2009 INDUCTEE The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk Cancer, Women in Medicine, Health Policy


May 5, 1927

(Canora, Saskatchewan)


September 26, 2012


MA, University of Saskatchewan (1951)

Awards & Honours:

2006: Honorary LLD, University of Saskatchewan

1992: Canada 125th Commemorative Medal

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Picture of Sylvia Fedoruk

Contributed to development of cancer radiation treatment and became the first woman Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan

Sylvia Fedoruk

One of Canada’s foremost medical biophysicists

Working with Dr. Harold Johns, Sylvia Fedoruk served on a team of scientists involved in the development of one of the world's first cobalt-60 unit (the “Cobalt Bomb”), and one of the first nuclear medicine scanning machines, which pioneered the curative treatment of cancer using high intensity radioactive cobalt in humans. In time, she became chief medical physicist for the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation.

Later in her career, Sylvia Fedoruk contributed to the development of the Dosimeter, allowing doctors to control the amount of radiation that each cancer patient received. She also participated in the development of one of the first whole body scanning machines that used radioactive nuclides to help detect cancers of the thyroid and liver.

Key Facts

Was the first woman member of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada

Helped to save millions of lives around the world with the development of Cobalt 60 radiation treatment

Served as the first woman Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan and the first woman Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan

Participated in the development of one of the first nuclear medicine scanning machines

Served as a consultant on nuclear medicine to the International Atomic Energy Agency, among other advisory boards

In addition to her extraordinary scientific strengths, Sylvia Fedoruk excelled as an athlete, and in 1986 was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk’s scientific career helped lay the foundations for today’s essential diagnostic and treatment technologies including CT and PET scanners. In particular, her calculation tables for radiation treatment became the world standard for depth and dose measurement, and remain so to this day. Additionally, as a pioneering woman in the fields of physics and state service, Sylvia Fedoruk’s life continues to inspire women to break glass ceilings and all people to strive for excellence.

Picture of Sylvia Fedoruk


  • A Radiant Life

    A Radiant Life: The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk - Scientist, Sports Icon and Stateswoman

    Award-winning author Merle Massie brings to the page the life and career of Sylvia Fedoruk

  • Fedoruk Centre logo

    The Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation opened.

    This Centre supports nuclear research and manages the Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences.

  • The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk

    Sylvia Fedoruk inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Montreal, Quebec

  • Establishment of the Fedoruk Family Foundation

    This major philanthropic gift to the University of Saskatchewan endows three student scholarships.

  • Sylvia Fedoruk

    Sylvia Fedoruk was named the first female Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan.

    Two years later, she was appointed the first female Lieutenant Governor of the province.

  • As Director of Physics at the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic, she oversaw many developments as the radioisotope scanning systems evolved.

    Her supervision maximized the information produced and minimized the ambiguities.

  • Dr. Fedoruk joined the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation as a medical physicist.

    She served as its Director of Medical Physics from 1966-1986.

  • Official opening of University Hospital

    The Hospital became the new home of the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic.

  • The December 15th issue of Nature contained the first formal publication with the details of cobalt therapy


    Sylvia Fedoruk was a co-author of this publication and helped introduce cobalt-60 treatment for cancer to the world.

  • World’s first non-commercial cobalt-60 therapy unit went into operation at the University of Saskatchewan

    Cancer, Women in Medicine

    The calibration work was done by Sylvia Fedoruk through rigorous depth dose measurements (the subject of her M.A. thesis).


She served with wisdom, warmth, grace and diplomacy.