Chemist Linda Nazar appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada

Thursday, July 2, 2015

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Canada Day. The new appointees include 2 Companions, 11 Officers and 87 Members.

It is only fitting to honour great Canadians on CanadDay by appointing them to the Order of Canada,” said Johnston.

Linda NazarLinda Nazar, a Chemistry professor in the Faculty of Science, was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her advancements in battery systems for clean energy storage. Nazar holds the Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials.

Nazar ranks within the top one per cent of scientists worldwide for the number of academic citations received within their subject field. Nazar was recently named a Thomson Reuters’ Highly Cited Researcher, and is on their 2014 list of Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Linda is an international leader in her field and truly deserving of this prestigious honour,” says Bob Lemieux, Dean of Science. “Her innovative research on improving battery performance and grid energy storage is set to revolutionize our transportation and energy infrastructures, helping us meet the growing energy demands of the future.”

Nazar's appointment makes this the third Waterloo scientist appointed to the Order of Canada, reflecting the high calibre of researchers in Waterloo's Faculty of Science. Chris Hadfield, an Adjunct Professor in Science, is also an Officer for the Order of Canada.

The research impact of Nazar’s team can be traced to previous breakthroughs in lithium-ion, sodium-ion and lithium-oxygen battery materials—and more recently—to their seminal Nature Materials paper demonstrating the feasibility of a lithium-sulphur battery using nanomaterials.

Officer of the Order of Canada MedalThis paper alone has been cited more than 700 times, has led to collaborations with Toyota and BASF SE, has resulted in patents in three countries, and has been translated to other high impact publications from her group in the field.

Lithium-sulphur batteries are widely seen as a possible key to mainstreaming the electric car. They have the potential to increase today’s current driving range from 200 miles to more than 400 miles on one charge, at much less cost than today's lithium-ion batteries.

Nazar’s team is also developing cheaper alternatives to lithium-based batteries such as sodium-ion and magnesium-ion technologies for large-scale electricity grid storage, and exploring new electrochemical science for vehicular transportation.

Recently Nazar and her team discovered the key reaction mechanism behind the highly touted sodium-oxygen battery and a breakthrough in lithium-sulphur battery technology, a new generation of the electric car battery. 

Linda is an outstanding scientist who is very deserving of this recognition as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She is also an excellent mentor to the many young scientists she attracts to her lab at Waterloo,” says Chemistry Chair Bill Power. “It is good to see the country, in granting her this distinction, is as proud of her contributions as we are.”

In addition to her faculty position in the Department of Chemistry, she is a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. She is also a member of BASF’s Research Network on Electrochemistry and Batteries and serves as a lead scientist on the US Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research.

The 2011 Faculty of Science honorary degree recipient Paul Hébert was also named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Hébert is the Director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, a centre dedicated to discovering, identifying and classifying species based on a specific sequence of DNA.

UWaterloo friend Douglas Fregin; Ophelia Lazaridis, Board of Governors Member Emeritus and Math alumna; V. Prem Watsa, Chancellor Emeritus; and Professors Carolyn Hansson and Garry Rempel, both from the Faculty of Engineering, were appointed as Members of the Order of Canada. Support from the Lazaridis family helped create the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre on campus.

People linked to the University of Waterloo improve the world in many ways — such as through their groundbreaking research, with excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation, or their philanthropic efforts," said Ian Orchard, Vice-President, Academic and Provost at Waterloo. "So it is fitting that so many members of the Waterloo family are receiving such high honours for their valuable contributions, and the University offers sincere congratulations to all of them."

The Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, was established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Over the last 45 years, more than 6,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.

These appointments were made on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.