Cape Breton University is honoured to celebrate the accomplishments and career of Joseph Schwarcz, a professor, chemistry icon and talented presenter, who has made a significant impact educating people of all ages about science and the important role it plays in all of our lives.
Joseph Schwarcz was born in Sopron, Hungary. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry from McGill University.
Currently, Dr. Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. He teaches a variety of courses in McGill’s Chemistry Department and in the Faculty of Medicine, with emphasis on health issues, including aspects of alternative medicine. Dr. Schwarcz has also worked in the Departments of Chemistry at both Dawson College and Vanier College and served both as Chair.
In addition to teaching chemistry, Dr. Schwarcz is often consulted by the media to provide expert opinion on scientific matters. Notably, he has appeared hundreds of times on the Canadian Discovery Channel and on national and provincial television and radio programs. Dr. Schwarcz is, in fact, the host of his own television show, titled, “The Dr. Joe Show.” He writes a weekly column in the Montreal Gazette entitled, “The Right Chemistry,” and a monthly column in Canadian Chemical News. Dr. Schwarcz is also the author of 12 books, which have been translated into nine languages and sold around the world.
Dr. Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. Among his awards are the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award and the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady Stack Award. He is the only non-American to be honoured with this prize. Most recently, he has been awarded the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sanford Fleming Medal, the Society of Chemical Industry’s Purvis Award and the Chemical Institute of Canada’s Montreal Medal.
Aside from teaching, Dr. Schwarcz is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the “chemistry of love” to the “science of aging”. Remarkably, he also finds time to serve the community as a member of the American Chemical Society, the Institute of Food Technologies, and the JGH Cancer Prevention Centre. He serves as Co-Chair of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nutrition Forum and Chair of the Editorial Board of Canadian Chemical News.
In this the International Year of Chemistry, as declared by the United Nations, it seems only fitting to recognize the many contributions Dr. Schwarcz has made to the field. He is respected by his peers, the media and those whom he delights with his understandable explanations of often complex subjects.
Dr. Schwarcz resides with his wife, Alice, in Montreal, QC; they have three children.
Cape Breton University conferred the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a man who has a gift for teaching others, a love of chemistry and science that is contagious to those around him and a career that has been recognized as stellar, Joseph A. Schwarcz.