Lecture honours Canadian Nobel Prize winner Bertram Brockhouse

By Graham Jansz, October 11, 2005
    Sajeev John and Geoffrey Ozin will present the inaugural Brockhouse Lecture Wednesday, Oct. 12 at McMaster.

Photonics--using light to carry information--is an exciting field that may one day lead to microchips that function at the speed of light. This technology has the potential to revolutionize computing and communications.

The inaugural winners of the prestigious Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering, Sajeev John and Geoffrey Ozin will discuss their work on photonics at the Brockhouse Canada Prize Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Bertram Brockhouse, professor of physics at McMaster University from 1962 to 1984 personified the University's excellence in research, innovation and teamwork. Brockhouse's pioneering work ultimately led to the development of an invaluable tool used to study the detailed atomic structure of materials -- an achievement for which he was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize for Physics.

In tribute to the achievements and excellence of Bertram Brockhouse, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) created the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. This award will be given annually to a team of researchers who demonstrate the brilliance and vision that Brockhouse himself exemplified.

John, a theoretical physicist, and Ozin a materials chemist, both from the University of Toronto, were named to the Brockhouse prize in April 2004. Individually extremely gifted and accomplished researchers, John and Ozin have taken huge leaps and bounds into the field of photonics technology through their interdisciplinary collaboration. Photonic technology, which involves using light to carry information that would traditionally be carried electronically, is an exciting field that has the prospect of leading to microchips that function at the speed of light.

In order to use light effectively as an information carrier, researchers must first be able to control and manipulate it. As a PhD student John first theorized the possibility of trapping light, moving at nearly 300,000 kilometers per second, in an advanced microscopic cage. Despite being told repeatedly that this could never be done, John later presented his idea to Ozin. Remarkably, Ozin proceeded to build the 'impossible' cage. Since this achievement in 2000, John and Ozin have continued to work together to improve the efficiency and application of their photonic devices.

McMaster University and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research have partnered to sponsor the Brockhouse Canada Prize Lecture and invite you to attend the inaugural address, which will be presented by John and Ozin.

This free public lecture will take place in McMaster University's Convocation Hall, University Hall, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.12  commemorating the date, 11 years ago, when Dr. Brockhouse became a Nobel laureate.

To reserve your seat, please call 905-525-9140 extension 27965, or e-mail research@mcmaster.ca.

(The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) program was launched in 1999 at 10 universities across Canada. Through SPARK, students with an aptitude for communications are recruited, trained and paid to write stories based on the NSERC supported research at participating universities.)