NSERC Awards: Moore gets a Steacie, Milner a runner-up for Herzberg medal

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill researcher Guy Moore has been awarded a coveted NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for his research in quantum physics.

The Steacies are awarded annually by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to enhance career development of highly promising university faculty who are already earning a strong international reputation for original research.

Moore, a professor in the Department of Physics, won for his research exploring the fundamental questions about the origins of the universe. His work involves research into the theory of quantum chromodynamics, a component of theoretical physics that explains the interactions of quarks and gluons, the fundamental elements that make up matter.

NSERC annually awards up to six Steacie Fellowships that last for two years. Successful fellows are relieved of teaching and administrative duties, so that they can devote their time and energy to research. The Fellowship normally includes a contribution to the winner’s university in the amount of $90,000 per year toward the Fellow’s salary.

For the second year in a row, Dr. Brenda Milner, the Dorothy J. Killam Professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill, was one of two runners-up for the Herzberg Medal, Canada’s most prestigious science prize. NSERC’s highest honour, the Medal celebrates Canada’s most outstanding scientists and engineers. It is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence and influence in research for a body of work conducted in Canada that has substantially advanced the natural sciences or engineering fields. This year’s winner is Professor Gilles Brassard, a computer science researcher from the Université de Montréal.

Milner has garnered numerous honours by pioneering a new field of research, a combination of psychology and neurology known today as cognitive neuroscience. Her research helped this emerging field develop and was invaluable for learning about the human brain. Milner began her research at the MNI in 1950 as a graduate student designing and carrying out rigorous tests of neurosurgical patients, including the famous patient H.M., whose surgery left him unable to form new memories. Her work with H.M. and other patients defined different types of memory and helped to characterize functional areas of the brain.

NSERC presented its most prestigious awards at a ceremony on Parliament Hill June 1. The event was attended by winners and their families, as well as Members of Parliament and guests from Canada’s science and engineering community.