Larkin Kerwin

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John Larkin Kerwin
1st President of the Canadian Space Agency
In office
March 1, 1989 – 1992
Governor General Jeanne Sauvé
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Roland Doré
Personal details
Born John Larkin Kerwin
(1924-06-22)June 22, 1924
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Died May 1, 2004(2004-05-01) (aged 79)
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s) Maria G. Turcot
Children 8 children
Occupation physicist
Awards Order of Canada
National Order of Quebec

John Larkin Kerwin, CC OQ FRSC (June 22, 1924 – May 1, 2004) was a Canadian physicist.

Born in Quebec City, he studied physics at St. Francis Xavier University and obtained his master's degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His received his D.Sc. from Université Laval. He was Chairman of the Department of Physics from 1961 to 1967. He was the lay Rector of Université Laval, holding this position from 1972 to 1977.[1]

From 1954 to 1955 he was the president of the Canadian Association of Physicists. From 1980 to 1985 he was President of the National Research Council of Canada and was the first president of the Canadian Space Agency and coined the term Canadarm. In 1982 he received the Gold Medal from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. In 1987 he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada. In 1989 he was president of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

In 1976, he received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University.[2] In 1978 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1980. In 1988 he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was president from 1976 to 1977. He was made an Officer of the Légion d'honneur de France.

He died in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He was married to Maria G. Turcot and had 8 children.[3]


  • Knight of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Companion of the Order of Canada
  • Officer de l'Ordre national du Quebec
  • Officier de l'Ordre de la Légion d'honneur (France)


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Louis-Albert Vachon
Rector of Université Laval
Succeeded by
Jean-Guy Paquet
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Samuel Delbert Clark
President of the Royal Society of Canada
Succeeded by
Robert Folinsbee