McGill number theorist and earth scientist to receive Royal Society of Canada awards


Williams-Jones and Darmon honoured for extraordinary achievement in their fields

Two McGill University scholars are among the 12 Canadians to be honoured with RSC (Royal Society of Canada) medals and awards for outstanding scholarly achievements and contributions to knowledge and research in Canada. Prof. Henri Darmon, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, will be recognized with The John L. Synge Award and Prof. A.E. (Willy) Williams-Jones will be presented with The Bancroft Award at the RSC Awards Banquet on Nov. 15 in Ottawa.

“These are significant awards for magnificent work,” said Denis Thérien, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations). “We are very proud of their scholarly achievements and congratulate them on being recognized as among the best in their fields in Canada, indeed, in the world. Bravo!”

Prof. Henri Darmon, James McGill Professor, is among the top number theorists in Canada. His research is concerned with rational points on elliptic curves. His most visionary work started with his introduction, in 2001, of so-called Stark-Heegner points. Darmon's conjectures on Stark-Heegner points are remarkable in their originality, and will continue to inspire and guide mathematicians for many years.

The John L. Synge Award is given for outstanding research in any of the branches of the mathematical sciences. It was established in 1986 by RSC to honour John Lighton Synge (1897-1995), FRS, FRSC, one of the first mathematicians working in Canada to obtain international recognition through research in mathematics.

The work of A.E (Willy) Williams-Jones, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, stands out for its diversity and originality. Diversity, because it has ranged from petrology through field studies of mineral deposits and experimental studies of metal transporting fluids to environmental problems; originality because he has taken new approaches to so many problems. As a teacher, as a supervisor of students, or as a chair of the department, he is spoken of in the most glowing of terms.

The Bancroft award is given for publication, instruction, and research in the earth sciences that have conspicuously contributed to public understanding and appreciation of the subject. The Bancroft Award was endowed by Mrs. J.A. Bancroft in 1968 for instruction and research in the science of geology to honour Joseph Austin Bancroft (1882-1957), FRSC who was Dawson Professor at McGill University, 1913-1929.

Founded in 1882, the RSC is Canada’s oldest and most prestigious scholarly society. Its primary objective is to promote learning and research in the arts and sciences.

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