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Killam Prizes honour Canada’s top minds


Ottawa, ON – Five of Canada’s top scientists and scholars have been honoured with 2014 Killam Prizes. Awarded each year by the Canada Council for the Arts, the prizes include $100,000 to each recipient.

“The Canada Council joins all Canadians in paying tribute to this year’s Killam Prize winners — individuals who have boldly and consistently pushed the boundaries of our understanding of the world,” said Joseph L. Rotman, chair of the Canada Council. “Each has aspired to excellence in their chosen disciplines and to improving the lives of people around the globe through their research and scholarly pursuits.”

The recipients are:

  • Sajeev John, University of Toronto
  • Andreas Mandelis, University of Toronto
  • James Miller, University of Saskatchewan
  • Frank Plummer, University of Manitoba
  • Fraser Taylor, Carleton University

Sajeev John is a pioneering theoretician in photonic band gap (PBG) materials. This new class of optical materials sometimes referred to as “semiconductors of light,” presents exciting possibilities in the fields of physics, chemistry, engineering and medicine. His work has the potential to help save lives as PBG materials could eventually be used for optical communications/information processing, clinical medicine, lighting and solar energy harvesting. He is a professor of physics at the University of Toronto and is Canada Research Chair in Optical Sciences (2000-present).

Andreas Mandelis is a leading scientist and engineer in diagnostic applications of lasers in applied physics, materials science and biomedical engineering. He is a pioneer in establishing the fields of diffusion-wave and photoacoustic sciences and technologies. In addition to his teaching responsibilities in the Engineering Faculty at the University of Toronto, Andreas Mandelis is also the University’s director of the Center for Advanced Diffusion-Wave Technologies (CADIFT).

J.R. Miller studies the history of relations between Canada’s indigenous and immigrant peoples over the past four centuries. He is the Canada Research Chair in Native-Newcomer Relations and a professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan. His current research project explores the issue of reconciliation with, and for, residential school survivors.

Frank Plummer is the chief scientific officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada, director of the National Microbiology Laboratory Winnipeg and a distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba. Best known as a tenacious HIV/AIDS researcher and vaccine crusader, he spearheaded the development of the world renowned “Manitoba-Nairobi HIV/AIDS Control Program”. Dr. Plummer has delivered countless research breakthroughs that have begun to unravel the mysteries of HIV/AIDs. He was the first investigator to track transmission rates among heterosexual women in Kenya, leading to the discovery of effective HIV prevention strategies that were adopted worldwide. His finding that some women have a natural immunity to HIV fueled the search for an effective vaccine.

D. R. Fraser Taylor introduced the world to the power of cybercartography, an enhanced form of multimedia mapping using geographic information management, to deepen our understanding of socio-economic issues. In Canada, and around the world, his cybercartographic atlases have delivered new perspectives and a way to comprehend complex issues such as trade and economic patterns, international development, and the risk of homelessness. He is director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre at Carleton University in Ottawa.