Seven professors to be honoured by Royal Society of Canada


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Chris Wood of the Department of Biology was awarded the Miroslaw Romanowski medal for his work on metal toxicity in aquatic ecosystems. Photo by Chantall Van Raay.”]Chris Wood of the Department of Biology is one of seven professors to be honoured by the Royal Society of Canada, the organization announced recently in releasing its annual list of new fellows. It is the largest contingent of McMaster faculty to receive awards in a single year, bringing to 70 the number of faculty members who have been invited to join the Society.

Wood's award differs from that of his colleagues. He is already an RSC member, but this year the Society awarded him the Miroslaw Romanowski medal for his work on metal toxicity in aquatic ecosystems.

Wood's research focus has been on regulating the metal content of water, be it in Amazon and Negro rivers of Brazil or the lakes and streams of Canada's Canadian Shield.

There is no one solution to water quality, says Wood — some species require a certain metal content in their water in order to survive, whereas that content in another body of water could decimate certain plants or fish life. Wood's work, therefore, has involved developing a model that tailors the water chemistry to the individual requirements of lakes and rivers. It's a model that has been adopted around the world.

In addition to Wood, six professors were inducted into the RSC as new fellows.

Those receiving citations from the Academy of Social Sciences are:

  • Daphne Maurer, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
  • Geoffrey Norman, Educational Research & Development

    Those receiving citations from the Academy of Science are:

  • Walter Craig, Department of Mathematics & Statistics
  • Brian Haynes, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
  • John MacGregor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Max Wong, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

    Founded in 1882, the RSC is Canada's oldest and most prestigious scholarly organization, and election to its membership is considered the highest honour among scholars, artists and scientists in Canada.

    The announcement brings to 70 the total number of professors at McMaster who have been elected to the RSC. This year's fellows will be inducted at a ceremony in Edmonton on Nov. 17.

    Walter Craig, professor, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has made lasting contributions to the area of nonlinear partial differential equations, particularly as they apply to the mathematical study of water waves. As director of the Applied and Industrial Mathematics Laboratory at McMaster, he has served as a mentor and academic leader for hundreds of young mathematicians.

    Improving clinical and health care through better ways to retrieve and disseminate health care information is the focus of Brian Haynes's work. A professor and chair in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Haynes was the first to probe an international array of medical journal articles, discovering that less than one percent of the diagnosis, prognosis and treatments espoused by the articles were scientifically valid and clinically applicable. He set up a health knowledge repository of both evidence-based journals and Internet information services.

    Daphne Maurer, professor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, is internationally recognized for her work concerning the developmental and perceptual world of infants. Her research found that infants perceive an organized world of colour and form, and one that is continually fine-tuned throughout development, challenging previous theories that infants experience a “blooming, buzzing confusion.”

    John MacGregor, professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, has made contributions to the areas of data analytic methods, advanced process control and polymer reaction engineering. His pioneering research on latent variable modeling was adopted by businesses around the world for its method of analysis, monitoring and quality control. His research in batch processes has been similarly influential, and has helped to define the field.

    A professor and assistant dean of the Program for Educational Research & Development, Geoffrey Norman has earned international recognition in the area of medical education by probing clinical reasoning, in particular, the thought process used by doctors when arriving at a diagnosis. He has won a number of prestigious awards for his accomplishments in improving the teaching and assessment of medical students.

    Max Wong, professor and chair, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, is a leader in signal processors in communication, radar and sonar systems. He has solved design problems in line and wireless communications previously thought impossible. Wong's inventions include the transmultiplexer and the wavelet echo canceller, used in telephone systems. His algorithms in target detection and estimation are used in defence systems.