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Two Queen’s researchers receive Royal Society medals

Duo honoured for their achievements in environmental science and public awareness.

Two Queen’s University professors are being recognized by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) for their contributions to the environment and the public awareness of science.

Professors John Smol and Kerry Rowe
(Pictured L-R) Professor John Smol and Professor Kerry Rowe have been honoured by the Royal Society of Canada for their contributions to the environment and the public awareness of science.

Kerry Rowe, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, has been awarded the Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for his research and expertise in improving barrier systems for solid waste landfills, practice standards for protecting land and water resources from contamination and the rectification of past poor practices.

"I am of course delighted by the award,” says Dr. Rowe. “However, I see it not as an award for me but for my team of outstanding past and present graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, without whom the work could not have been conducted, and to my incredible colleagues in the Geoengineering Centre for their support and collaboration over my 15 years at Queen's."

Dr. Rowe is recognized by his peers as one of the pioneers in the field of geosynthetics, who combines theory, lab work and field studies to find solutions for practical engineering problems.

John Smol, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and 3M Teaching Fellow, is also being honoured by the Royal Society of Canada with the McNeil Medal for public awareness of science. 

“I am deeply honoured to win this medal from our national academy for science communication,” says Dr. Smol. “I have always believed that, if research is knowledge creation, then teaching –whether it is to students, policy makers, or the public-at-large –is knowledge communication. There is little point in doing one without the other.

“After all, the public has largely paid for the research we do in the first place, so they deserve our efforts in communicating science effectively,” says Dr. Smol.

This is the third RSC Medal Dr. Smol has received, having previously received the Miroslav Romanowski Medal for the environmental sciences and Flavelle Medal for biological sciences. His research has made profound and lasting contributions to identifying changes to the environment caused by humans, as well as greater public understanding of environmental issues.

The Miroslaw Romanowski Medal and McNeil Medal are two of 20 awards bestowed by the Royal Society of Canada for making an outstanding contribution to a particular field of study. They are awarded annually, biennially or at irregular intervals, depending on the nature of the award. For more information about the Royal Society of Canada’s awards, visit the website.