University of Saskatchewan

September 30, 2014   

A Century of Innovation on Campus

Searching the Living Skies

Photo: U of S Archives
Photo: U of S Archives

Saskatchewan’s endless prairie sky offers an unimpeded view of our atmosphere and the celestial bodies beyond. Perhaps that is why the U of S was home to Canada’s first institute of space and atmospheric studies and continues to lead the way in satellite research and studies related to space weather and the ozone layer.

Then and Now: Atmospheric Research

1957: The first studies on the aurora and the Earth’s atmosphere in the 1930s and 40s, including Balfour Currie’s work at Chesterfield Inlet during the Second International Polar Year (1932), lead to the establishment of the Institute for Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS) at the U of S, the first such institute in Canada.

2002: U of S researchers in the Institute for Space and Atmospheric Studies (ISAS) achieve the first three dimensional observation of the ozone hole from space, courtesy the OSIRIS instrument on the Odin satellite. ISAS researchers are also Canadian leaders of the SuperDARN and PolarDARN radar networks, part of an international collaboration that is furthering atmospheric research.

SED Systems
SED Systems

Business Developments

Saskatoon high-tech employer SED Systems began as the ISAS Space Engineering Division. SED Systems has become a world leader in the design and development of satellite systems. SED Systems, along with several other companies, currently makes its home at Innovation Place. Created in 1977 by an agreement between the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan, Innovation Place was Western Canada’s first research park.

Staphylococcus aureus V8
crystals grown by Yvonne
Leduc and Koto Hayakawa. Photomicrograph courtesy Delbaere protein crystallography lab. Staphylococcus aureus V8 crystals grown by Yvonne Leduc and Koto Hayakawa. Photomicrograph courtesy Delbaere protein crystallography lab.

U of S Firsts: Experiments in Space

1990: Protein crystallographer Louis Delbaere produces the first Canadian-led space shuttle experiments on space shuttle Discovery. Another of Delbaere’s experiments flies in 1992 on the Mir space station. In 1984, atmospheric scientist Ted Llewellyn is co-investigator on the OGLOW experiment on space shuttle Challenger, and in 1992 leads OGLOW II on Columbia.


Jean-Pierre St.-Maurice, Canada Research Chair in
Environmental Sciences, continues space weather
and ionosphere research with new additions to
the PolarDARN network. The work will expand
our knowledge of the aurora - the spectacular
electromagnetic interaction between solar wind,
Earth’s magnetic field and its atmospherephoto credit: Jan Curtis
Jean-Pierre St.-Maurice, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Sciences, continues space weather and ionosphere research with new additions to the PolarDARN network. The work will expand our knowledge of the aurora - the spectacular electromagnetic interaction between solar wind, Earth’s magnetic field and its atmosphere. Aurora borealis photo by Jan Curtis.