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U of T makes impressive showing in Royal Society honours

September 6, 2013

Three medalists, one award winner, nine fellows celebrated by prestigious scholarly society

TORONTO, ON — U of T made an impres­sive show­ing in this year’s Roy­al Soci­ety of Cana­da hon­ours. Three schol­ars won medals, one took home a research award and nine more have joined the ranks of the nation’s pre­mier schol­ar­ly soci­ety as fel­lows.

The Roy­al Soci­ety of Cana­da (RSC) com­pris­es the Acad­e­mies of Arts, Human­i­ties and Sci­ences of Cana­da. Its mis­sion is to rec­og­nize schol­ar­ly, research and artis­tic excel­lence, to advise gov­ern­ments and orga­ni­za­tions, and to pro­mote a cul­ture of knowl­edge and inno­va­tion in Cana­da.

Stephen Clark­son of the Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence won the Kon­rad Ade­nauer Research Award, which pro­motes aca­d­e­m­ic col­lab­o­ra­tion between Cana­da and the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. Clark­son is work­ing with col­leagues at Berlin’s Free Uni­ver­si­ty on how norms and insti­tu­tions priv­i­leg­ing for­eign cor­po­ra­tions’ invest­ments are entrenched and resist­ed in Europe, North Amer­i­ca and South Amer­i­ca.

Nick Eyles of the Depart­ment of Phys­i­cal and Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences at U of T Scar­bor­ough won the McNeil Medal for the Pub­lic Aware­ness of Sci­ence, giv­en to a schol­ar who has demon­strat­ed out­stand­ing abil­i­ty to pro­mote and com­mu­ni­cate sci­ence to stu­dents and to the pub­lic. Eyles was cit­ed for his work as host of CBC’s Geo­log­ic Jour­ney – World, and for writ­ing gen­er­al inter­est books about geol­o­gy.

Ray Jayaward­hana of the Depart­ment of Astron­o­my and Astro­physics won the Ruther­ford Memo­r­i­al Medal in Physics, giv­en for out­stand­ing research in physics and chem­istry. He was cit­ed as a leader in the study of extra-solar plan­ets, brown dwarfs and young stars. Using the world’s largest tele­scopes, he is fur­ther­ing our under­stand­ing of the ori­gin, evo­lu­tion and diver­si­ty of plan­e­tary sys­tems.

Dou­glas W. Stephan of the Depart­ment of Chem­istry won the Hen­ry Mar­shall Tory Medal, giv­en for out­stand­ing research in any branch of chem­istry, astron­o­my, math­e­mat­ics, physics or an allied sci­ence. Stephan’s research group has devel­oped com­mer­cial cat­a­lysts for poly­mer­iza­tion, hydro­gena­tion and metathe­sis. In recent years the group has uncov­ered the con­cept of “frus­trat­ed Lewis pairs,” a dra­mat­ic par­a­digm-shift­ing break­through per­mit­ting the use of sim­ple main group com­pounds in met­al-free hydro­gena­tion and hydroam­i­na­tion catal­y­sis.

“It’s unprece­dent­ed for U of T researchers to win four RSC medals and awards in a sin­gle year,” said Pro­fes­sor Paul Young, U of T’s vice-pres­i­dent (research and inno­va­tion). This fan­tas­tic showing—and the fact that these hon­ours rec­og­nize a remark­able breadth of scholarship—is tes­ti­mo­ny to the endur­ing excel­lence and impact of our research com­mu­ni­ty.”

In addi­tion, nine researchers were hon­oured with fel­low­ship in the RSC, bring­ing to 351 U of T’s total num­ber of RSC inductees since 1980.

“Fel­low­ship in the Roy­al Soci­ety of Cana­da is a great hon­our for a researcher,” said Young, him­self a RSC fel­low and medal­ist. “It rec­og­nizes excel­lence in cre­ativ­i­ty and dis­cov­ery and out­stand­ing schol­ar­ship that is con­tribut­ing to knowl­edge and progress. My con­grat­u­la­tions to this year’s new fel­lows.”

Young also not­ed that U of T’s 351 fel­lows rep­re­sent the society’s largest con­tin­gent among Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ties. “I’m delight­ed that Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to research has been cit­ed con­sis­tent­ly over the years as wor­thy of recog­ni­tion by the RSC,” he said.


The 2013 fel­lows are:

Jonathan Abbatt, Depart­ment of Chem­istry:  Abbatt is rec­og­nized world­wide as a leader in atmos­pher­ic chem­istry. He applies state-of-the-art exper­i­men­tal meth­ods to study how aerosol par­ti­cles pro­mote cloud for­ma­tion and inter­act with atmos­pher­ic gas­es, lead­ing to improved mod­el pre­dic­tions of stratos­pher­ic ozone deple­tion, glob­al and urban pol­lu­tion and cli­mate change. His work bridges the atmos­pher­ic sci­ence and chem­istry com­mu­ni­ties, and pro­vides a firm foun­da­tion for quan­ti­ta­tive assess­ments of soci­etal­ly-impor­tant envi­ron­men­tal phe­nom­e­na.

Emanuel Adler, Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence: Adler is one of the world’s fore­most schol­ars of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. He is a leader of the field’s “con­struc­tivist” approach, which suc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenged the field’s dom­i­nant par­a­digms, a pro­gram-builder and a ded­i­cat­ed teacher and men­tor. His schol­ar­ship is the­o­ret­i­cal­ly ambi­tious, empir­i­cal­ly rig­or­ous and intel­lec­tu­al­ly plu­ral­is­tic, which explains why he is among the three most wide­ly-cit­ed inter­na­tion­al rela­tions schol­ars in Cana­da.

Jut­ta Brun­née, Fac­ul­ty of Law: Brun­née is among the world’s most influ­en­tial schol­ars in inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­men­tal law, inter­na­tion­al law and inter­na­tion­al legal the­o­ry. She has made ground­break­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the under­stand­ing of envi­ron­men­tal treaty design, includ­ing law­mak­ing and com­pli­ance process­es, and inter­na­tion­al cli­mate change law. Her award-win­ning work on “inter­ac­tion­al law” advances a nov­el the­o­ry of inter­na­tion­al legal oblig­a­tion and offers pro­found new insights into how inter­na­tion­al law influ­ences inter­na­tion­al actors.

Joseph Heath, Depart­ment of Phi­los­o­phy, Cen­tre for Ethics and School of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy and Gov­er­nance: Heath is an inter­na­tion­al leader in polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy and the the­o­ry of ratio­nal­i­ty, as well as one of Canada’s lead­ing pub­lic intel­lec­tu­als. He has made fun­da­men­tal con­tri­bu­tions in two areas: the under­stand­ing of the rela­tions between ratio­nal­i­ty, moral­i­ty and cul­ture, and the foun­da­tions of busi­ness ethics.

Ato Quayson, Depart­ment of Eng­lish: Quayson is inter­na­tion­al­ly acknowl­edged as one of the most pro­lif­ic, influ­en­tial and inno­v­a­tive African­ists. His large body of work—five sin­gle-authored mono­graphs, six edit­ed and co-edit­ed col­lec­tions and over 40 essays—extends from African stud­ies to oth­er fields, includ­ing dis­abil­i­ty stud­ies, dias­po­ra and transna­tion­al­ism stud­ies, urban stud­ies and post­colo­nial the­o­ry. He is the found­ing direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Dias­po­ra and Transna­tion­al Stud­ies.

Kather­ine Simi­novitch, Depart­ment of Immunol­o­gy: Siminovitch’s dis­cov­er­ies of genet­ic and mol­e­c­u­lar path­ways under­pin­ning immuno­log­ic dis­eases have elu­ci­dat­ed new par­a­digms of sig­nal trans­duc­tion and cell biol­o­gy, illu­mi­nat­ing the mech­a­nisms where­by select­ed class­es of sig­nal trans­duct­ing effec­tors link extra­cel­lu­lar stim­uli to cytoskele­tal-dri­ven cell respons­es or to the atten­u­a­tion of cell respons­es required for home­osta­sis. Her dis­cov­er­ies of mol­e­c­u­lar path­ways respon­si­ble for autoim­mune dis­ease have also pro­found­ly advanced under­stand­ing and poten­tial to ame­lio­rate these com­mon debil­i­tat­ing dis­eases.

Sali A. Taglia­monte, Depart­ment of Lin­guis­tics: Tagliamonte’s rich and unique array of first­hand stud­ies of lan­guage vari­a­tion and change has played a major role in advanc­ing the the­o­ry and tech­niques of Soci­olin­guis­tics world­wide. Her analy­ses of African-Amer­i­can vari­eties, British, North­ern Irish and Cana­di­an dialects, as well as child, teen, tele­vi­sion and inter­net lan­guage have gal­va­nized a new gen­er­a­tion of schol­ars. She is also the author of acclaimed mono­graphs in soci­olin­guis­tic research and method­ol­o­gy.

Evan Thomp­son, Depart­ment of Phi­los­o­phy: Thomp­son, on leave from U of T for a year, is a cen­tral fig­ure in mod­ern under­stand­ings of the nature of con­scious­ness. His ground­break­ing work brings per­spec­tives from phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, cog­ni­tive sci­ence and Bud­dhism to bear on what has been described as the most dif­fi­cult prob­lem in the phi­los­o­phy of mind.

Andrei K. Yudin, Depart­ment of Chem­istry: Yudin is an inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned schol­ar who has cre­at­ed new mol­e­cules that serve as pow­er­ful tools for chem­i­cal syn­the­sis. His con­cept of “forced orthog­o­nal­i­ty” has enabled the devel­op­ment of entire­ly new class­es of com­pounds, pre­vi­ous­ly thought to be too unsta­ble to be used as prac­ti­cal reagents. Yudin has also been active in trans­lat­ing these fun­da­men­tal dis­cov­er­ies into appli­ca­tions that impact the fields of chem­istry, biol­o­gy and med­i­cine.


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