Cumberland County could not be more proud.While many of the world's eyes were on Copenhagen, for the United Nations summit on climate change, people of Wallace and the surrounding area had their focus fixed on another Scandinavian country, as one of their own received the 2009 Nobel Prize in physics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Born in Amherst, 85-year-old Willard Boyle now spends most of his time at his cottage in Wallace. He also developed, with the help of American scientist George Smith, the charge-coupled device (CCD), a device leading to the birth of digital photography that is used in most of today's digital cameras and camcorders. Boyle and Smith made the scientific breakthrough in 1969.
Boyle has also co-invented a type of laser, and worked on the Apollo space program. All of this after he served as a fighter pilot in the Second World War. Not bad for a guy home-schooled by his mother in a log cabin in northern Quebec.
While it's perhaps unfortunate that our native son had to wait 40 years to receive it, we are thankful that he has been given the recognition he deserves.
Although his friends and neighbours in Wallace could not follow Boyle to Stockholm and see him accept the award in person, they gathered at the Wallace and Area Museum to show their support and pay their own tribute on the big day. As Cumberland County councillor Ron MacNutt put it, Boyle is an inspiration to people in the community young and old, and living proof that big things can come from small places.
Congratulations, Mr. Boyle, on a job well done and an honour well-deserved. If only we could have sent you to get the job done in Copenhagen.