Royal Society of Canada honours UVic scientists

With one new fellow, one new college member, and two award recipients, UVic scientists will make out pretty well at the Royal Society of Canada’s annual general meeting (AGM) this November.

The Royal Society (RSC) is Canada’s national academy dedicated to promoting learning and research in three main streams: the arts and humanities; the social sciences; and the sciences.

Hosted in Victoria, the RSC AGM sees chemist Frank van Veggel inducted as fellow. Van Veggel joins an elite club of more than 2,000 scholars elected over the years by their peers for remarkable lifetime contributions to their discipline and public life. Fellowship in the RSC is Canada’s highest academic distinction.

Van Veggel is an international leader in the design and study of new photonic nanomaterials— extremely small materials that interact with light. The research has applications in health, computing and telecommunications. His current research focuses on ways of using optical and magnetic nanoparticles to enhance diagnostics for prostate, breast and brain cancer. 

“Finding cancers early is important to increase the success of therapy,” he says. “And getting better information about the size and location of a tumour helps a surgeon do a more effective job.”

UVic astronomer Sarah Ellison will also be celebrated at the AGM… twice! Ellison is both a new college member and recipient of the 2014 Rutherford Medal, which recognizes outstanding achievement in any branch of physics.

Described as “one of the most energetic and productive researchers in astronomy and astrophysics in Canada with major worldwide impact,” Sara Ellison couples observations from powerful telescopes with computer simulations to understand how galaxies form and evolve over time.

“Astronomy is one of those very exciting sciences that appeals to many people because it allows us to understand the important questions of who we are and where we came from, and where the universe is ultimately going,” says Ellison.

Ellison ranks highly in terms of productivity and global impact. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers since 2000, and these studies have been cited more than 5,000 times.

At the AGM Julio Navarro (physics and astronomy), one of the world’s leading cosmologists, will receive the 2015 Tory Medal for outstanding research. Navarro has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of the formation of structure and galaxies in the universe.

Learn more about UVic astronomer Sarah Ellison.