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Ayers and Kallin awarded prestigous fellowships

Theoretical chemist Paul Ayers and theoretical physicist Catherine Kallin were honoured with national awards this week. Ayers was given an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship and Kallin was named a Killam Research Fellow.
Ayers and Kallin awarded prestigous fellowships

Paul Ayers and Catherine Kallin

Paul Ayers
February 27, 2013 (From NSERC's web site)

One of the major challenges of designing new substances is being able to predict the outcomes of chemical reactions. Predicting chemical phenomena could allow new medical therapies, as well as other technologies, to be developed much faster than is possible with traditional experimental chemistry approaches.

Paul Ayers is a leader in theoretical chemistry, and leads a research group that is developing computational and conceptual methods for understanding, predicting, interpreting and quantifying chemical phenomena. His research draws from expertise in chemistry, mathematics and computer programming. His wide-ranging contributions to the field have included purely mathematical concepts, unique algorithms and leading-edge computer programming.

This research focus is contributing to progress in developing new machine-learning methods for predicting the properties of molecules and materials, deciphering complex chemical reactions and designing new drugs.

Dr. Ayers, a 2013 recipient of an NSERC Steacie Fellowship, is now pursuing a new area of chemistry, strongly correlated systems, which includes molecular magnets and superconductors. He has developed computational techniques that would be applicable to this significant technological challenge. Future research will include converting such techniques into a computer program that puts these transformational ideas into practice.

His work in the field is significant as a fundamental theoretical interest, while also holding potential for application. For example, determining how a single molecule could behave like a tiny magnet could lead to advances in quantum computing, information storage, and refrigeration and air conditioning that is more environmentally friendly than current technologies.

Catherine Kallin

February 27, 2013 (From Canada Council for the Arts web site)

The Canada Council for the Arts, which administers the Fellowships, today announced that close to $1 million was being awarded to six successful applicants. Their projects were chosen by the national Killam Selection Committee, which included 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.

The Killam Program was established in memory of Izaak Walton Killam through the Will of his wife, Dorothy Killam, and through gifts made during her lifetime. Their primary purpose is to support advanced education and research at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Fellowships provide $70,000 a year for two years to each of the projects. They enable researchers to be released from teaching and administrative duties so that they can pursue independent research.

Catherine Kallin’s proposed research in physics is in the area of unconventional superconductivity in two materials that are of great current interest in the field. One is the cuprates, the family of superconductors with the highest transition temperatures discovered to date. The other is strontium ruthenate, which gives rise to a very different kind of superconductivity. She has recently laid key groundwork for specific problems in each of these areas that are of importance to the international community.

An article about Kallin can be found in The Hamilton Spectator here