Five Ontario researchers receive Polanyi Prizes from Nobel winner

TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, five top Ontario university researchers were awarded the prestigious Polanyi Prizes for their extraordinary research, which ranges from studies on infidelity, to breakthroughs in quantum physics, and examinations of blood-feeders as transmitters of disease.

The Polanyi Prizes were created to celebrate John Charles Polanyi's 1986 Nobel Prize, and the areas of research they recognize mirror those of the Nobel Prizes. Polanyi Prize winners are awarded $20,000 by the Ontario government.

"The Polanyi Prizes are among the most coveted in Ontario, and recognize our most talented young researchers," says Max Blouw, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President of Wilfrid Laurier University. "These awards contribute tremendously to the research they acknowledge while elevating the status of research in our province and globally - we thank the Ontario government for this recognition."

Winners of the 2013 Polanyi Prizes:

  • Economic Science: Dr. Roland Pongou, University of Ottawa, is being recognized for his research into fidelity networks, which involve people who might choose to be unfaithful to their partners while expecting fidelity in return. Pongou's research highlights the impact of gender within these networks, and explains why women are more affected than men by HIV/AIDS in certain cultures. His research also explains why this epidemic is more concentrated in certain regions.
  • Physiology/Medicine: Dr. Jean-Paul Paluzzi, York University, wins the award for research into the biology of blood-feeders such as mosquitoes and ticks, which can transmit various animal and human diseases. Paluzzi's findings could help control these organisms as transmitters of disease.
  • Physics: Dr. J. Patrick Clancy, University of Toronto, is being recognized for his research into quantum materials using advanced X-ray and neutron scattering techniques. Clancy is examining the physics of iridium-based quantum materials, which could lead to innovations in quantum technology.
  • Physiology/Medicine: Dr. Diane Gregory, Wilfrid Laurier University, wins the award for examining spinal health in relation to the development of lower back pain. Gregory's research is expected to improve the understanding and treatment of spinal injuries.
  • Literature: Dr. David Francis Taylor, University of Toronto, is being recognized for his study of the role that political cartoons played in 18th-century Britain. Taylor demonstrates that these images often included complex references to literature, which served to limit political engagement to the well educated.

"The 2013 Polanyi Prize winners have received one of the highest honours researchers can achieve from this province," says COU President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson. "These awards encourage bright young researchers to pursue careers at our universities, ensuring that our province will continue to benefit from the real life applications of innovative research. Congratulations to the winners of this esteemed award."

The Polanyi Prizes are awarded annually to post-doctoral researchers in the early stages of their careers in a range of fields. The awards are created and funded by the Ontario government and administered by COU.

Learn more about the John Charles Polanyi Prizes.

COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

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SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
Telephone: 416-979-2165 x233
Cell phone: 647-271-0825
Email Wendy McCann


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