Dr. Larkin Kerwin, a distinguished physicist, educator and administrator was born on June 22, 1924 in Quebec City. After obtaining his M.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946, he earned his Doctor of Science degree from the Université Laval in 1949.
During a long and fruitful teaching career at the Université Laval, Dr. Kerwin won promotion after promotion to become Rector of the University from 1972-77, the first lay person to do so.
In June 1980, Dr. Kerwin was appointed President of the National Research Council of Canada for a five-year term. This term was renewed in 1985. During these years he contributed greatly to the national awareness of the importance of research and development to the well-being of the nation.
In July 1982, Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau appointed him to be Canada's representative on a working group set up as a result of the June 1982 Economic Summit to study how research and development can be used to create jobs and help the world economy to recover.
Appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency in March 1989 Dr. Kerwin held this position during the crucial first years of the Agency's implementation. He held this position until his retirement from the Agency in February 1992.
Dr. Kerwin has devoted his life to science. His research work in atomic and molecular physics has contributed strongly to the advancement of science in Canada and for which he has received many prestigious awards. A past president of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, he has been active throughout his career in numerous scientific organizations.
Dr. Kerwin has been recognized by governments and by universities for his contributions. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of l'Ordre national du Québec, an Officer of the Légion d'honneur de France and a member of the Académie des Grands Quebécois. In addition, Dr. Kerwin has been awarded 15 honorary degrees from Canadian universities.
Dr. Kerwin is the author of three monographs and fifty articles in scientific journals.
Dr. Kerwin passed away on Saturday, May 1, 2004. He was an eminent scientist and was recognized by many universities and scientific organizations both in Canada and abroad.