Mary Anne White is a materials research chemist and a highly recognized educator and communicator of science. Dr. White holds the distinguished title of Harry Shirreff Professor of Chemical Research (Emerita) at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where she has been since 1983, following a BSc in honors chemistry from the University of Western Ontario, a PhD in chemistry from McMaster University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Oxford. From 2002 to 2006, she was the founding director of the Institute for Research in Materials at Dalhousie University, and from 2010 to 2016 she was director of the multidisciplinary graduate program, Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability (DREAMS). She has been Professor (Emerita) since 2017.
Dr. White’s research interests are in energetics and thermal properties of materials. She has made significant contributions to understanding how heat is stored and conducted through materials. Her work has led to new materials that can convert waste heat to energy, and materials that can trap solar energy, and materials that reversibly change color on heating. Her research contributions have been recognized by national and international awards, and she is an author of more than 200 research papers and several book chapters. She has trained more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and more than 80 undergraduate research students.
Dr. White enjoys sharing her knowledge with students and with the general public. She is especially well known for presenting clear explanations of difficult concepts. Mary Anne’s outstanding abilities as an educator have been recognized by the Union Carbide Award for Chemical Education from the Chemical Institute of Canada. Mary Anne has given more than 170 invited presentations at conferences, universities, government laboratories, and industries around the world.
Dr. White has been active throughout her career in bringing science to the general public. This includes helping establish a hands-on science center; many presentations for schools, the general public and others (including a lecture for members of Canada’s parliament and senate); booklets on science activities for children (published by the Canadian Society for Chemistry); serving as national organizer of National Chemistry Week; more than 150 articles for educators or the general public; and appearances on television and especially on CBC Radio. For her contributions to public awareness of science, Mary Anne was awarded the 2007 McNeil Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.
Dr. White holds honorary doctorates from McMaster University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa. She is an Officer in the Order of Canada.