UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 06 | Mar.
Three garner top Killams
Scholars will study topics from ice sheets to outer space
Three UBC faculty members are among 17 Canadian researchers who
will be able to devote the next two years to full-time research
and writing in their fields of study as a result of being selected
for one of the nation's top research awards.
Earth and Ocean Sciences Prof. Garry Clarke, Botany Prof. Beverley
Green and Physics and Astronomy Prof. Harvey Richer have received
Killam Research Fellowships for 2001.
Clarke says the fellowship will afford him the time to "wire together"
large-scale computer programs that describe ice sheets and how they
interact with the atmosphere and ocean to affect global climate
Clarke aims to shed more light on how ice sheets have and will
affect the earth's climate -- a study made all the more important
in light of the current greenhouse effect.
Green plans to exploit an exciting breakthrough made in her lab
in 1998. Green and colleagues beat out five other research teams
worldwide to discover a new type of gene organization in the chloroplasts
of dinoflagellates, a form of algae.
Dinoflagellates make a major contribution to photosynthesis in
the oceans, but are often ignored except when certain strains produce
toxic blooms or red tides.
"This is a classic example of curiosity-driven research that turned
in totally unexpected directions," says Green.
Richer leads an international consortium that has successfully
vied for more than three per cent of the available time on the Hubble
Space Telescope this year. They are collecting data on white dwarf
stars -- the burned-out remains of normal stars like the Sun.
By examining the coolest, hence oldest, of the white dwarfs, Richer
hopes to be able to better estimate the age of the universe.
In total, 36 Canadian researchers received $2.5-million in the
33rd annual competition for the Killam Research Fellowships. In
addition to this year's new fellows, 19 UBC researchers had their
fellowships renewed for a second year.
Administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Killam fellowships
support research in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences,
health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies.