Lab Canada

New $250,000 science and engineering research prize honours physics luminary

Hamilton, ON – February 27, 2004 – The federal government has announced a $250,000 science and engineering research prize in honour of the late Bertram Brockhouse, winner of the 1994 Nobel prize in physics.

Working at Chalk River about 40 years ago, Dr Brockhouse invented the use of neutron scattering to study the internal structure of materials, and gave Canada many years of leadership in that field. Neutron scattering is now an essential technique used around the world both in science and industry.

Among the dignitaries who attended the announcement were Mrs Doris Brockhouse, Dr Brockhouse’s widow, Peter George, president and vice- chancellor of McMaster University, where professor Brockhouse taught and conducted research for 22 years, and Tom Brzustowski, president of NSERC, the prize sponsor.

“My husband was a strong believer in the importance of collaboration in research,” says Mrs Brockhouse. “When NSERC proposed the award to him last summer, he was honoured to lend his name to it and enthusiastic in approving the form it took. It keeps his ideals, contributions and memory very much alive.”

“This is a very special announcement for the Canadian science and engineering community,” says Dr Brzustowski. “It carries an important message about the changing nature of research. The prize recognizes and rewards an outstanding achievement by a team of researchers working from several disciplines. It recognizes the fact that more and more important research requires the resources of several disciplines.

The award was conceived as a 25th anniversary project of NSERC. The inaugural competition for the Brockhouse prize will be held soon. Nomination kits will be available from NSERC and full details will also be available on the Web at

NSERC, now also known as Science and Engineering Research Canada, is a federal agency that supports both basic university research through research grants, and project research through partnerships among postsecondary institutions, government and the private sector.