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Roberta Lynn Bondar

Dr. Roberta Lynn Bondar was born on December 4th 1945 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She attended elementary and secondary school locally before continuing on to complete a Bachelor of Science in zoology and agriculture at the University of Guelph in 1986. She then completed a Master of Science in experimental pathology at the University of Western Ontario in 1971. She subsequently attended the University of Toronto and McMaster University to obtain her two doctorates, a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Toronto in 1974 and a Doctor of Medicine from McMasters in 1977. She was then admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in neurology in 1981.

A fascinating individual, Dr. Bondar has certifications in scuba diving and parachuting as well as a private pilot’s licence. Most well known for being the first Canadian woman in space, Dr. Bondar is also a celebrated landscape photographer, an author, a physician, a scientific researcher, an environmental interpreter and a team leader.

She became the chairperson of the Canadian Life Sciences Subcommittee for Space Station in 1985. She also acted as a member of the Ontario Premier’s Council on Science and Technology in the role of aviation medical examiner and as a part of the scientific staff of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Dr. Bondar is an accomplished neurologist and clinical science researcher, specialising in the nervous system. Her area of research, especially the nervous system and the inner ear balancing system and its relation to the functioning of the eye, had an immediate link to the experiments that had been planned for the first Canadian space flight. She also conducted experiments on blood flow in the brain during microgravity, lower body negative pressure and various pathological states, all with the goal to make it possible for future astronauts to take longer flights into space. During her 8-day sojourn, she could often be found in the Spacelab or the middeck conducting experiments.

Bondar was Canada’s second astronaut in space and the first Canadian woman to travel among the stars. She flew aboard the American space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-42 and spent 8 days, 1 hour and 46 minutes in space, from the 22nd to the 30th of January 1992. She left the Canadian Space Agency in order to pursue her research on the 4th of September 1992.

Having returned from space, Dr. Bondar continued her scientific pursuits and became well known in many circles. Many of her stunning photographs can be found in galleries and collections. She also uses her influence and experience to motivate, educate and inspire others to pursue careers in science and to explore and protect the world we live in.



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