Ottawa, February 27, 2013 – This year’s Killam Research Fellowships are awarded to leading Canadian researchers who are working on a better internet, more effective and environmentally sound pharmaceuticals, a stronger understanding of aboriginal issues, and other innovations in the fields of linguistics, mathematics and physics.
The Canada Council for the Arts, which administers the Fellowships, today announced that close to $1 million was being awarded to six successful applicants. Their projects were chosen by the national Killam Selection Committee, which included 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.
The Killam Program was established in memory of Izaak Walton Killam through the Will of his wife, Dorothy Killam, and through gifts made during her lifetime. Their primary purpose is to support advanced education and research at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Fellowships provide $70,000 a year for two years to each of the projects. They enable researchers to be released from teaching and administrative duties so that they can pursue independent research.
The 2013 recipients are:
Allan Greer, McGill University
At a time when land and treaty rights continue to create tensions between natives, non-natives and governments in Canada, this project explores the historical roots of current aboriginal issues in Canada and across North America. Allan Greer will study how European and native property systems collided, overlapped and affected one another over time, in the contrasting settings of New Spain, New England and New France, from 1600 to 1800.
Catherine Kallin, McMaster University
Catherine Kallin’s proposed research in physics is in the area of unconventional superconductivity in two materials that are of great current interest in the field. One is the cuprates, the family of superconductors with the highest transition temperatures discovered to date. The other is strontium ruthenate, which gives rise to a very different kind of superconductivity. She has recently laid key groundwork for specific problems in each of these areas that are of importance to the international community.
Mark Lautens, University of Toronto
Organic chemist Mark Lautens will look into the use of multi-metal catalysis as a means of producing pharmaceuticals in a faster and more environmentally friendly way. New medicinal agents are needed to treat human diseases for which there is no effective treatment or the existing ones produce unwanted side effects. In addition to the reduction in the amount of waste, potential benefits of this area of research include savings in time and the development of new products.
David Plant, McGill University
The goal of this project is to build tomorrow’s internet, by improving the fiber optics networks that are its backbone. These networks, once viewed as having unlimited capacity, are currently supporting annual capacity growth rates of 50-60%. David Plant’s research will concentrate on fiber optic transmission and what are called
silicon-photonic transceiver arrays. This will potentially address looming capacity limitations that will arise in the next generation of the hardware that powers the internet.
Jeremy Quastel, University of Toronto
Jeremy Quastel's research focuses on non-linear stochastic partial differential equations, which describe physical systems in the presence of randomness. The Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) equation is perhaps the simplest example, and is widely used in physics to model interfaces such as bacterial colonies. It had been believed that these equations were unsolvable. However, in unexpected breakthroughs in the last few years, Quastel and coworkers have obtained exact formulas leading to the possibility that it is a solvable model.
Sali A. Tagliamonte, University of Toronto
Sali A. Tagliamonte will further her study of the evolution of the English language in Canada, more specifically in Ontario. She will compare dialects in use in Toronto and Southeastern and Northern Ontario, focusing on what they reveal about the history and development of a community, and the factors that lead to continuity or change. She will make her findings accessible with a publication on dialect words of Ontario, which could potentially be available online.
The Killam Research Fellowships support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields. The Killam Program at the Canada Council for the Arts also includes the Killam Prizes, inaugurated with a donation by Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in memory of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam. The Prizes were created to honour eminent Canadian scholars and scientists actively engaged in research, whether in industry, government agencies or universities.
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national arts funder. Its grants to artists and arts organizations contribute to a vibrant arts scene in Canada. Its awards celebrate creativity by recognizing exceptional Canadians in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Canada Council Art Bank is a national collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary artworks – all accessible to the public through rental, loan and outreach programs. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the general authority of the Canada Council.
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