What do Canadian contributors to the International Space Station, NASA Space Shuttle Program, and Westport innovators have in common? They’ve all been named as the Top 10 science and technology stories of 2011 by the Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation.
A team of curators at the corporation (Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, the Canadian Agricultural Museum, and the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum) have chosen what they feel are the most noteworthy science and technology-related news items of 2011.
The stories all highlight breakthrough and innovative technologies that were developed in Canada. The common thread between each story is their significant Canadian contribution and their impact on the future within their respective areas.
“We thought this was an opportunity to highlight Canada’s incredible discoveries in the field because we have a growing awareness of our country’s contribution to scientific achievement,” explains Merilyn Read, Communications and Marketing Officer with the Canadian Science and Technology Museum.
The corporation is posting a story per day to its website over the course of 10 days. On February 2, the website highlights Dr. Philip Hill - principal inventor of Westport founding technology using clean-burning natural gas in diesel engines – who in 2011 was presented with the Encana Principal Award granted by the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation.
The initial research conducted by Dr. Hill and his team at University of British Columbia was the genesis of Westport leadership in developing and commercializing low-emissions, environmentally friendly engine systems.
High pressure direct injection (HPDI) allows diesel engines — the world’s workhorses of transportation— to operate with the same power and efficiency that they are known for, but with reduced emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, and 21-27 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.
“These museums are bringing awareness to the public about how science and technology are helping to transform Canada, and the way its citizens live, work, make decisions and behave,” says Dr. Hill. “It’s gratifying to hear that this Top 10 list highlights and acknowledges the enterprise of the people at Westport, and how their efforts influence growth and change.”
As part of the museum’s mandate, the curatorial staff is trying to engage the public and foster scientific curiosity and literacy. The museum’s team of curators collectively decided which science and technology stories they felt were most noteworthy from the past year.