Three UVic scientists earn national honours

Two University of Victoria scientists have joined the ranks of Canada’s academic elite. Geologist Dante Canil and astrophysicist Julio Navarro have been elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada for outstanding scholarly and scientific achievement. The distinction is considered Canada’s highest academic honour.
The society has also awarded its 2011 Miroslaw Romanowski Medal to UVic climatologist Andrew Weaver for “his exceptional research achievements, scholarly writings and resolute efforts to share his knowledge on climate change [which have been] critically influential the world over.”

Canil is an international leader in the study of the Earth’s mantle, the super-heated layer of rock below the crust that makes up about 85 per cent of the planet’s mass. His pioneering work has greatly expanded our understanding of volcanic rocks that host diamonds, ancient deep regions of the continents, and the evolution of oxygen in the Earth and atmosphere

“A better understanding of diamond geology aids in the exploration of Canada’s North where diamond deposits are concentrated,” says Canil. “And the evolution of oxygen in the mantle—Earth’s largest chemical reservoir—may be key to the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere over time, which led to the evolution of complex life forms on our planet, and possibly others.”

Navarro is one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, whose research on galaxy formation and evolution—primarily using sophisticated computer simulations—has shaped our current understanding of how structures in the universe formed. He is especially well known for his work on dark matter, a mysterious substance that holds galaxies together.

“Cosmology is undergoing a golden age of discovery that promises to rewrite the most fundamental laws of physics,” says Navarro. ”It’s only in the past few decades that humankind has been able to piece together a scientifically verifiable account of how the universe began and evolved. It’s a privilege to be active in this field at this time.”

Weaver is one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in climate modelling and analysis and, in particular, as an expert on the role of the ocean in climate variability and change. His recent research on ancient climates has contributed significantly to our understanding of climate change and variability over the last 130,000 years of Earth history.

Weaver is also well known for his tireless efforts to engage the public on climate change issues. He is the author of two books for general audiences on climate change: Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World (2008), and Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming (2011). Weaver has been a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2001.

With the election of Canil and Navarro, 46 current or former UVic faculty members have been elected fellows of the oyal Society of Canada. More info:



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