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Dr. Luce Gauthier fonds

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(1943 -)


Dr. Luce Gauthier was born in Montréal in 1943. Both of her parents held university degrees in botany, her father was a professor of botany at Université de Montréal. From a young age, Dr. Gauthier was immersed in a world of natural sciences, which she quickly developed a love for.

Dr. Gauthier began her academic career at the Université de Montréal, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1964, and a Bachelor of Science in Honors Physics in 1967. She obtained a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Alberta in 1973. Her PhD research was done in the framework of Quantum Mechanics under the supervision of Dr. A.N. Kamal. The thesis that resulted from Dr. Gauthier’s research was titled Test of Resonance Recognition Criteria in Potential Scattering. During her thesis research, Dr. Gauthier also worked with Dr. M. Razavy on another scattering problem, which lead to her first publication.

When Dr. Gauthier left Edmonton, she continued doing research on high energy scattering as a post-doc both at Princeton University and Université de Montréal. Between 1976 and 1979, Dr. Gauther worked as an invited professor and lecturer at Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Moncton where she taught quantum mechanics to fourth year students, as well as other courses.

After having applied without success for many academic tenure track positions, Dr. Gauthier left the field of academia and obtained a permanent position with Hydro-Québec. From 1980 to 1983 Dr. Gauthier worked with the Québec CANDU power plant in Gentilly where she was in charge of teaching, testing, and writing commissioning reports for Hydro-Québec. Then, after a re-training year at IREQ (Hydro-Québec Research Institute), she became a researcher on Tokamak confinement problems at the Canadian Center for Magnetic Fusion (CCFM), located on IREQ site in Varennes near Montreal. Throughout her career with Hydro-Québec Dr. Gauthier wrote 21 scientific papers, articles, and reports together with Hydro-Québec’s outreach communications. Dr. Gaithier worked with Hydro-Québec until her retirement in 1997.

Being one of the first French-Canadian women with a PhD in Physics, Dr. Gauthier had to overcome many barriers and stereotypes to assert herself and find success within the field. Unfortunately, this resulted in professional burnout and an early retirement. Despite this, Dr. Gauthier has continued her activism in order to open the field of physics to women. As a part of her advocacy, she published a French book regarding the situation of women in science, titled Propos d’une physicienne sur la situation de la femme de science, (Éditions Carte Blanche, 1999). Her book, along with her activism throughout her career, have both been a significant contribution to the acceptance and promotion of women in the field of physics, especially in Québec.
Throughout her career, Dr. Gauthier has participated in the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists, contributed to many academic journals, and discussed her experience as a woman in science on various television and radio programs.

Currently, Dr. Gauthier has been working on a book that combines her love for quantum mechanics with her passion for promoting physics in Québec. She is currently working on her latest book, titled Un mot sur la Mécanique quantique et son interpretation.

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