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Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

April 18, 2005

U of G Prof Wins Prestigious Physics Medal

A University of Guelph physics professor has been named the 2005 winner of the Canadian Association of Physicists’ (CAP) Herzberg Medal, which recognizes outstanding research achievements of scientists aged 40 and younger.

“It’s pretty sweet — it’s like a big Christmas gift you didn’t expect,” says Eric Poisson, who was recognized for his work on gravitational waves and black holes.

The annual award, first introduced in 1970, is named in honour of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Gerhard Herzberg. U of G physics professor Bernie Nickel won the award in 1981.

Poisson researches the physics of gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space and time that scientists believe are caused by violent events in the distant universe such as collisions of black holes or shock waves from a supernova explosion.

His recent studies include investigating “tides” raised on black holes by nearby objects, much as ocean tides result on Earth from our planet’s interaction with the moon. He wrote about the mechanics of black holes in a textbook called A Relativist’s Toolkit.

Poisson joined U of G in 1995 and is an affiliate of Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He will receive the medal in June at CAP’s annual awards banquet in Vancouver.
Founded in 1945, CAP is a professional association representing more than 1,600 physicists and physics students in Canada, the United States and overseas.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120,Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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