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Finalists for Canada’s top science prize named


Ottawa, ON – Dr Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), has announced the finalists for the 2005 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The annual prize, which was renamed in 1999 to honour Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, is now widely recognized as the country’s most prestigious science award. The three finalists are:

Richard Bond, director of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, is one of the world’s leading cosmologists. He is responsible for major new insights into the nature of dark matter and black holes and for greatly expanding our knowledge of the structure and evolution of the early universe.

Stephen Cook of the University of Toronto has made seminal insights in complexity theory, which gauges the difficulty of computational problems. His research helps identify those computational problems that can be solved with current technology, and those that cannot – work that has applications in a variety of fields, such as cryptography.

David Dolphin of the University of British Columbia pioneered the study of a class of light-activated compounds called porphyrins. His groundbreaking achievement is the creation of the porphyrin-based drug Visudyne – the world’s first treatment for age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.

The 2005 NSERC Herzberg Medal will be awarded at a ceremony in Ottawa in March. The winner’s research funding will be increased to $1 million over the next five years.