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Queen’s biologist wins top Canadian science prize


Ottawa, ON – One of the world’s foremost ecologists is the winner of this year’s Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

Dr John P Smol, a Canada Research Chair at Queen’s University and pioneer in the reconstruction of past environments, received the medal honouring the late Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg in a ceremony on December 6 at the National Gallery of Canada.

The award comes with a guarantee of $1 million in research funding over the next five years from Science and Engineering Research Canada (more commonly known as NSERC).

"The global science community knows Dr Smol through his groundbreaking papers in top international science journals, and for creating powerful new knowledge and tools for environmental research," says David L Emerson, federal minister of industry. "But many Canadians also know him from his tireless efforts to inform the public about the impact of his lake studies. At home and abroad, he is an ambassador for the very best of what Canadian research offers to the world, and his work underscores the vital importance of fundamental research."

Dr Smol’s studies of ancient lakes have generated new knowledge about past and present environments, and about what climate change may mean for our future.