Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Arts and Science

William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


Four Queen’s teams supported by Lab2Market Program

This fall, four Queen’s research teams had the opportunity to take part in a national-level pilot program designed to aid them in bringing their ideas to market. Aptly named Lab2Market (L2M), the program was delivered jointly by Dalhousie University, Memorial University, and Ryerson University.

Eighteen teams from seven universities (Dalhousie University, McMaster University, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, York University, University of Waterloo, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology) took part in the program, with each participating team tackling its own unique problem using their research and technology. Each team received programming that led them through the process of how to bring their product to market, getting feedback from customers as well as how to pitch and find financing for their business.

Launched by Ryerson University in September 2020, three teams from Queen’s was part of the first cohort of the L2M program. Another cohort, including one team from Queen’s, is completing the program through Dalhousie University.

Queen’s University L2M Teams
Toronto cohort

Jaddie Ho, Philip Jessop and Michael Cunningham
Project: CO2-responsive agents for protective coatings

Adnan El Makdah, Kai Zhang and David Rival
Project: Hybrid low-Inertia Turbine Storage System (HITSS).

Yang Chen and Yan-Fei Liu
Project: 65W digital PD (power delivery) adapter.

Halifax cohort
Joshua Galler and David Rival
Project: Passive airborne sensor system.

“We heard about L2M through Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation,” says Philip Jessop from Queen’s University’s Department of Chemistry. “Our PhD student Jaddie Ho, who participated in the Toronto cohort has found the program invaluable in how to bring their research into a commercial product.”

Ho’s project involved CO2-responsive agents for protective coatings. Other teams from Queen’s who participated in the program include Adnan El Makdah and Kai Zhang who are working on a hybrid low-inertia turbine storage system (HITSS); Yang Chen, working on a 65W digital PD (power delivery) adapter; and Joshua Galler, who is participating in the Dalhousie cohort, is working on a passive airborne sensor system.

“With several programs and experts available to support innovation, Queen’s University is delighted to see four teams selected to participate in the first L2M program, a national level cohort-based program,” says Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation). “Professors Philip Jessop, Michael Cunningham, David Rival, and Yan-Fei Liu, the four faculty members who are supervising the Queen’s participants, are prime examples of researchers and inventors who work closely with the innovation and knowledge mobilization support available at Queen’s. Faculty members and students participating in these types of programs will provide the ‘hands-on’ experience for these teams to help grow Canada’s knowledge-based economy.”

As this cohort is wrapping up, there is opportunity to take part in a future L2M cohort. The next Toronto Lab2Market team will be running an industry agnostic cohort to support researchers and entrepreneurs in their journey of validating their idea, using the lean methodology. The application for this cohort opens in February 2021 for participation in the May 2021 program

Research award renamed after Queen’s University Nobel Laureate

Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships will recognize early-stage academic researchers

Arthur McDonald
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has named a national prize in honour of Queen’s University Nobel Laurate Arthur McDonald.

Queen’s University Nobel Laurate Arthur McDonald has been honoured by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with a national prize in his name.  

The Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships will recognize early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and support them to enhance their research capacity, so that they can become global leaders in their field. Worth $250,000 over two years, these awards were previously known as the EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowships and 10 have previously been awarded to Queen’s researchers including John Smol, Troy Day, Ahmed Hassan, and Peter Boag. 

Unlike NSERC’s other prizes, which recognize previous research accomplishments, the McDonald Fellowship supports ongoing and future research and therefore comes with an additional grant of up to $180,000 to the winner’s university to fund a replacement for the winner’s teaching and administrative responsibilities. 

“This is a tremendous honour from NSERC,” says Dr. McDonald. “I am particularly pleased because these fellowships will support early-stage academic researchers at a critical point in their careers. I know that there will be wonderful results in future from these creative young Fellows who will be given time and resources to pursue an innovative new idea.” 

Joining Queen’s in 1989 as a professor in the physics department, Dr. McDonald worked as the director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), the world’s deepest underground laboratory. The SNO team discovered that neutrinos – sub-atomic particles considered the basic building blocks of the universe – change from one type to another on their journey to Earth from the sun. This finding confirmed that these fundamental particles have a finite mass and that the current models for energy generation in the sun are very accurate. 

For his research efforts, Dr. McDonald was named the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for SNO’s research into neutrinos. 

“The Queen’s community and Canadians continue to be inspired by the work of Dr. McDonald and his collaborators in helping us understand the fundamental building blocks of the universe,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “Throughout his career, Dr. McDonald has been a mentor and advocate for early-stage researchers across disciplines, and his name being attributed to this award is very fitting.” 

A second Nobel Laureate, Donna Strickland also had an NSERC award named in her honour. The NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research will be awarded annually to an individual or team whose outstanding research has led to exceptional benefits for Canadian society, the environment and/or the economy. 

Learn more about Dr. McDonald’s Path to the Nobel.  

Queen’s Remembers Professor Emeritus Edward Farrar

Edward FarrarThe Queen’s community is remembering Edward (Ed) Farrar, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, who died Sunday Nov. 8 after years of living with vascular dementia.

Dr. Farrar received his B.A. in physics from the University of Toronto in 1959 and a year later earned a master’s in physics (meteorology) from the same institution. After working for three years as meteorologist at the air force base in Goose Bay, Labrador, he returned to the University of Toronto where he earned a Ph.D. in geophysics in 1966. During this period, he researched methods of potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating of rocks in the geochronology laboratory of Professor Derek York.

In 1966, Dr. Farrar joined the Department of Geological Sciences at Queen’s University and established his own geochronology lab. He also served as head of the department from 1981 to 1986.

Dr. Farrar’s teaching and research at Queen’s centered on problems in geophysics, geochronology and geotectonics. His PhD thesis and early work at Queen’s were a major contribution to the field of geochronology (concerned with investigating the age and history of the Earth). His demonstration that the AEI MS-10 mass spectrometer – an inexpensive, simple leak detector – could be re-purposed to do accurate and precise quantitative argon isotope analyses was revolutionary for geochronology and resulted in the proliferation of K-Ar labs worldwide. The work was published in Nature in 1964. The fact that most modern geochronology labs are in geoscience departments, can be traced back to Dr. Farrar's ground-breaking work. 

Dr. Farrar authored and co-authored more than 60 papers in refereed scientific journals, and he supervised and co-supervised more than 30 graduate students.

Dr. Farrar was interred near Cobourg on Thursday, Nov. 12. 

An obituary written by his colleagues, Professors Emeriti John Dixon and Hewart (Herb) Helmstaedt, with contributions by Dr. Doug Archibald, is available on the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering website.

Two Queen’s students earn Rhodes Scholarships

Matthew Hynes and Jevon Marsh
Matthew Hynes, a second-year medical student, and Jevon Marsh, who recently earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Queen's, have been selected as 2021 Rhodes Scholars. (Supplied / Mike Ritter/Memorial University)

Queen’s University students Matthew Hynes and Jevon Marsh have been selected as 2021 Rhodes Scholars, earning each of them a prestigious scholarship to the University of Oxford worth more than $100,000.

With their selection, Hynes, a second-year medical student, and Marsh, who recently earned a master’s degree in chemistry, bring the university’s overall Rhodes Scholars total to 60.

“On behalf of Queen’s, I congratulate Jevon and Matthew on this great accomplishment,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Their academic careers, community commitments, and records of achievement are inspiring to us all, and I have no doubt that they will both thrive during their time at Oxford.”

During his time at Queen’s Hynes has served as co-director for the Medical Variety Night charity show as well as steering committee member on the Canadian Queer Medical Students Association. His current research interests are focused on 2SLGBTQ+ populations and dermatology.

Hynes completed his BSc at the University of New Brunswick where he performed research in molecular microbiology and co-founded the UNB Lifesaving Sport Team.

Following Oxford, he intends to complete his MD and pursue a career as an advocacy-oriented physician.

“I am thrilled to continue my education at the University of Oxford made possible by the Rhodes Scholarship,” Hynes says. “I would like to thank my family, friends, Queen’s Medicine community, and the many incredible mentors from both UNB and Queen’s who have supported me on this journey. I am excited to expand my global perspective and meet fellow advocacy-oriented leaders while completing my MSc in Epidemiology and Master of Public Policy. This opportunity will better enable me to effectively implement social policy changes to further support marginalized communities.”

Marsh recently received a Master of Science degree in chemistry from Queen’s after completing his undergraduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Outside of academia he is an active volunteer working largely as a mental health advocate, where he helped pioneer a peer support program at Memorial. He is an Alexander Graham Bell National Scholar and has won numerous awards throughout his academic career.

At Oxford, Marsh will pursue a DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry where he will focus on the development of novel therapies as potential treatments for children with rare brain cancers.

“I am very grateful to have been selected for the Rhodes Scholarship and I am excited for my next chapter at Oxford,” Marsh says "It is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to continue growing as a chemist and be a part of a group of inspiring individuals from all around the world. I am so thankful to everyone that has supported me throughout my journey – my parents, family, friends, and the fantastic mentors I have had at Queen's, Memorial and abroad. I am excited to begin my DPhil in Chemistry at Oxford in Autumn of 2021, where I will develop novel therapeutics for rare brain cancers.”

Funded by the Rhodes Trusts, 11 Rhodes Scholars are selected each year from across Canada. These outstanding students demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as “leaders for the world’s future.”

The scholarships to Oxford University are for postgraduate studies or a second bachelor’s degree and cover tuition and fees and provides a stipend to help cover living expenses for two to three years of study while at Oxford.

Learn more about Rhodes Scholarships.

Bolstering Black Studies

The 2020-21 Queen’s National Scholar program is set to boost diversity, capacity, and academic excellence in interdisciplinary Black Studies.

A university’s true strengths are derived from its ability to offer rich and rewarding learning experiences, and its pursuit of discovery and innovation. For many years, the Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) program has secured emerging leaders in teaching and research to continually advance academic distinction in these areas.

In line with the annual program’s long-standing commitment to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, the 2020-21 QNS competition will serve to expand the interdisciplinary field of Black Studies at Queen’s. This announcement follows Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane’s commitment to hire more faculty to support the new BA Minor/General in Black Studies, and aligns with actions pledged in the university’s Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism.

New this year is the establishment of a QNS Chair in Black Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science, which will play a pivotal leadership role in the expansion of Black Studies at Queen’s. In addition, two QNS appointments to support the Black Studies program are also open to all faculties and schools.

“The Queen’s National Scholar program attracts top talent, ensuring growth and renewal of our university’s efforts to advance research and provide an exceptional student learning experience,” says Principal Deane. “This year, we are excited to announce that the program will be dedicated to delivering on our promise to launch a BA Minor/General in Black Studies, boosting our capacity for excellence in this important field and championing greater diversity among our faculties.”

The Black Studies Minor, which is expected to launch in fall 2021, will create cohesion among existing Black Studies courses offered in the Faculty of Arts and Science. These include courses related to Caribbean political economies, water politics in Southern Africa, black sound studies, African American history, black feminist thought, black geographies, and more.

In recent years, QNS appointments have been made in a variety of disciplines across faculties and schools, including Environmental Geochemistry, International community-based rehabilitation, and Aboriginal & Migrant Literatures.

For more on the 2020-21 QNS program, including how to submit expressions of interest, visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

Queen's remembers Professor Emeritus David B. McLay

The Queen’s community is remembering Professor Emeritus David B. McLay of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, who died Sunday, Nov. 8. He was 92.

Professor Emeritus David B. McLay

Raised in Hamilton, Dr. McLay received his BSc from McMaster University in 1950 and then his Master’s in 1951. He would then earn his PhD from the University of British Columbia in molecular physics in 1956.

Dr. McLay first taught at Victoria College (now University of Victoria), and then University of New Brunswick before arriving at Queens University in 1961 as a professor of physics. His research focused on molecular physics and he set up a microwave spectrometer to study molecules containing nuclei with electric quadrupole moments. He went on to investigate dielectric relaxation and electron spin resonance in the microwave region, and pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance in the radio frequency region.

In 1976 Dr. McLay was appointed Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Arts and Science, where he was responsible for handling all undergraduate student issues in the faculty. All issues included degree programs, courses, curriculum, individual academic and personal problems and telephone calls from mothers. He served for over a decade with great dedication and empathy for students.

During his time at Queen’s he also acted as coordinator for Queen's students to tutor high school students and worked with Queen’s students for the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

Away from the university he spent many hours volunteering for his church and as a chaplain at the Kingston Penitentiary. He was a long-time member of the Kingston Choral Society.

In 1993 he retired and was appointed Professor Emeritus.

In retirement he continued to learn and earned a BA in Art Conservation (1998), a BA in Art History (2001), and a Master's in Art History (2007), all at Queen’s. He developed an interest in the history of physics at Queen’s and supported the physics department’s collection of  historical scientific instruments. He wrote a comprehensive history: 125 years of Physics at Queen’s University, in which he chronicled the great pioneers who made the university a wonderful institution.

A small private service was held on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Online condolences may be made at reidfuneralhome.com.

Leveraging creative potential during a pandemic

Queen’s University researchers respond to a critical need with unique music program Rise, ShineSing!

The Accessible and Inclusive Music Theatre project, led by Queen’s researchers Julia Brook and Colleen Renihan, is embarking on its second year of investigating how participation in an accessible online music and movement program can improve well-being and foster creativity, particularly among older adults.  

The first year of the program Rise, ShineSing! included three weeks of in-person sessions at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts which saw sessions of 50 people in the rehearsal hall, singing and moving together, followed by 12 weeks of online sessions over Zoom. 

We came together as a team to consider what a collaborative approach to these wicked problems of ageism in music theatre, loneliness, and a lack of understanding about the creative potential of people throughout the lifespan could yield,” says Dr. Renihan, whose research investigates issues of voice, cultural memory, and empathy in opera and music theatre. 

After moving online due to the pandemic, Drs. Brook and Renihan decided to continue the program, based on its early success. 

We determined this program filled a significant need in the community,” says Dr. BrookWe are both community-minded musicians and scholars, wanting to work and make beautiful change in our local community here in Kingston. We believe in the flexibility that music theatre offers with its combination of music, story, and movement. We believe that one can thrive and be creative across the lifespan. 

Dr. Renihan adds for the second year of the program they are aiming to share their findings through publication, public presentations, and through the formation of a national network of researchers and creators with similar goalsThey are also interested in the effects of participation in this kind of creative work on well-being. Finally, with the pandemic, they are investigating the surprising gains of engaging in performance and creation over Zoom. 

The second year of the program includes participants from outside of Kingston, including some people from long-term care homes, recognizing the need in this community for interaction, connection, and artistic stimulation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During each weekly session, participants engage in a series of vocal and movement warm-ups, and sing and dance to a repertoire of folk, musical theatre, and popular hits. 

“Our project aims to find ways to help people of all ages and abilities to leverage their creative and artistic potentials in a digital space,” says Dr. Brook, whose research area focused on music education. 

This research project is currently recruiting participants of all ages and abilities: No previous singing or dancing experience is required, and no digital savvy beyond clicking the Zoom link is needed. 

To find out more, sign up for a weekly newsletter and get the Zoom link to participate by visiting the project’s website at www.riseshinesing.ca. 

The Accessible and Inclusive Music Theatre Project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University. 

A steward of the environment

Queen’s University researcher John Smol has earned Canada’s Massey Medal, which honours him for his lifetime work in studying environmental stressors.

John Smol in the Northwest Passage
John Smol in the Northwest Passage. (Supplied photo).

Queen’s University researcher John Smol has been awarded the 2020 Massey Medal for his work in the fields of biology and environmental science. 

Dr. Smol is the 61st recipient of the medal, which was established by the Massey Foundation and has been awarded annually by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 1959. It was created to recognize outstanding career achievements in the exploration, development, or description of the geography of Canada. 

“I am deeply honoured to have been named the 2020 Massey Medalist, which in large part reflects the hard work of a large number of dedicated students and colleagues that I have had the good fortune to work with,” says Dr. Smol. “It feels odd to get an award for something you love doing. I have had the honour of working on environmental change issues, especially as they relate to lakes, from all 10 provinces and three territories of this beautiful country that we have the privilege to live in.” 

Dr. Smol holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen's. He founded and now co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), which is dedicated to the study of long-term global environmental change. 

During his extensive career, Dr. Smol has changed how we monitor and assess the Canadian landscape and has played a key role in developing the study of lake and river sediments. Much of his work in science and ecology has had major impacts on how the field is studied and has influenced policy changes. 

He is a champion for the ecosystems he and his team have studied, explaining the science to students and the general public alike. He also helps people grasp the realities of climate change and rapidly changing polar regions. This award is a testament to Dr. Smol's hard work and dedication. 

Typically, the Massey Medal is presented by the Governor General at Rideau Hall.  However, due to the pandemic, this year the medal will first be presented to Dr. Smol on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, during the Fellows Show, a virtual celebration being held this year instead of the Society's College of Fellows Annual Dinner. A subsequent formal ceremony is being planned. 

The Fellows Show can be viewed on Canadian Geographic magazine's YouTube channel. 

Queen’s PhD candidate wins Matariki 3MT contest

Sean Marrs presents during Matariki Network of Universities Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.
Sean Marrs presents on his research into state surveillance in 18th century Paris during the Matariki Network of Universities Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Sean Marrs, a PhD candidate in the Department of History, has won the Matariki Network of Universities Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Marrs’s research delves into state surveillance in 18th century Paris and his 3MT presentation connects it to modern day anti-espionage efforts and even COVID-19 tracking.

Marrs was one of 10 presenters taking part in the second annual competition between Queen’s, Durham University, University of Otago, and University of Western Australia. The virtual competition was judged by a panel of experts from across the international network.

“The Matariki 3MT brings together the best presenters from several universities across three continents, so winning was unexpected,” Marrs says. “The process has been equal parts fun and challenging. Presenting the significance of your research to a broad audience in only three minutes is a unique prospect. The 3MT forces you to define what is most important about your research and why it resonates with a public audience. It is a challenge like no other.”

First developed by Australia’s University of Queensland in 2008, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenges graduate students to communicate the significance of their projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

Queen’s was also represented by Alastair Kierulf (PhD candidate, Chemistry) and Alice Santilli (Master’s, School Computing). All three participated in the Queen’s Three Minute Thesis competition earlier this year, where Santilli took first place, followed by Marrs. The recordings from this event were submitted to the Matariki event.

“The 3MT has become a familiar, well-established event at Queen’s and the expansion of 3MT to include our Matariki partners in Australia, New Zealand and the UK for the second year is an exciting opportunity to share research and to consider its impact,” says Sandra den Otter, Vice Provost (International).

Through its membership in the Matariki Nework, Queen’s students, faculty, and staff have access to a variety of opportunities to share their research, experiences, and knowledge while also hearing from peers from around the world.

Second place went to Olivia Johnston of UWA, and Otago’s Victoria Purdy claimed the People’s Choice award. Each participant’s presentation is available on the Matariki Network’s YouTube channel.

The Matariki Network of Universities is an international group of leading, research intensive universities, each among the most historic in its own country. Along with Queen’s, members include: Dartmouth College (U.S.); Durham University (UK); University of Otago (New Zealand); Tubingen University (Germany); Uppsala University (Sweden); and University of Western Australia. The network celebrated its 10th anniversary early this year.


Subscribe to RSS - Arts and Science