Canadian Mining Journal


AWARD: Geologist who discovered oldest water on Earth, wins top science prize

Barbara Sherwood Lollar and a sample of the oldest water on Earth. (Image: Martin Lipman, NSERC)

OTTAWA – The country’s highest awards for science were awarded by the Rt. Hon. Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, and Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, interim president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) at Rideau Hall on May 6, 2019. Twenty-eight of Canada’s top scientists and seven industry partners were honoured.

The top prize – the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering (worth $1 million) – went to a geologist, Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar. She is an earth sciences professor at the University of Toronto.

Her insight about the nature of water and life on our planet have opened the door to further discovery about the origins and evolution of Earth. Her discoveries and expertise are helping shape space exploration and the search for life on other planets.

Sherwood Lollar’s insights about the nature of water and life on Earth led her and her team to finding the oldest water on Earth, estimated to be 2 billion years old. That discovery in 2016 won her the NSERC’s John C. Polanyi Award.

Click here to learn more about other NSERC award winners.

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7 Comments » for AWARD: Geologist who discovered oldest water on Earth, wins top science prize
  1. brad wright says:

    That right there is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. Must have looked a long time for that.

  2. Phat Phuoc says:

    Oldest water on earth – oh you mean they just discovered Tim Horton’s coffee for the first time.

  3. Paul Johnston says:

    How the heck would one tell how old water is? The only way known to science to determine the age of something is to Carbon date it, and water contains no Carbon, just a Hydrogen atom joined with two Oxygen atoms, and atoms span back to the beginnings of everything. I wish that this article explained how exactly she came to this discovery.

    • kenneth C Armstrong says:

      Carbon14 is only one of dozens of isotopes used to determine age. U235 and U238 for example.

  4. Dr. Andreas Rompel says:

    I think some more information is necessary. The article is poorly written and lacks the substance and explanation that a scientist needs to appreciate the accomplishment of Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar.

  5. Gordon E. Swift says:

    We had a well drilled to around 500 feet. When water was discovered , the well drillers called it dinosaur water. How much of a prize are we entitled for this discovery ????

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