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Dalhousie researcher receives Canada's top science award

Posted by Media Centre on February 17, 2015 in Science, Research, News
Dr. Axel Becke, a computational chemist with Dalhousie University, will be awarded the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering this evening. (John Sherlock photo)
Dr. Axel Becke, a computational chemist with Dalhousie University, will be awarded the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering this evening. (John Sherlock photo)


HALIFAX, N.S. – February 17, 2015 – Dalhousie University is honoured to join the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to celebrate Dr. Axel Becke, a professor in the Faculty of Science, and his pioneering achievements in the field of computational chemistry.

Dr. Becke will receive NSERC’s most prestigious award: the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the award at a ceremony this evening in Ottawa’s Rideau Hall.

“It’s a huge honour,” says Dr. Becke, Killam Chair in Computational Science and Harry Shirreff Professor of Chemical Research. “What’s great is that it’s awarded by the funding agency that’s supported me throughout my career, and to receive it towards the end of that career is really special.”

The Herzberg Medal, a $1-million research award, recognizes sustained excellence and influential Canadian research that has substantially advanced natural sciences and engineering fields.

“The Herzberg Medal is the highest Canadian honour in natural sciences and engineering,” says Dr. Martha Crago, vice-president of research at Dalhousie University. “‎It’s a wonderful recognition of the enormous contribution Dr. Becke has made to his field. Dalhousie University is extremely proud.”

As one of the most cited scientists in the world, Dr. Becke’s influential work shifted the landscape of computational chemistry. He has over 100,000 citations to his name and the scientific journal Nature has ranked two of his papers among the world’s top 25 most-cited of all time. His curiosity for discovery has made the once-limited density-functional theory (DFT) applicable to faster and more accurate modelling of the movement of electrons. This advance was instrumental in many industries, from pharmaceutical development to clean energy.

Learn more about Dr. Becke's research on Dal News

Last year, Dr. Ford Doolittle with Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine was awarded the Herzberg for his work in molecular genetics. Dalhousie is honoured that its researchers have been awarded the Herzberg Medal two years in a row.

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Links

VIDEO - NSERC Presents: A Conversation with Axel Becke

Images

Dr. Axel Becke
During his acceptance speech at Rideau Hall, Feb. 17, 2015
Photo Credit: Sgt. Ronald Duchesne
Download Hi-Res image
 
Dr. Axel Becke and The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall, Feb. 17, 2015
Photo Credit: Sgt. Ronald Duchesne
Download Hi-Res image

 

Contacts:

Nikki Comeau
Communications Officer
Dalhousie University
(902) 494-4189 / (902) 222-8810
nikki.comeau@dal.ca

Janet Bryson
Senior Communications Advisor
Dalhousie University
(902) 494-1269 / (902) 222-9379
janet.bryson@dal.ca

Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
(613) 943-7618
media@nserc-crsng.gc.ca


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