On Sunday, October 4th 2020, Professor Louis Fortier, the visionary and audacious man behind the creation of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, died from complications related to leukemia. He was 66. From the onset of his career and his voyages in the Arctic Ocean, Louis witnessed first-hand the profound changes affecting northern environments. He devoted over 30 years of his life to studying the North, and to advocating for multidisciplinary scientific collaboration to advance our collective knowledge and elevate it to new levels. His vision brought together scientists, Inuit, people from industry, government and northern stakeholders to develop more comprehensive and holistic views of the changing Arctic. With this dedication and constant drive, he spearheaded the development of some of the largest Arctic research programs in Canada and internationally, furthering our understanding and mobilizing knowledge to levels beyond the scientific realm.
His legacy truly bridges the gap between scientists, the general public, and policy makers for the betterment of the Arctic and Canada. In addition to the Amundsen, major initiatives led by Louis include the International North Water Polynya (1997-1999); the international Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) (2001-2006); the creation of ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada (2003-present); and the Institut Nordique du Québec (2014-present).
His dedication and conviction of the urgency of climate change made him a stellar advocate for environmental sciences and a world-leading ambassador on the role science must play in the development of policy and adaptation strategies.
Louis will be remembered for his passion, vision, devotion, drive, and inspiring energy that was felt in all those who worked closely with him.
Amundsen Science will pursue his mission by investing passion and rigor in our
work in his memory.
The Arctic research community has lost one of its great champions.
He will be deeply missed.