Three University of Toronto faculty have been recognized with medals by the Royal Society of Canada for outstanding achievement in research and scholarship. Six additional faculty were elected members of the organization.
The Royal Society of Canada presents scholars with 12 medals and awards every year. Founded in 1882, the society is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada. The society is dedicated to promoting education and the advancement of knowledge in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.
Robert Bothwell of the Munk School of Global Affairs, Shahrzad Mojab of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and Andrei Yudin of the Department of Chemistry received medals in their respective fields.
Professor Robert Bothwell was awarded the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal. A scholar of international history and Canadian political history, Bothwell received the medal specifically for his work on the history of Canada.
The RSC recognizes the work of scholars who integrate their teachings with their research, an attribute Bothwell claims helps him guide his work and shape his conclusions.
“There is no dichotomy between research and teaching — to me, they are part of a whole,” he said in an e-mail to The Varsity.
Bothwell jokes that he expected students to “strike matches on [him] to see if [he] was sufficiently statute-like,” after they found out about his medal.
Currently, Professor Bothwell is the Director of the International Relations program, and a published author of a dozen or so books including the Penguin History of Canada.
OISE Professor Shahrzad Mojab is the winner of the Award in Gender Studies. The award recognizes significant contributions by Canadian scholars in the humanities and social sciences to furthering understanding of issues concerning gender.
“I consider myself a scholar-activist,” Mojab told The Varsity in an interview. Her work is centered on issues concerning women, war, and learning. Feminism, anti-racism pedagogy, and adult education in comparative and global perspectives are also key components in her work.
The greatest hallmark of Mojab’s work lies in the innovative ways in which she disseminates her research projects. Her recent project Memories, Memoirs and the Arts featured female political prisoners from Iran relating their stories through different mediums of film, dance and story telling workshops
Mojab’s work has been cited extensively in the Canadian court system and in UN studies and reports pertaining to gender and equality.
She considers the award an honour, but she insists her colleagues and students deserve the recognition as much as she does: “I like to think about it as a contribution to a collective. My work is built upon the work of many of my other colleagues at the institute. It’s also the encouragement, support, and demand of my students who push the boundaries of my scholarship to be a better researcher and teacher.”
Chemistry Professor Andrei Yudin is the winner of the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry that recognizes outstanding research in any branch of physics.
Yudin has developed versatile mixtures that allow rapid synthesis of complex biologically active molecules.
According to Yudin, his lab has produced a synthetic reaction that can convert proteins into rings, forming molecules with immunosuppressive properties that can be useful after organ transplantation. His method of making the molecules has been used in collaboration with other labs.
“We have a number of therapeutic targets in mind and at the moment we are concentrating on making molecules with antibacterial and anticancer properties on the basis of reactions my students and I developed,” said Yudin in an e-mail to The Varsity.
Yudin plans to celebrate this honor with a night of drinking with his lab group.
“It is a closely knit lab and we like to celebrate these things because there is just so much hard work that goes into advancing science.”
The awards and medals attached to each of these honours will be given out at an official awards ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on November 27.