groundwork for future advancements in nuclear physics and has left an enduring impact on the scientific community. Brooks remains a trailblazer in the history of women in science, and her contributions continue to be recognized for their importance in advancing our understanding of the fundamental nature of matter.

In honouring Harriet Brooks we hope to shine a spotlight on the achievements of the women who work in the nuclear industry, including nuclear scientists and engineers. As a union we are proud to represent so many of these incredible women.

The Society is proud to support young women’s excellence in STEM programs. We have been proud to support Camp ENGIES for many years (www.campengies.com/ontario). Representation matters, and it is important that the next generation of young women see themselves when they look at a future in engineering and the sciences.

“When a girl closes her eyes to imagine a scientists or inventor or pioneer, I want her to see a female face.” – Jo Napier, Artist


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