Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Winners



2008 NSERC Awards for Science Promotion

Science North

For many Ontario school children, their science education isn't complete without a visit to Sudbury's Science North. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Canada's second largest science centre has inspired millions of visitors through high quality science education and entertainment experiences, offered in English and French, which showcase the impact science has on people's everyday lives.

Science North and Dynamic Earth, a companion centre devoted to geology and mining that opened in 2003, have grown to become Northern Ontario's top tourist destinations. Exhibits, interpretive experiences, demonstrations, an IMAX® theatre, butterfly gallery and hands-on educational activities ensure learning opportunities for curious minds of all ages, and have earned Science North an NSERC Award for Science Promotion.

The centre also hosts summer science camps in more than 20 communities. These outreach programs introduce Science North's unique brand of interactive science education experiences to youth across Northern Ontario. Some of the activities they've been exposed to include investigating the inner workings of the human body, experimenting with chemicals, discovering how to protect the environment, creating their own video games, programming robots, panning for gold and learning more about geology. The camps serve up themes that appeal to children and youth ages 4-15.

Other Science North initiatives include the teen-oriented Science Quest Club — a science club that offers informal science learning to some 700 youth across Northern Ontario, outreach activities that take the show on the road to fairs and festivals, and the After School Science Kids program which provides a stimulating educational setting. The annual Explore Science Speaker Series gives the public a chance to learn from and meet world-renowned scientists. Past guests include primatologist, humanitarian and environmentalist Jane Goodall, and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Volunteers also play a key role in Science North's success, contributing up to 15,000 hours per year.

Yannick Bergeron

It's a rare teacher whose passion for science is so contagious that an entire class full of students eagerly sacrifices a night's sleep to learn more about the finer points of various science subjects, but for Yannick Bergeron it's all in a day's work.

The event is the "Nuit blanche" (sleepless night) science camp that he organizes a dozen times a year at Collège St-Jean-Vianney, the private high school in Montréal where he has taught since 2000. From Friday evening to Saturday morning, students listen to lectures, watch demonstrations and conduct experiments. The topics may include learning about the chemistry of chocolate, creating a toothpaste for elephants, launching a rocket, or one of dozens of other captivating ideas that spring from Bergeron's fertile imagination.

His teaching skills helped earn Bergeron an NSERC Award for Science Promotion, but his classroom work tells only part of the story. Sporting a trademark rainbow-coloured lab coat, he puts the same boundless energy into promoting science to the wider community. His own participation as a student in the Quebec Science Fair and the Canada Wide Science Fair in 1994 helped convince him to share his enthusiasm about science with everyone he meets.

A facilitator and trainer for the Club des Débrouillards (a province-wide network of science clubs); a designer of experiments; an author of educational materials; a judge at science fairs; a dynamic presenter these are just some of the ways this versatile science communicator puts his skills to work to encourage others to take an interest in science.