A History of Research Excellence

Learn about how Arts & Science people have shaped society over the past century

From atoms to arts … and everything in between!

Established in 1908, the College of Arts & Science is the University of Saskatchewan’s oldest college. Past faculty and U of S alumni are have brought global recognition to the College for research success. Whether it is designing innovative space technology or pioneering ground-breaking cancer treatment methods, research at the College has contributed to many exciting breakthroughs. There are even two researchers who have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

 

Mabel Timlin (1891-1976) - Department of Economics

Mabel Timlin, one of Canada’s renowned economists, taught at the University of Saskatchewan for 24 years. Timlin’s Keynesian Economics (University of Toronto Press, 1942) was a foundational study in economics and Timlin went on to publish two highly regarded studies, Does Canada Need More People? (1951) and The Social Sciences in Canada (1968). The first woman social scientist elected to the Royal Society of Canada, she was awarded a fellowship by the Canada Council and in 1976 was named to the Order of Canada.

Source: "1921: Mabel Timlin." Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1921a: Mabel Timlin. Photograph Collection, A-3256.

University of Saskatchewan

Thorbergur Thorvaldson (1883-1965) 
Department of Chemistry

Thorbergur Thorvaldson altered the manufacturing of commercial cement and increased the durability of concrete structures for his research found alkaline ground water contained sulphates that were a direct cause of the deterioration of concrete structures. In 1952, U of S President W.P. Thompson stated, “Many of the problems solved by his wide knowledge and experimental ability have been directly related to economic improvement, and the value of his researches could be computed in amounts considerably greater than have been spent on the construction and maintenance of the University during its entire history. He has built up a Department of Chemistry that has carried the fame of the University wherever his students have gone.”

Source: "1924: Thorbergur Thorvaldson." Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1924b: Thorvaldson in cement testing lab, 1958. Photograph Collection, A-1640.

University of Saskatchewan

Arthur Collingwood (1880-1952) - Department of Music

Arthur Collingwood was appointed Music Chair when the Carnegie Corporation awarded the University of Saskatchewan a grant in 1931 to establish a School of Music, the first university west of Toronto to hold a Music Chair. Not only did Collingwood teach classes through the College of Arts and Science but he was responsible for involving the university in the city’s cultural life. He did so by reorganizing the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and giving a series of public lectures.

Source: "1931: School of Music Established." Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1931b: Saskatoon Symphony, 1933. Photograph Collection, A-2941.

University of Saskatchewan

Balfour Currie (1902-1981) - Department of Physics

During the Second International Polar Year, 1932-1933, Balfour Currie, a professor of physics at the University of Saskatchewan, was stationed at Chesterfield Inlet in the Canadian Arctic while on leave from the university. Taking several thousand pictures of aurora, measuring electric fields and other meteorological variables while in the arctic, Currie returned home with few solid findings. However, the interpretation of these images in the years following inspired a generation of space and upper atmospheric scientists. “Currie’s contribution enabled Canada to participate actively in space science…That is the real legacy of Chesterfield Inlet and Balfour Currie.”

Source: "1933: Balfour Currie and the 2nd International Polar Year." Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1933a: Excerpt from Currie diary. W.O. Kupsch fonds, MG 146.

University of Saskatchewan

Richard Albert Wilson (1874-1949) 
Department of English

In 1937 University of Saskatchewan Professor of English Dr. Richard Albert Wilson published The Birth of Language. It inspired Irish comic dramatist and literary critic George Bernard Shaw to create a second edition for which he wrote a preface. Shaw argued that Wilson’s literary work was “proof that the University of Saskatchewan was ‘apparently half a century ahead of Cambridge in science and of Oxford in common sense.’”

Source: "1937: The Miraculous Birth of Language.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1937b: dust cover, 1942 edition.

University of Saskatchewan

Harold Johns (1915-1998) and Cobalt-60 
Department of Physics

Harold Johns, a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Physics, designed the world’s first calibrated Cobalt-60 therapy unit in October 1951 which the unit changed cancer treatment worldwide. As a result of the machine, a complete set of isodose table became available to physicians and Johns’ x-ray dosage table is still used by doctors today.  Furthering earlier research achievements in of the Department of Physics, the unit was instrumental in elevating Canada to a leader in the field of therapeutic radiology.

Source: "1951: Cobalt-60.” Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1951b: explanation of the cobalt-60 unit. Photograph Collection, A-3622.

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University of Saskatchewan

Alastair Graham Walter Cameron (1925-2005)
Department of Physics

Alastair Graham Walter Cameron, a trailblazer in photonuclear reaction studies using the betatron, was awarded the University of Saskatchewan’s first PhD at Spring Convocation in 1952. In 2005 the American Physical Society honored Cameron “for his pioneering work in developing the fundamental concepts of nuclear astrophysics. These basic ideas, laid out almost 50 years ago, are still the basis of current research in this field."

Source: "1952: University of Saskatchewan Awarded its First Ph.D.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1952a: Green and White, Spring 1952.

University of Saskatchewan

Hilda Neatby (1904-1975) - Department of History

Professor of History Hilda Neatby published her influential work So Little for the Mind in 1953 and sparked a national discussion about Canadian education. The book, an analysis of the provincial educational system, was widely debated and challenged the existing structures of Canadian education. Neatby was a member of the Massey Commission (1949-1951) which reviewed the state of learning and culture in Canada and led to the creation of the Canada Council.

Source: "1953: Hilda Neatby’s So Little for the Mind Published.” Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Source: 1953a: Hilda Neatby. Photograph Collection, A-3321.

University of Saskatchewan

Constantine Henry Andrusyshen (1907-1983)
Department of Slavic Studies

In 1955 Constantine Henry Andrusyshen (1907-1983), head of the Department of Slavic Studies, published his extensive Ukrainian-English Dictionary. It contained a summary of Ukrainian grammar, approximately 100,000 word entries and 35,000 idiomatic expressions. Republished in 1957 and 1981, it is still recognized today as an outstanding work among Ukrainian lexicographers. Andrusyshen’s legacy at the U of S continues today for his contributions as a linguist, translator, teacher and lexicographer.

Source: "1955: Andrusyshen Publishes Ukrainian-English Dictionary.” Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Sources:        1955a: V.O. Buyniak fonds, MG 134, VI. A., 1956-1991.

University of Saskatchewan

Greystone Theatre - Department of Drama

In 1959 the Greystone Theatre presented the world premiere of Royalty is Royalty, W.O. Mitchell’s first stage play loosely based on his popular CBC radio series Jake and the Kid.This project was part of an initiative by the Department of Drama, Canada’s and the Commonwealth’s oldest degree-granting program, to produce a new Canadian play annually. Unique to this project was the attendance and participation of the author in all rehearsals and performances of the play to re-write the piece as the author saw and heard the production. This process not only benefited the students who were given the chance to perform Canadian plays, but also the authors who were given a chance to perfect their work.

Source: "1959: Greystone Theatre Presents World Premiere of W.O. Mitchell Play.” Deo et Patriae: Events in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Source: 1959b: Scene from the production. Department of Drama fonds, RG 2036, file C51; Western Producer photo.

University of Saskatchewan

Linear Accelerator - Department of Physics

In the progression of technological advance for the Department of Physics, following the betatron and the Cobalt-60 therapy unit, the University of Saskatchewan opened the Linear Accelerator in 1964 which created six times more energy than the betatron, a particle accelerator that the department previously used. Physicists from around the world have used the facility which has brought international recognition to the University of Saskatchewan’s research.

Source: "1964: Linear Accelerator Opens.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Source: 1964a: Linear Accelerator–Laboratory, Nov 1964, Photograph Collection, A-8643.

University of Saskatchewan

Amati Instruments - Department of Music  

In 1959 the University of Saskatchewan acquired a set of rare 17th Century Amati string instruments (two violins, a viola and a cello) from collector and farmer Steve Kolbinson with the understanding that the instruments be used for the benefit of the people of Saskatchewan. Built by the Amati family between 1607 and 1690, the instruments are the only ones in Canada and are one of the few remaining sets in the world.

Source: "1969: Amati Quartet Makes its Debut.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Source: 1969b: Murray Adaskin and Steve Kolbinson. Photograph Collection, A-2669.

University of Saskatchewan

Space Engineering Division 
Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies

In 1965 the University of Saskatchewan’s Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies announced the formation of the Space Engineering Division (SED) to design and construct rocket instrumentation for upper atmospheric testing. In 1972 SED delivered the ground control system for the first Canadian Communications Technology Satellite and in 1998 SED won the largest contract ever awarded by the European Space Agency to a Canadian company for a 35-meter deep-space antenna system. SED is now a leader in satellite technology systems.

Source: "1976: SED at the Saskatoon Airport.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Ralko, Joe. “Space Engineering Division (SED).” Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.(http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/space_engineering_division_sed.html; accessed 18 June 2013). Canadian Plains Research Center, 2006.
See also http://www.sedsystems.ca/history 
Photo source: 1976b: SED–Payload recovery, Sep 1969, Photograph Collection, A-8647.

University of Saskatchewan

Examining the Cultural Heritage
of Canada and Ukraine

In November 1977 an exchange program was created between the University of Saskatchewan and the State University of Chernivtsi in Ukraine to further the development of shared cultural heritage of both Canada and the Ukraine; to promote common academic and outreach initiatives between the institutions and their communities; facilitate the exchange of educational literature; and to facilitate cooperation for study abroad initiatives and student exchanges. Initially a five-year agreement and administered by the College of Arts and Science, the program continues today – renewed until June 2017.

Source: "1977: Exchange Program Established with State University of Chernivtsi, Ukraine.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
See also: http://www.usask.ca/international_office/international-agreements/details.php?id=40
Photo source: 1977a: Exchange group in the Ukraine, 1981. Accession 2000-067.

University of Saskatchewan

Museum of Antiquities

In 1981 the Museum of Antiquities opened in the Main Library at the University of Saskatchewan. The Museum is the only one of its kind at a Canadian university, enriching the experience of art, history, and classics students by exhibiting reproductions onsite from the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the Museum of Antiquities in Delphi, among others, and supporting research into classical artifacts. The idea of the museum was initiated by professors Nicholas Gyenes (1911-1984), Department of Art and Art History and Michael Swan (1931-), Department of History. In 2010 the Museum teamed up with the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron (CLS) to try and determine the origin of  old coins.

Sources: Ferguson, Mark. “Old Meets New: CLS Used to Examine Museum Coins.” On Campus News. (http://news.usask.ca/archived_ocn/10-mar-26/; accessed 18 June 2013). Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan.
"1981: Museum of Antiquities Opens.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1981a: Museum of Antiquities. Photograph Collection, A-8788.

University of Saskatchewan

Eli Bornstein (1922) 
Department of Art and Art History

“Through the excellence and originality of his art Eli Bornstein has earned himself a singular place in the history of Canadian art” (Fenton, 1996). Both as an artist and as a teacher he has influenced the Canadian art scene since 1950 through his abstract constructed reliefs, through his founding and editing of the international art journal The Structurist, and through his teaching which has influenced generations of University of Saskatchewan students.

Sources: Fenton, Terry. “Art Toward Nature.” (Exhibition Catalogue). Mendal Art Gallery, 1996.
"1990: Eli Bornstein Honoured.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan.(http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo source: 1990a: Eli Bornstein receiving honorary degree.  Photograph Collection, A-7963.

University of Saskatchewan

Department of Computer Science

The University of Saskatchewan was one of the first universities in Canada to obtain a computer– a LGP-30 which was a joint purchase between the University and the National Research Council’s Prairie Research Laboratory in 1960. Since used to support research in the Department of Computer Science, the computer also bolstered teaching within the department. Three decades after being established at the U of S, the Department of Computer Science was cited more frequently per paper than any other Computer Science department across the country in a research impact study.

Source: "1996: Computer Science First in Research.” Deo et PatriaeEvents in the History of the University of Saskatchewan. (http://scaa.usask.ca/gallery/uofs_events; accessed 17 June 2013). University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, 2002.
Photo Source: 1996a: ‘Computation centre,’ 1966. Photograph Collection, A-1873.

University of Saskatchewan

 

Towards a Nobel Prize

Gerhard Herzberg (1904-1999)

Herzberg received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971 for “his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals. A distinguished molecular spectroscopist who progressed the study of quantum mechanics.” While working at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology he collaborated with numerous scientists including John W.T. Spinks who was visiting from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1934, Herzberg approached Spinks about possible employment in Canada, realizing that they would have to flee Germany due to the Nazi persecution of Jews. In September 1935 the Herzbergs immigrated to Saskatoon and Herzberg established the spectroscopy laboratory at the U of S during his ten years at the university. Subsequently he worked at the Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago and the National Research Council of Canada.

In his acceptance speech for the prize, he stated "It is obvious that the work that has earned me the Nobel Prize was not done without a great deal of help. First of all, while at the University of Saskatchewan I had the full and understanding support of successive Presidents and of the Faculty of the University who, under very stringent conditions, did their utmost to make it possible for me to proceed with my scientific work."

Sources: “Dr. Gerhard Herzberg, 1904-1999,” University of Saskatchewan, accessed 20 June 2013,http://artsandscience.usask.ca/chemistry/department/history.php
"Gerhard Herzberg - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013, accessed 20 June 2013, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1971/herzberg-bio.html. 
Photo Source: Gerhard Herzberg speaking at a University of Saskatchewan dinner given in his honour, following the awarding of the Nobel Prize.  J.W.T. Spinks fonds

University of Saskatchewan

Henry Taube (1915-2005)

University of Saskatchewan Alumnus Dr. Henry Taube received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1983. Receiving both his BSc (1935) and MSc (1937) from the U of S, Taube earned his PhD from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1940. He went on to research and work at Cornell University, the University of Chicago and Stanford University. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in "for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions, especially in metal complexes." His work is credited with making 18 major discoveries in the field and his work was responsible for furthering the subject both theoretically and experimentally.

Sources: Quotation from "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1983". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 15 Aug 2013. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1983/

"Henry Taube - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 16 Aug 2013.http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1983/taube-bio.html 
Smith, Allan E. “Taube, Henry.” Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.(http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/taube_henry_1915-.html; accessed 19 June 2013). Canadian Plains Research Center, 2006.
Photo Source: Henry Taube. University of Saskatchewan Archives A-8702

University of Saskatchewan