I’ll be scooting out to the Château Laurier tomorrow after work to watch the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada hand out its most prestigious prizes. Stephen Harper and Gary Goodyear will be there too, and while politics may make an appearance as a result, my hunch is that all concerned are hoping the focus will stay on science. I know I spend so much time writing about research policy I sometimes neglect to write about research itself. So I very much enjoyed taking some time tonight to learn about the nominees (one, two, three of them) for the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal and the recipients of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships (Two from McGill, two from UofT, one each from Calgary and Queen’s). Reading about their records and their ambitions, I learned that Ingrid Johnsrude, one of the Steacie recipients, once studied with Brenda Milner, who will be hard to beat for the Herzberg; and that Peter Tieleman, another Steacie winner, wrote his master’s thesis on John Buridan before moving to Canada in 2000, part of the brain gain that can accompany good science policy.
I have to admit I had never heard of Gerhard Herzberg, E.W.R. Steacie, Brenda Milner, John Buridan, or attosecond molecular filming before I started cramming for tommorow’s event. I encourage anyone who’s having a slow Monday to follow some of the links in this post. It’s fascinating stuff.