I was gladdened to see Rudolph Kriegler named on July 1 to the Order of Canada. Kriegler, now a retiree at 75, was the gentle scientist credited with pioneering the fiber-optics line at Nortel Networks during the 1980s and early 1990s. To do this he “ at times put his own job on the line and undertook unofficial development projects,” as described in my book on Nortel Networkspublished in 2000. He was one of those “intelligent subversives” who instigates the kind of change that help a corporation adapt to shifting environments.
Sadly, he was the only scientist in the group of 75 honoured on July 1. The rest were a pastiche of politicians, musicians, union leaders, actors, dentists, activists, and so on. Maybe when Canada begins valuing its scientists more, we’ll have more of the kind of innovation that leads to greater national wealth.