Dr. C.E. Challice, electron microscope
mosquito tongue

Seeking answers to the big questions

Finding answers to questions about our origins, using those answers to further understand this big, beautiful planet, it's past, present and future; that's the business we are in. Tracking the data, sharing that knowledge, and helping others to also explore our place in the universe is what makes any academic pursuit worthwhile.

Darla Zelenitsky, dinosaur eggs

Exploring our origins

Feathered dinosaurs, meorite discoveries, cosmic rays, the atmosphere and other phenomena. Partnering with other institutes, universities and governments help make the journey of discovery possible.

1957
SPUTNIK I LAUNCHED
The Space Race begins and an emphasis on science education.
1962
RESEARCH ROCKET LAUNCHED
Dr. Baxter, Dr. Will, Dennis Green, Charles Hansen and William Jones of the Physics Department, complete a successful probe in the third series of X-ray research rocket fringes from Resolute Bay, NWT. Their Black Bryant III rocket is sent 100 miles (160 km) into the upper atmosphere.
1968
UNPRECEDENTED ARCHAELOGICAL FIND
Bison butchering site with 7,000-year-old bones and tools is dug up by construction workers. Archaeology Department faculty and students describe it as the first good archaeological find in Calgary.
1969
APOLLO 11 MOON LANDING
Dr. Gordon W. Hodgson, Exobiologist (study of extraterrestrial life) awaits samples of the moon gathered on Apollo 15 mission. Hodgson becomes a principal investigator of Apollo moon samples.
1972
ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY OPENS
Originally called the University of Calgary Astrophysical Observatory, the facility is later renamed the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory after Alexander Rothney (Sandy) Cross, who donated the land for the observatory. His father was A.E. Cross, one of the Big Four ranchers who backed the 1912 Calgary Stampede
1978
SPACE SCIENCE RESEARCH GROUP ESTABLISHED
Later named the Institute for Space Imaging Science in the '90s.
1981
COSMIC RAY STATION CLOSES AS RESEARCH BECOMES OBSOLETE
The National Research Council established a Cosmic Ray Laboratory on Sulphur Mountain—one of three in Canada. The research into cosmic rays has matured and become obsolete and the Sulphur Mountain lab was closed, however the data gathered over the 32 years in operation is invaluable to this day.
1987
PINPOINT PRECISION
Cairn erected by Surveying Engineering to commemorate the 1987 Canadian Engineering Centennial. It is the most precisely measured place in Canada at LSD 14 30-24-1 W5, 115.4 m above sea level, 6,366,344 metres from the centre of the earth, 384,400 kilometres from the moon and 149,600,000 kilometres from the sun.
1971
Auroral images captured
UCalgary helps capture the first global auroral images from space.
1989
HUB OF EXPLORATION
Institute for Space Research established. UCalgary named headquarters of Canadian Network for Space Research.
1992
RESEARCH ABOARD SPACE SHUTTLE columbia MISSION
NASA space shuttle Columbia blasts off carrying a UCalgary science experiment to determine how much energy astronauts use when they are in space. Mechanical engineering grad, Laura Lucier, and 2004 Distinguished Alumni award recipient, worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre as flight controller during the Discovery mission.
1996
CHANCELLOR ROBERT THIRSK IN SPACE
His first trip into space was aboard Columbia on which Thirsk and six crewmates performed 43 experiments related to life and materials sciences.
1999
MARTIAN PROBE SENT INTO SPACE
The design of an atmospheric probe, called a Thermo-Plasma Analyzer (TPA), led by physics and astronomy professors Greg Garbe and Andrew Yau, was successfully launched on the Japanese spacecraft Planet-B. The probe remained in orbit for three years to survey Mars.
2001
PREHISTORIC PEDESTRIANS
Archaeologist Brian Kooyman, geologist and paleontologist Len Hills and their research team discover 13,000-year-old tracks of wooly mammoths, camels, horses, bison and caribou in St. Mary’s Reservoir in southern Alberta.
2009
Going to great heights to honour astronaut
Canadian Space Agency astronaut and UCalgary alumnus Robert Thirsk has become the first Canadian to receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws via live downlink from the International Space Station.
GPS technology helps Canadian Alpine Ski Team
A little GPS system called STEALTH, developed at the Schulich School of Engineering, has helped the country’s best ski racers perfect their technique and route down a course.
2010
Now showing: Canada's northern lights
AuroraMAX online observatory begins streaming Canada’s northern lights live over the Internet every night. AuroraMAX is a collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency, UCalgary, City of Yellowknife and Astronomy North.
2012
FIRST FEATHERED DINOSAURS DISCOVERED IN BADLANDS
A new study, led by paleontologists Darla Zelenitsky from UCalgary and François Therrien from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, describes the first ornithomimid specimens preserved with feathers, recovered from 75 million-year-old rocks in the badlands of Alberta, Canada.
2013
Col. Chris Hadfield visits campus
UCalgary hosts astronaut Hadfield for his first public presentation since leaving the International Space Station. Hadfield shared his breath-taking photos and remarkable accounts of his time in space.
2014
Funding received to study space storms
Christopher Cully, Faculty of Science, will lead a team from UCalgary, University of Washington and Dartmouth College to develop a novel in-flight experiment that will clarify the dynamics of the harsh radiation environment satellites travel through and why the high-energy particles that make up that radiation rain collide with the upper atmosphere.
2015
Space flight bone loss study
Radiologist Dr. Steven Boyd, will lead one of four experiments conducted by Canadian universities. His project, dubbed “TBone" to reflect the ‘three-dimensional bone’ techniques used, will investigate the effects of weightlessness on the human body.

Timeline: A Record of Change

Events in time inspire us all to reach for ever more distant heights, to redefine what’s possible and to keep pushing forward.

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