Happy Canada Day!

We thought we’d commemorate this special day by highlighting some of the contributions that Canada has made to science.  While there are far too many to mention in one blog post, we’ve made a list of our top five.  Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. The Canadarm. Easily one of the country’s most famous technological achievements, the Canadarm made its world debut on November 13, 1981.  It represents a design marvel that helped place Canada on the world map for robotics development.  Its near-flawless performance record and innovative design set a new precedent for space engineering, both in Canada and around the world.  The Canadarm is set to retire this July, after its 90th space shuttle mission, but it will remain a part of Canada’s history indefinitely.
  2. Insulin. We can thank two Canadians, Drs. Charles Hebert Best and Frederick Grant Banting, for the discovery of insulin in 1922.  Insulin is a vital hormone that helps to regulate carbohydrate and fat metabolism.  Drs. Best and Banting were the first to make this connection, thereby bettering the lives of countless people around the world suffering from diabetes.

  3. The First Practical Telephone. Alexander Graham Bell made the first long distance phone call in 1876 with his “electrical speech machine” (now known as a telephone) and changed the world forever.

  4. Time Zones. In 1879, Sir Sandford Fleming proposed dividing the world into 24 time zones.  Before his introduction of Standard Time, cities around the world set their clocks differently, based on the position of the sun in the sky.  The world adopted Fleming’s time zones in 1885, after the establishment of the Greenwich Mean Time.

  5. The First Incandescent Light bulb. Henry Woodward, then a medical student in Toronto, patented the first incandescent lamp with a light bulb in 1874.  Credited as the “true” inventor of the incandescent light bulb, Woodward sold his patent to Thomas Edison in 1885.