|Portrait of A.G.W. Cameron, 1977 (Photograph Collection, A-8547)|
Convocation date: May 19, 1977
Discipline / contribution: scientific accomplishment
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Council and Senate, I present to you Alastair Graham Walter Cameron, Ph.D., FRSC, FAPS, FRAS.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Twenty-five years ago the University of Saskatchewan conferred its first Doctor of Philosophy degree. The recipient was Alastair Cameron. It was appropriate that the degree should go to a young bright Nuclear Physicist for that was the Nuclear Age and a time when the Physics Department was growing in international eminence. Alastair's supervisor was Dr. Leon Katz, a noted nuclear physicist and now director of the Saskatchewan Science Policy Secretariat. Their pioneering studies on photonuclear reactions were made using the department's 25 million electron volt betatron, the first
accelerator of its kind in Canada.
Dr. Cameron was born and educated in Winnipeg. He received his BSc. honours degree in Physics and Mathematics in 1947 from the University of Manitoba. He then joined the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited at Chalk River. After completion of his Ph.D. at Saskatchewan in 1952 he returned to Chalk River where he began to ponder the immense problems of cosmology, the origin of the elements and of the evolution of stars and the solar system. These topics provided a suitable expanse for his fertile and imaginative mind. They continue to be his prime interest although he has rather formidable and demanding duties competing for his attention. He is Chairman of the Astronomy Department at Harvard University, Associate Director for Planetary Sciences at the Center for Astrophysics, and Chairman of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences. The latter is the principal external body through which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration receives advice on Space Science.
His research has resulted in the publication of over 250 papers. He has edited or co-edited over eleven books dealing with such subjects as Infrared Astronomy, Origin and Evolution of Atmospheres and Oceans, Interstellar Communication and Stellar Evolution. He has also been editor or associate editor of a number of scientific periodicals dealing with Space and Astronomy.
Dr. Cameron and I were classmates during 1950-52 and I recall that he was an avid reader of science fiction. Indeed every pulp magazine and hard covered book on science fiction of that day sat beside his physics text books. I don't know whether he derived relaxation or inspiration from them; probably both.
Many honors have come his way since those days. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and was its president from 1972-74.
Dr. Cameron is truly an internationally respected Physicist and as a graduate from the University of Saskatchewan we take particular note and pride in his many scientific accomplishments.
Eminent Chancellor I present to you Alastair Cameron and ask that you confer on him the degree of science honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Raymond Montalbetti
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