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University of Toronto physicist wins prestigious international science prize


Toronto, ON – University of Toronto physicist Richard Peltier has been chosen by the Franklin Institute to receive the 2010 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science. Dr Peltier is the first Canadian to receive the $250,000 award, and joins a group of previous recipients that includes Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

The Bower Award recognizes him for fundamental advances in the understanding of Earth systems and for demonstrating profound interconnections between surface climate variability and the internal properties and dynamics of the solid Earth.

Founder of the Centre for Global Change Science at U of T, Dr Peltier is known worldwide for his work in global climate change. He has developed powerful models using sophisticated mathematical concepts to depict what has happened to our climate over the past 600 million years and what is likely to happen far into the future if human behaviour does not change. His models are considered the gold standard for researchers trying to understand climate change.

“The physical state of our planet may well be the most important question facing us today [and] Professor Peltier is one of the scientific leaders who is helping global society to understand the challenges and opportunities we face in saving our fragile Earth,” says Professor Paul Young, U of T vice president, research. “His innovative research continues to be vital to a host of possible solutions.”

Dr Peltier’s achievements have been recognized with many of the top honours in his field, including the 2004 Vetlesen Prize, often called the Nobel Prize of earth sciences. He is also listed among the most highly cited earth scientists in the world from 1991 to 2001, is a Fellow in the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and a recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Bancroft Award to name but a few honours. He is also a dedicated mentor and teacher. More than 30 doctoral students have received their PhD degrees under his supervision.

He will receive the award during a ceremony in Philadelphia on April 29, 2010.