Chemist Linda Nazar receives Officer for the Order of Canada medal

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Prof. Linda Nazar and Governor General David Johnston

Officer for the Order of Canada Linda Nazar with His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada at the 2016 Order of Canada ceremony. Photo by: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall © OSGG, 2016. 

Last Friday, Linda Nazar, a Chemistry professor in the Faculty of Science, received her Officer for the Order of Canada medal from His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston in a ceremony at Rideau Hall.    

Nazar, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials, received the honour for her advancements in battery systems and clean energy storage. Her efforts are contributing to breakthroughs in the design of electric vehicles and other clean-energy technology.

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.

You work in various fields, have diverse backgrounds and come from right across this vast country—but all of you share that desire for a better Canada," said David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. "Today, we say thank you, and we invite you to join this special group of people that make up the Order of Canada."

Nazar is helping to create the next generation of batteries. She is one of the world’s leading experts in the design of energy storage materials. She is renowned for advancing rechargeable lithium batteries and for developing a new type of battery using lithium sulphur.

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 for 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.

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.

With this honour, you’re part of an extraordinary network of people that spans the length and breadth of this country," said Johnston. "Think about the great things you can learn and achieve together! For yourselves, your communities and for Canada."

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.

A total of 1 Companion, 7 Officers and 40 Members were inducted into the Order of Canada on Friday.

2016 Order of Canada medal recipients

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.