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Herzberg Gold Medal won by Dalhousie chemistry professor


Ottawa, ON Canada’s most prestigious research prize, the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, has been awarded to Dr. Axel Becke, a chemistry professor at Dalhousie University. Dr. Becke received the prize for his outstanding contributions to the fields of computational science and physical chemistry. Scientists and engineers around the world rely on his ground-breaking chemical theories and computational methods to advance numerous sectors ranging from drug discovery to cleaner energy.

The prize is one of a series of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) awards given in a ceremony at Rideau Hall by Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston, last week.

Named after Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal is the agency’s highest honour. It provides recipients with $1 million in discovery research funding over five years.

Also awarded were prizes for top graduate students, outstanding university-industry partnerships, interdisciplinary research, ground-breaking discoveries, and excellence in multidisciplinary research.

“As Canadians, we can look with pride and honour today at this group of scientists and engineers who embody world-class talent and innovation,” said Dr. B. Mario Pinto, president of NSERC. “Their search for knowledge through inspired scholarly inquiry will help Canada take its place as a world leader.”

The awards include:

  • Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering: Axel Becke – Dalhousie University
  • NSERC John C. Polanyi Award: Chris Eliasmith – University of Waterloo
  • The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering: Paul Schaffer – TRIUMF; François Bénard – The University of British Columbia; Anna Celler – The University of British Columbia; Michael Kovacs – Western University; Thomas J. Ruth – TRIUMF; and John Valliant – McMaster University
  • NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research: Kaylee Byers – The University of British Columbia; Rowan Cockett – The University of British Columbia
  • NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prizes: Michael McTavish – University of Waterloo
  • NSERC Howard Alper Postdoctoral Prize: Jérémy Leconte – University of Toronto
  • E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships: Daniel Ansari – Western University; Steven J. Cooke – Carleton University; Leah Cowen – University of Toronto; Jiangchuan Liu – Simon Fraser University; Aaron Wheeler – University of Toronto; and Wei Yu – University of Toronto

Synergy Awards for Innovation:

  • Category 1 – Small- and Medium-sized Companies: Carey Simonson – University of Saskatchewan; Robert W. Besant – University of Saskatchewan; and Manfred Gerber – Venmar CES Inc.
  • Category 2 – Large Companies: David Blowes – University of Waterloo; Richard Amos – Carleton University; David Sego – University of Alberta; Leslie Smith – The University of British Columbia;and Gord Macdonald – Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
  • Category 3 – Two or More Companies: Claire Deschênes – Université Laval; Luc Deslandes – Voith Hydro Inc.; Normand Désy – Andritz Hydro Canada Inc.; Anne-Marie Giroux – Hydro-Québec; Michel Sabourin – Alstom Énergies Renouvelables Canada Inc.; and Robin Sinha – CanmetENERGY, Natural Resources Canada
  • Category 4 – Colleges: David Humphrey – Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology; and Mark Surman – Mozilla Foundation