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The Hon. Sylvia O. Fedorak (1927-2012)

Photo of the Hon. Sylvia Fedoruk courtesy of Curling Canada.

Sylvia Olga Fedoruk was born to Ukrainian immigrants in Canora, Saskatchewan in 1927. Sylvia was a woman who excelled in both academics and athletics, becoming a hall of fame curler, as well as a ground-breaking medical physicist.

Sylvia earned her BA and MA in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan, where she would also begin her career in 1951. Not only was Sylvia the only woman on her research team, but she was also the only women in Canada working in the field of medical physics in the early 1950s. Sylvia’s work was incredibly important with regards to cancer treatment and diagnosis, and she was on the research team that first developed the cobalt-60 therapy unit, which was used to treat cancer. Sylvia also played a vital role in the creation of the Dosimeter, a device that allows targeted radiation amounts to be delivered to cancer patients. The cobalt-60 therapy unit, as well as the Dosimeter, were just two major achievements in Sylvia’s long career, for which she received national and international recognition.

Throughout her life, Sylvia would become the first women member of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canadian, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Saskatchewan Order of Merit recipient, as well as the recipient of a Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. Sylvia was also a Professor, before becoming the first woman Chancellor University of Saskatchewan in 1986. 

In 1988, Sylvia was named the first woman Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, and she served until 1994.

One of Sylvia’s lifelong passions was curling, and in 1986, she was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame. Sylvia even served for one year as the president of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association, from 1971-1972.

In 2009, Sylvia was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for her “ground-breaking achievements have earned her worldwide recognition, bringing honour to Saskatchewan, her home province, and to Canada (“Canadian Medical Hall of Fame,” n.d.).”

Sylvia died on September 26, 2012. In October of the same year, the Canadian Center for Nuclear Innovation was renamed the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Center for Nuclear Innovation in honour of Sylvia’s work with the cobalt-60 therapy unit.

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Sylvia at the Joyce Mckee Curling Tournament in 1960 (second from left). Courtesy of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Bibliography

Athlete, scientist Sylvia Fedoruk dies at 85. (2012, September 27). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/athlete-scientist-sylvia-fedoruk-dies-at-85-1.1150364

Fedoruk, Hon. Sylvia. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from http://www.curling.ca/hof/people/fedoruk-hon-sylvia-syl/

Sylvia Olga Fedoruk. (2012, September 27). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sylvia-olga-fedoruk/

The Honourable Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from http://www.cdnmedhall.org/inductees/honourable-dr-sylvia-fedoruk

The Hon. Sylvia Olga Fedoruk. (n.d.). Retrieved March, 26, 2018, from https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/030001-1311-e.html

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