Hubert Reeves | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Hubert Reeves

Hubert Reeves, C.C., G.O.Q., astrophysicist, science popularizer, environmental activist (born 13 July 1932 in Montreal, QC; died 13 October 2023 in Paris, France). Over the course of his career, he published numerous books, translated into several languages, and made frequent appearances on radio and television (see also Astrophysics). Reeves is also renowned for his efforts to protect the environment (see also Environmental Movement in Canada).

Hubert Reeves, astrophysicien, date inconnue.

Education and Career

After completing his classical studies at the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in 1950, Hubert Reeves received a Bachelor in Physics from the Université de Montréal in 1953, a Masters in Atomic Physics from McGill University in 1955 and a PhD in Nuclear Astrophysics from Cornell University, USA in 1960 (see Astrophysics). Back in Canada, he taught physics at Université de Montréal, while also working as scientific advisor for NASA (1960-1964). Reeves then moved to Paris in 1965, where he worked as Research Director at the Centre national de recherche scientifique and Scientific Advisor at the Saclay Commissariat à l’Énergie atomique. As of the 1980s he divided his time between Canada and France, by returning to Université de Montréal one month per year to teach cosmology.

Science Popularization

Hubert Reeves has drawn the attention of the international scientific community with his successful writings including Patience dans l’azur : L’évolution cosmique (1981) translated into English in 1984 as Atoms of Science: An Exploration of Cosmic Evolution as well as Poussières d'étoiles (1984). His books include Intimes Convictions (1997), Chroniques du ciel et de la vie (2005) and Chroniques des atomes et des galaxies (2007). Reeves is also co-author of La plus belle histoire du monde : Les secrets de nos origines (1996) translated into English in 1998 as Origins: Cosmos, earth, and mankind as well as Sommes-nous seuls dans l'univers? (2000).

In addition to his research, Reeves was passionate about popularizing science. He gave lectures all over the world. He also took part in several documentaries, including Du big bang au vivant (2010), and contributed to the conception and production of science shows, mainly in Montreal and Europe.


In the 2000s, Hubert Reeves became more involved in protecting the environment. From 2001 to 2015 he was president of the Humanité et Biodiversité (formerly Ligue ROC), a French organization for protection of biodiversity. In 2015, the organization named him honorary president (see also Environmental Movement in Canada).


In 2008, Hubert Reeves published his autobiography entitled Je n'aurai pas le temps : mémoires. He created two astrophysics scholarships at the Université de Montréal and the Université Laval.

Hubert Reeves: Star Teller, Iolande Cadrin-Rossignol, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Awards and Distinctions

In 1999, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid (9631) 1993 SL6 after Hubert Reeves. In addition to this honour, Reeves has been awarded several honorary doctorates and numerous awards and distinctions, including the following:

  • Officer of the Order of Canada (1991)
  • Officer of the National Order of Québec (1994)
  • Officer of the Legion of Honor, Paris (1994)
  • Albert Einstein Award from the Einstein Society (2001)
  • Samuel de Champlain Award from l'Institut France-Canada (2002)
  • Commander of the Legion of Honor, Paris (2003)
  • Companion of the Order of Canada (2003)
  • Inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame (2007)
  • Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec (2017)
  • Jules-Janseen Award from the Société astronomique de France (2019)

Further Reading

External Links