Eight faculty members named Royal Society of Canada fellows

Eight faculty members have been named fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The RSC is an institution that comprises the arts, humanities and sciences — one of its main purposes is to promote learning and research in the three academics. The fellowship comprises over 2,000 Canadian scholars, artists and scientists who are peer-elected as the best in their field.

Michael Devereux - Economics

Michael Devereux is a well-established international finance economist, with insights used globally. Devereux has been able to travel frequently for work, visiting places ranging from Hong Kong to France, and enjoys the vitality and optimism of the people in Asia. By traveling he has been able to hear new ideas and learn.

In an interview with The Ubyssey, Devereux explained why he chose international finance and macroeconomics as his main area of study, and said, “It was an article I read as an undergrad that was written by the great Canadian economist, Robert Mundell. When I read it as an undergrad I was so excited by the ideas in it.”

Sally Aitken - Forest and conservation sciences

Sally Aitken is a professor in the department of forest and conservation sciences. She is interested in the magnitude to which tree species are able to adapt to certain conditions and investigates the ability of populations of trees to adapt to future climates. Aitken has received multiple awards, including the Canadian Forestry Scientific Achievement Award in 2009 and the UBC Killiam Teaching Prize in 2010.

Margery Fee - English

Margery Fee is well-known for her research ranging from Canadian English lexicography to Indigenous literature, and is currently working on a book on polar bears in the Reaktion Press Animal series. Fee has had an outstanding career, making her mark as a woman in a profession of academia, which she describes as a “world that was really designed for men.”

I was good at school but women weren’t expected to become university professors,” she said.

Guy Dumont - Electrical and computer engineering

Guy Dumont is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and is a world-renowned expert on adaptive and process control. He has expanded his interests to biomedical engineering and has received multiple awards, including an award in 2002 for the development of Honeywell’s Intellimap cross-direct technology. This year, Dumont received one of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Synergy Awards for Innovation on developing low-cost medical devices for low-income countries.

Gary Hinshaw - Physics and astronomy

From a young age, Gary Hinshaw looked for the answers to questions such as “where did we come from” and “how did we come to be here.” When Hinshaw saw cosmology as a connection between math, science and philosophy and the interesting questions that are asked, he knew that cosmology was the right direction. He explained that one the hardest things is recognizing when and where a mistake is made, making sense of it and ensuring that the mistake is then corrected.

When not at work, Professor Hinshaw and his wife take care of their recently adopted three-legged, blind dog from Thailand.

Hinshaw was incredibly flattered to receive the award, and in an interview said, “My recognition in this society ... I owe it to the kindness of nature.”

Dominic Lopes - Philosophy

Dominic Lopes explores the world of aesthetics and theories of art and its value. In an email to The Ubyssey, Lopes described the theoretical question currently on his mind: “what reason do we have to devote so much of ourselves to our aesthetic enthusiasms — from playing piano to tea tasting to fashion and design.”

“My parents came from very modest backgrounds and my grandparents had very little education. The honour means a lot when you come from people who never had any recognition,” said Lopes. He has written six books and many articles, thinking outside the box and trusting his creative instincts.

Laurel Schafer - Chemistry

Laurel Schafer is a professor in the department of chemistry. Schafer began her career at UBC in 2001, later becoming a professor in 2012. She is a leader in the study of catalyst discovery and her work has led to more than 60 publications. Schafer has developed new catalytic systems, which reduce waste and increase energy efficiency. She has received numerous awards, including the Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award for Organic Synthesis in 2004.

Jiujun Zhang - Chemical and Biological Engineering

Jiujun Zhang is a leading figure in the field of electrochemistry and an expert in modern fuel cell technology. Zhang was awarded two Ballard innovation awards and acts as an editor as well as editorial board member for several academic journals. He has over 450 publications and has taken part in major government-industry collaborations. Zhang is an adjunct professor at eight universities in China, Brazil and Canada.