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University Professor Wins Ontario's Most Prestigious Science Prizes

Published on May 13, 2009 at 6:50 AM

Dr. Paul Corkum, an attosecond science researcher at the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa, is this year's winner of one of Ontario's most prestigious science prizes.

The $500,000 Premier's Discovery Award for Natural Sciences and Engineering is awarded annually to a researcher who demonstrates leading-edge achievements in the study of physical sciences or engineering.

"The Government of Canada congratulates Dr. Corkum for his groundbreaking research in the field of attosecond science," said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "His important scientific discoveries inspire Canadian researchers from coast to coast to innovate science-based solutions in priority areas such as health and wellness, sustainable energy and the environment."

"NRC is proud of Dr. Corkum, who is widely regarded as one of the world's premier researchers in the field of attosecond science," said NRC President Dr. Pierre Coulombe. "This cutting-edge research provides the ultimate window into what's happening at the molecular level and helps scientists study the fastest processes in atomic and molecular physics."

An attosecond - the number one to 18 decimal places - equals one billionth of a billionth of a second. To put this in perspective, one attosecond is to one second as a second is to the age of the universe.

"It is an honour for the University of Ottawa, one of Canada's top research-intensive universities, to have Dr. Corkum among its researchers," said Allan Rock, President of the University of Ottawa. "Dr. Corkum is known as the father of the attosecond pulse. His work in attosecond science continues to break new boundaries in science and technology."

Dr. Corkum's research focuses on ways to control the movement of electrons as they speed along inside molecules, which promises breakthrough applications in fields ranging from quantum computing to diagnostic medicine.

Meanwhile, his work as an experimental physicist has already garnered several honours and prizes, including election to the U.S. National Academy of Science, this year's $1 million Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, a Killam Prize, a Polanyi Award for outstanding achievement in the field of natural sciences, and the Order of Canada.

About the National Research Council and the University of Ottawa

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

The University of Ottawa's commitment to research excellence and interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation attract the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world. The collaborative relationship between NRC and the University of Ottawa is a shining example of a partnership that leverages Canada's public research base to maximize our competitive advantage.

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