Chemist among eight new Royal fellows

UBC now home to 151 members of premier society

A chemist who aims to develop drugs from marine organisms, an educator who studies the educational value of computers in schools and a philosopher who specializes in the relationships between science and philosophical theory are among the eight UBC faculty members recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

"We are very pleased at this recognition of UBC scholarship," says Indira Samarasekera, vice-president, Research, and a Royal Society fellow.

"The contributions of our faculty continue to build Canada's intellectual strength in both the sciences and humanities."

Chemistry Prof. Raymond Andersen looks at marine and land natural products chemistry. The chemical extracts of marine invertebrates and bacteria are screened for elements that may be used for new anti-cancer drugs or as a source of new antibiotics to combat diseases that have become resistant to existing antibiotic drugs.

John Willinsky, a professor of Education, is interested in the socio-cultural aspects of language, literacy and literature and the use of technology, particularly computers, in teaching. The Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology, Willinsky recently published Technologies of Knowledge: A Proposal for the Human Sciences.

The interaction between our interest in creating systems and our knowledge of nature is the focus for Philosophy Prof. Catherine Wilson.

She has studied 17th-century metaphysical physics and the early history of the microscope. She is now interested in understanding the implications of sociobiology, or the biological aspects of social behaviour, and psychology for moral theory.

New fellows also include Anthony Barrett, a professor of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies.

In addition to teaching Roman history, Barrett supervises the excavation of a Roman fort near Coventry, England and has written biographies of Rome's imperial families.

Health-care economist Robert Evans is a faculty member at the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research.

A professor of Economics, he is widely regarded as the single most influential academic in shaping Canadian health-care policy. Pharmaceutical Sciences Prof. John McNeill studies drugs used to treat cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

He is particularly interested in vanadium, a metal used to strengthen steel, which could be useful in increasing cells' response to insulin. Physics and Astronomy Prof. Gordon Semenoff's research interests include the superstring theory, quantum field theory, statistical mechanics and elementary particle physics.

Mathematician Gordon Slade studies probabilities which are the theoretical basis for statistics.

Slade's research has applications in areas such as finance, theoretical computer science and telecommunications.

A total of 60 new fellows from across Canada were elected to the society, an honour regarded as the country's premier academic achievement.

UBC now has 151 Royal Society fellows. The society, which was founded 118 years ago, promotes and develops learning and research in the arts and sciences.

It will welcome this year's new fellows at a ceremony to take place in Ottawa Nov. 17.