Today, five of Ontario’s top university researchers will be awarded the 2016 Polanyi Prize for discoveries in such areas as neutron stars, the so-called diabolic loop, breast cancer treatment and improving sustainability in chemical industries.
“The Polanyi Prizes are a demonstration of the quality, depth and significance of the work Ontario university researchers are involved in,” says David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).
“These bright young minds are making significant contributions to our shared understanding of the universe and efforts like these help position our province as a leader in the kind of research and innovation that changes our world – both now and into the future.”
Polanyi Prizes are given each year to a new generation of innovative researchers who are either continuing postdoctoral work or have recently gained a faculty appointment. Each of this year’s winners will receive $20,000 in recognition of their exceptional research in the fields of chemistry, economic science, literature, physics, and physiology/medicine.
The winners of the 2016 Polanyi Prizes and the areas of research for which they are being honoured are:
- Physics: John Antoniadis, Dunlap Fellow at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, seeks to gain a deeper understanding of neutron stars – the densest objects in the universe. His work will lead to a much better understanding of their mass distribution and our ability to ultimately understand the properties of matter under extreme conditions.
- Economic Science: Cesar Sosa-Padilla, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at McMaster University, addresses Europe’s so-called diabolic loop – in which weak banking systems harm a sovereign country’s fiscal position, which in turn compromises the banking system’s stability – and evaluates one proposed solution to the problem, along with an implementation plan.
- Physiology/Medicine: Kyle Biggar, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biochemistry at Carleton University, is looking for greater insight into how low oxygen contributes to tumour progression and chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer – the most common cancer in women.
- Chemistry: Stephen Newman, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, is finding ways to make all chemical industries more sustainable through the discovery of fundamentally new chemical reactions and processes that generate less waste and/or utilize renewable raw materials.
- Literature: Daniel Wright, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, argues in his book – Shaping Out the Future – that Victorian poets and novelists cope with the lack of influence that literary art had on politics by encouraging the cultivation of creativity through their own work.
“Twenty-nine years of celebrating the achievements of the best of our rising generation of scholars has created a large cohort of outstanding university teachers and researchers in Ontario,” says Dr. John C. Polanyi, Nobel Laureate, University of Toronto. “They introduce themselves to me as ‘family’ wherever I go – these so-called Polanyi Prize winners. Their ability to never stop talking, nor stop discovering, is the province’s big return on investment. Long may it last.”
The Polanyi Prizes were created in 1987 by the Ontario government to celebrate the tremendous achievement of Dr. Polanyi in receiving the Nobel Prize, and are administrated by COU. The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony at the University of Toronto’s Massey College today at 11:30, and can be available for interviews.
For more information on the research recognized by the Polanyi Prizes, click here.
“Recipients of the Polanyi Prizes represent the best university-based researchers across Ontario, and this year’s group is no exception. These individuals are strengthening our province’s reputation as a centre for excellence and innovation, while changing the way we approach key issues that directly impact Ontarians. It is truly a pleasure to honour and recognize these promising researchers and their discoveries.” — Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
- See the video of the congratulatory speech from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell to the 2016 Polanyi Prize winners
- See the video of the 2016 John Charles Polanyi Prize awards ceremony
COU is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.
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Email Wendy McCann