Fair serendipity

Mon, 2011-05-02 21:22 -- Reni Barlow

The May issue of Canadian Chemical News features a 1,200-word profile of Dr. Suzanne Fortier, president of NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The article, which I wrote, tells how Fortier went from humble beginnings to become a research crystallographer, a university vice-president and eventually one of Canada's top science administrators.

Curiosity, enthusiasm and hard work all played a big part, but so did serendipity such as Fortier's lucky first break which the article recounts in these words:

"She and a fellow female CEGEP student entered a project on the diffraction of sound waves in the 1968 Quebec provincial science fair. A crystallographer from McGill University (likely Professor A. J. Freuh, she thinks) stopped at their exhibit and invited the two girls to visit his lab if they wanted to learn more about diffraction. Fortier went, and was hooked."

So who knows where participants at the upcoming CWSF might wind up a decade or two from now.