News Releases - 2012
$500,000 in Killam Prizes awarded to five prominent Canadian scholars
Ottawa, April 3, 2012 – The winners of the 2012 Canada Council Killam Prizes include a champion in the field of HIV/AIDS and Canada’s leading research economist. Other winners are world leaders in the fields of engineering, physics and philosophy.
The Killam Prizes are, as a group, Canada’s leading prizes for career achievement in the fields of humanities, engineering, natural sciences, health sciences and social sciences. This year, the winning scholars are Jean Grondin of Université de Montréal, Geoffrey Hinton of the University of Toronto, Louis Taillefer of Université de Sherbrooke,
Mark Wainberg of McGill University and John Whalley of the University of Western Ontario.
Download images of the winners.
“The Canada Council, in addition to its public mandate in the arts, is pleased to administer these seminal awards for academic research and scholarly achievement,” said Joseph L. Rotman, Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. “The Council applauds the five 2012 Killam Prize winners, who represent the best in Canadian ingenuity and creativity.”
Killam Trusts Managing Trustee George Cooper noted, “The Killam Prizes honour the achievements of Canadian researchers and scientists. The 2012 winners are accomplished experts who have made significant contributions to their fields and it is only fitting that they receive one of the most prestigious research awards open to Canadian scholars.”
The Killam Prize ceremony will be held at Rideau Hall on May 15.
Jean Grondin, Université de Montréal
Philosopher Jean Grondin is an internationally renowned specialist in hermeneutics (the study of the theory and practice of interpretation), German philosophy and metaphysics.
He has written 20 books that have been published by some of the leading academic publishers of the world and translated into 15 languages. His best known, aside from his essays on Kant and Heidegger, are his landmark Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics (1994), his widely acclaimed biography of Gadamer (2003), his Philosophy of Religion (2009) as well as his Introduction to Metaphysics (2012).
His reputation has earned him many distinctions including the Prix Léon-Gérin, the Konrad-Adenauer-Prize of the Humboldt Foundation and two honorary doctorates; one from Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino and one from Universidad de Santiago del Estero. Fluent in five languages, Jean Grondin has been a visiting professor in many foreign universities.
Geoffrey Hinton, University of Toronto
Geoffrey Hinton’s contributions to the development of several of the most successful Machine Learning algorithms have had, among other things, a direct impact on how we use the internet today.
His algorithms have had a strong influence on psychology and neuroscience. They are now being used for a huge variety of applications including searching and recommending products on the web, interpreting images, improving the yield of chemical plants and recognizing speech.
He directs the program in Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and his research has contributed to both science and engineering. His 2007 Google Techtalk, an introduction to his recent research on deep learning, has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube and is in the top 10 for both number of views and quality rating.
Louis Taillefer, Université de Sherbrooke
Internationally known for his research on superconductors, Louis Taillefer is currently engaged in research that could launch a major technological revolution. With his team of students and post-doctoral researchers, he is working to find a superconductor that can work at room temperature. These materials conduct electricity perfectly, but so far only at extremely low temperatures.
He has made several discoveries, including the slowest electrons in metals, the first instance of multiple flavours of superconductivity, and a new quantum critical point where superconductivity and magnetism meet. In 2007, his team observed quantum oscillations – the most pristine voice of electrons – in a copper-oxide superconductor. This pivotal discovery opened a promising new path in the quest for room-temperature superconductivity.
He is the Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials at Université de Sherbrooke and Director of the Quantum Materials Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research – a highly collaborative network of researchers regarded as the leading group in superconductivity research.
Mark A. Wainberg, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University
Mark Wainberg’s work resulted in the development of one of the most valuable drugs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the novel compound 3TC. His studies served as the basis for this compound to enter clinical trials. He remains one of the most productive researchers in the field worldwide.
He was also the first in Canada to isolate HIV from infected individuals, to conduct direct research on the virus and its behaviour under drug pressure, and to describe the problem of HIV resistance to antiviral drugs.
More recently, he has successfully elucidated several of the molecular mechanisms responsible for resistance to antiretroviral drugs and has contributed to the development of several new promising compounds. He is currently involved in collaborative research that is aimed at slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS in several countries in southern Africa.
John Whalley, University of Western Ontario
John Whalley is Canada’s leading research economist. He is the top ranked economist in rankings of publishing economists in his discipline. He has worked on developing procedures to analyze tax reform options for Canada, the UK, the US, and many other economies. His other fields of work include international trade and development.
He has made significant contributions to public debates about key Canadian and global issues, such as Canada-US free trade, NAFTA, the GST and VAT (Value Added Tax), as well as the Kyoto protocol, climate change and carbon taxes.
He was involved in the GATT and World Trade Organization negotiations and the participation of developing countries. His areas of work as a Distinguished Fellow with the Centre for International Government Innovation include China and G-20 issues. He is also Co-director of the Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations at the University of Western Ontario.
The Killam Prizes were inaugurated in 1981 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 Killam fund is valued at approximately $56 million. The Killam Trusts, which fund scholarship and research at four Canadian Universities, a neurological research and clinical institute and the Canada Council, are valued at approximately $400 million.
The Killam Program at the Canada Council for the Arts also includes the Killam Research Fellowships, which 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.
In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council is committed to raising public awareness and celebrating these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and international level.
Find a complete listing of these awards. For more information about the Killam Trusts, visit www.killamtrusts.ca.
Find a list of the 2012 selection committee members, which included scholars, researchers and experts.
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