Waterloo researchers named RSC fellows and members

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Seven UW researchers have been named fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Left to Right (Top): Winfried Siemerling, Phelim Boyle, Zhongwei Chen, Donna Strickland. Left to Right (Bottom): Srinivasan Keshav, Raouf Boutaba, Michel Gingras. 

The University of Waterloo is undoubtedly an academic powerhouse.

On Sep 10, 2019, nine researchers at UW were elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

Seven were named fellows of the RSC while two were named to the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

This marks 83 current members at the university, chosen due to the excellence they achieved in the academies of science, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

The seven fellows elected for life were as follows: Donna Strickland (Physics and Astronomy), Winfried Siemerling (English Language and Literature), Phelm Boyle, Srinivasan Keshav (Cheriton School of Computer Science), Michel Gingras (Physics and Astronomy), Zhongwei Chen (Chemical Engineering), and Raouf Boutaba (Cheriton School of Computer Science).

Fellows are recognized for remarkable contributions to their fields of study and society, typically amassed after an extensive career.

The RSC invites the fellows to draw from their body of knowledge to discuss, debate and inform the Canadian public about issues that they may face.

In the words of the new fellow, Professor Keshav: “for me, the appointment means several things.

At one level, this helps the School of Computer Science attract the next generation of great students and faculty, which is important for our long-term success.

At a more personal level, besides the recognition of my past work, which is of course quite nice, I hope it will allow me a soapbox from which to advocate for my current passion, which is to use tools and ideas from computer science to fight climate change, especially by encouraging the adoption of renewable energy, making buildings more energy-efficient, and encouraging the use of alternatives to gas-guzzling cars.” 

Two UW researchers, Juewen Liu (Chemistry) and Nandita Basu (Civil and Environmental Engineering), were elected to the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, for a term of seven years. 

The strength of the society is found in the diversity of its members, be it in their background, their area of expertise, age, or experiences. What unites them – their excellence and commitment to bettering Canada’s understanding of the world and the issues it faces.   

When asked about his reaction to his election, Professor Siemerling said: “election to the Royal Society of Canada is an honour and recognition of my work that makes me proud, but it also speaks to the relevance of the fields that have made this work possible, such as English, Canadian, North American, and hemispheric literature, comparative literary, cultural, and decolonial studies, critical race theory, and so on.

And I feel that this recognition further shines a bright light on the context and support for research here at the University of Waterloo that has facilitated this work, which is of course always strengthened by strong and motivated students in the classroom and in our research teams.”

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