Astronaut, neurologist, and nature photographer Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contributions to space medicine research, landscape photography, and environmental education. Author of four books and the subject of several more, she was the first neurologist and first Canadian woman in space. She holds the NASA Space Medal and the Order of Canada. Her country has issued a postage stamp in her honor, five schools have been named after her, and she has joined some of the best-known women in the world in the Hall of Fame of the International Women’s Forum.
Bondar spent more than 10 years with NASA as head of an international medical research team and flew on the shuttle Discovery, conducting experiments in the International Microgravity Laboratory. She chaired the Science Advisory Board for Health Canada, working to understand shifting ecosystems and vectors of disease as the climate warms. She is a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
As a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team, Bondar developed her own training program in space photography. She created four best-selling photo essay books on North American national parks and on the deserts of the world. In Touching The Earth, she juxtaposes images taken from orbit with ground-level photographs. Canada: Landscape of Dreams and Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada's National Parks capture northern grandeur. When she crossed the Libyan Sahara to photograph Roman ruins and sand seas for her book The Arid Edge Of Earth, Time magazine named her one of North America's top explorers.
A 4300 square foot exhibition of her large photographs was displayed in the Canadian Museum of Nature and in The Royal Ontario Museum. Her work is represented by galleries in London, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary and hangs in corporate, institutional, and private collections around the world.
Bondar is a passionate communicator and educator about threatened landscapes and cultures, and she has given hundreds of presentations that combine the art and the science of photography to further our understanding of the vast landscapes of Earth.
A frequent guest on CNN, BBC, PBS and CBC, Bondar co-anchored the Discovery Channel’s coverage of space shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral. She is featured – camera in hand floating during spaceflight – in the IMAX movie Destiny In Space. She was Honorary Patron for Canada of UN International Year of Planet Earth and worked with the United Nations Environment Programme in promoting its Global Environment Outlook.
Bondar founded the Roberta Bondar Foundation to educate children and adults about environmental degradation through a fusion of photography and scientific study. She served six years as Chancellor of Trent University, where she is now a professor, and holds the Loyola Medal from Concordia University for leadership in environmental education.
Using her own powerful images to dramatize the beauty and peril of a world at risk, Roberta Bondar speaks on the effects of global warming, especially with regard to disease transmission and human health. She also offers a presentation using both her own and NASA photos to explore the emotional and educational impact of photography and its capacity to expand our understanding and appreciation of our evolving and changing planet.
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