Over 24 U of T alumni and faculty have been named to or promoted within the Order of Canada as of December 27. Established in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes individuals for outstanding accomplishments in varying fields that impact and contribute to Canadian society.

There are three tiers of membership within the order: Member, Officer, and Companion, with Companion being the highest ranking. The order is one of the highest civilian honours in the country after the Order of Merit.

Among the recipients appointed by Governor General and U of T alum Julie Payette are mathematics professor Dr. James Arthur and artificial intelligence pioneer Dr. Geoffrey Hinton — they are the only two members of the university community to be named as Companions this year.

Arthur, a professor in the Department of Mathematics since 1978, was recognized for his research and contributions to contemporary mathematics, particularly introducing the Arthur–Selberg trace formula and Arthur conjectures, complex formulas that support the trace formula theory.

Arthur was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1981, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. More recently, he was named a fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013 and won the prestigious Wolf Prize in mathematics in 2015.

“I have had scientific recognition in Canada, but I feel very proud – and thrilled – to be recognized more broadly with the Order of Canada,” Arthur stated in a U of T press release.

Hinton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science, was recognized as a pioneer in artificial intelligence and deep learning, a branch of computer science that mimics human learning and development in technology.

Hinton also boasts many achievements in the field, having won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category and the IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award in 2016, as well as the 2010 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

He was also elected a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 for his work in artificial neural networks in relation to speech recognition.

Many other community members from the life sciences were named as Members to the Order of Canada. Mary L’Abbé, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, was recognized for her work on nutrition quality of North American foods.

Physics professor Pekka Sinervo was recognized for his work on electromagnetic forces, atoms, and molecules. Sinervo has previously served as dean of U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science.

Arthur Slutsky, a U of T professor of medicine, surgery, and biomedical engineering, was also recognized for his research on acute respiratory failure, non-conventional ventilation, classic respiratory mechanics, and the significance of lung protective ventilator strategies in decreasing mortality rates among patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.