Fellowships awarded to two physics and astronomy researchers

By Susan Bubak, February 23, 2007

    Dr. Bruce Gaulin, professor, condensed matter physics (experimental), and Dr. William Harris (below), professor, astrophysics (observational), received the Killam Research Fellowships, which are worth $70,000 a year. File photos.
Two McMaster researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy have received Killam Research Fellowships that will enable them to devote two years to full-time research. The announcement was made by the Canada Council for the Arts yesterday.

McMaster is the only university to receive two Killam Research Fellowships this year. The Department of Physics and Astronomy has received three of these fellowships in the past two years.

Dr. Bruce Gaulin, professor, condensed matter physics (experimental), and Dr. William Harris, professor, astrophysics (observational), are recipients of the Killam Research Fellowships, which are worth $70,000 a year. Cliff Burgess, professor, subatomic physics, received a Killam Research Fellowship in 2005.

"This is a strong endorsement not only of these three exceptional and talented researchers, but also of the climate of outstanding research within the department and university that they benefit from," said Dr. David Venus, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. John Capone, dean of the Faculty of Science, said the honour is well-deserved for both researchers and a recognition of their important contributions.

"The Killam Fellowships are among the most prestigious awards and the competition is great," said Capone. "To garner two awards in one discipline speaks volumes to the calibre of our researchers and the impact of research activity in the Faculty of Science."

Gaulin's research focus is Neutron Scattering Studies of Exotic Magnetic Ground States in New Materials. Harris's area of expertise is The Formation and Early Evolution of Giant Galaxies.

"I'm very pleased," said Gaulin. "It's a great thing for McMaster and physics and astronomy because the two winners were from our department. It's a reflection of how strong our research is and how strong McMaster is."

Harris expressed similar sentiments about the fellowship.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be recognized in this way from a Foundation that is so clearly devoted to genuine research and scholarship in Canada, regardless of academic borders and boundaries," said Harris. "It's going to allow me and my colleagues the time to build some new paths that we would simply not have been able to do otherwise."

Gaulin and Harris are among ten Canadian researchers who have been awarded a total of $700,000 in the 40th annual competition for Killam Research Fellowships, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Among Canada's most distinguished research awards, the Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowships are made possible by a bequest of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam and a gift she made before her death in 1965.

The awards support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields.

The recipients are chosen by the Killam Selection Committee, which consists of 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines. This year, the committee received 74 applications.

For more information about how to apply for research awards and prizes, please click here.