The Opening of the 2018 General Assembly of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Welcome message to delegates will be presented by Dr. Robert Thirsk.
Former Canadian astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk (O.C., O.B.C.) was elected the 13th chancellor of the University of Calgary in May 2014.
Thirsk has deep roots in Alberta. He attended R.T. Alderman Junior High and Lord Beaverbrook High Schools and has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Calgary. Thirsk also has a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with a medical degree from McGill University. He also has numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary, which was conferred while Thirsk was in orbit aboard the International Space Station.
Thirsk holds the Canadian record for the longest time spent in space, at 204 days, 18 hours. His first trip into space was aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia – a 17-day mission on which he and six crewmates performed 43 experiments related to life and materials sciences. In 2009, he became the first Canadian to undertake a long duration space mission when he spent 188 days aboard the International Space Station.