Mary Anne White

Mary Anne White is Harry Shirreff Professor of Chemical Research (Emerita) at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Mary Anne holds a BSc (Honours Chemistry) from the University of Western Ontario and PhD (Chemistry) from McMaster University. Following her PhD, she was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford, and then an NSERC University Research Fellow / Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. She joined Dalhousie University as a faculty member in 1983. She was the founding director of Dalhousie’s Institute for Research in Materials (2002-2008), and from 2010-2016 she was director of DREAMS, Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability, an NSERC CREATE program. She retired from teaching and administrative duties in 2016, but remains an active researcher.

Mary Anne is a specialist in the research area of energetics and thermal properties of materials. She is an author of more than 200 research papers and also a textbook, “Physical Properties of Materials.” Her notable research contributions include: advancement of thermoelectric materials through lowering of thermal conductivity; contributions to understanding of materials that change colour with temperature for use in thermally erasable inks and toners; development of novel materials for thermal energy storage. She is especially proud of the 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and more than 70 undergraduate research students trained in her lab. Mary Anne has given about 200 talks at conferences and universities, government labs and industries across Canada, in the USA, in Europe, in Japan and in Brazil. She has been principal applicant on more than $18 million in research grants.

Mary Anne has served NSERC on many committees, including as a Member of NSERC Council, the Canadian Society for Chemistry (Board Member), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (Member of the Founding Board) and several other scientific organizations. She also has served on the Premier’s Innovation Council of Nova Scotia. Mary Anne has been Editor for Materials Science for the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, and an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.

Mary Anne has been active throughout her career in bringing science to the general public. This includes: helping establish the Discovery Centre in Halifax; many presentations for schools, the general public and others (including a lecture for Members of Canada’s Parliament and Senate in the Bacon & Egghead series); booklets on science activities for children (published by the Canadian Society for Chemistry); national organizer of National Chemistry Week; more than 150 articles for educators or the general public; many appearances on radio and television. For her contributions to public awareness of science, Mary Anne was awarded the 2007 McNeil Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.

Mary Anne’s other honours include honorary doctorates from McMaster University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa. She is also the recipient of the Noranda Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (for contributions to physical chemistry), the Sunner Award of the Calorimetry Conference, and the Union Carbide Award for Chemical Education from the Chemical Institute of Canada. In 2012, she received an American Chemical Society Award for Incorporation of Sustainability into Chemical Education. In 2013, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2016 she was installed as an Officer of the Order of Canada.