Skip to Content

Professor emeritus Henry van Driel wins prestigious national physics award

Henry van Driel, professor emeritus in the Department of Physics, has been awarded the prestigious 2021 Peter Kirkby Memorial Medal for Outstanding Service to Canadian Physics by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP).

Published on December 8, 2021 - by Sean McNeely - A&S News

Since 1966, CAP-COMP Peter Kirkby Memorial Medal winners have been recognized for strengthening the Canadian physics community, enhancing the profession of physical scientists, effectively communicating physics to the non-scientific community, and making physics more attractive as a career.

The award is a joint initiative from CAP, representing over 1600 physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas; and COMP, comprising over 700 medical physicists and graduate students working in areas such as medical imaging, cancer therapy and medical biophysics.

The two groups announced van Driel as the winner for “his outstanding service to the Canadian physics community over a period of more than forty-five years, which has included international efforts, great service to the CAP, work with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) on behalf of Canadian physics, and editorial service to distinguished journals in North America.”

“It is a humbling honour to be recognized for efforts to serve the physics community in Canada and abroad,” says van Driel. “This award represents a truly welcome bright spot during this interminable pandemic.”

“This is a well-deserved recognition of Henry's long and distinguished record of service to physics, both in Canada and internationally,” says Department of Physics chair Kimberly Strong.

“His leadership of the physics department, multiple physics societies, advisory and editorial boards, and conference committees, as well as his mentoring of many students and postdoctoral fellows, has significantly strengthened physics in Canada."

According to CAP-COMP, van Driel’s international impact has been widespread, helping Canada “punch above its weight” within the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), where he served from 1993 to 2002, and was vice-chair of a commission for three years.

As chair of the Canadian National-IUPAP liaison committee, he helped elect nine Canadian scientists who served on 17 commissions, which is considered an outsized contribution for Canada.

Read the full story in A & S News here:

Read the CAP announcement here:

Read more on Henry van Driel here: