Nine Faculty members elected to Royal Society of Canada

A total of nine UBC faculty members have been announced by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) as Fellows and as Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Seven UBC faculty have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada. Fellows are elected by their peers for their outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement. Recognition by the RSC is the highest honour an individual can achieve in the Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences.

Two faculty are named as new members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership.

The 2020 Fellows and Members will be welcomed into the RSC at a celebration in November.

Read the RSC release

Citations courtesy of the Royal Society of Canada

New fellows 

Jinhua Chen (Asian Studies)
Jinhua Chen works on trans-national narratives of Buddhism, church-state relationships, Buddhist monasticism, translations of Buddhist texts, and manuscript cultures. His use of extra-canonical, epigraphical, and manuscript sources alongside the study of artefacts in China, Japan and Korea, has contributed to new insights to the field of Buddhist Studies. He established several international training programs and academic networks to foster multidisciplinary and collaborative exchange between scholars. 

Mark Halpern (Physics & Astronomy)
Mark Halpern makes measurements which have sharpened our understanding of the contents and dynamics of the Universe. Measurements showing little distortion of the cosmic microwave background spectrum established that the Universe was in thermal equilibrium when it was 10 days old. Measurements of the anisotropy of the CMB with WMAP, ACT and Bicep establish that the Universe is spatially flat, comprised of 70% dark energy with dark (invisible) matter substantially outweighing baryonic matter.

Scott Hinch (Forest & Conservation Sciences)
Scott Hinch is an international renowned scientist and award-winning educator who uniquely integrates physiology, ecology, behaviour, genomics, and social sciences in the study and conservation of Pacific salmon. His pioneering work combining large-scale telemetry tracking with biopsy sampling has transformed our understanding of how climate change, fisheries, and land/water management affects sustainability of salmon populations. His collaborations and leadership with social scientists, stakeholders and First Nations have benefitted fisheries management

Ara Norenzayan (Psychology)
Ara Norenzayan, a social psychologist, has made ground-breaking contributions to the study of the origins of religion, and the psychological impact of religious and cultural diversity in today’s globalized world. His research appears in some of the most influential scientific journals and he is among the most highly cited social psychologists in the country. He is the author of the acclaimed book, Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict. 

Leonie Sandercock (School of Community and Regional Planning)
Innovative, visionary and audacious, Leonie Sandercock’s community-based scholarship and practice in the fields of urban planning and community development have engaged some of the most intractable issues of our time—inequality, discrimination, and racism. Through award-winning books and films, she has influenced the planning field to become more culturally-fluent, addressing diversity and difference through structural change, and her partnerships with Indigenous communities model reconciliation in practice. 

Alla Sheffer (Computer Science)
Alla Sheffer is a world leader in computer graphics and geometry processing. Dr. Sheffer develops innovative methods for modeling shapes that facilitate computational fabrication, garment design, computer animation, and mechanical engineering. Her methods, some of which had been incorporated into major modelling software packages, enable computer animators, designers, and artists to easily generate and manipulate computer models of complex real-world and imaginary shapes.

Amanda Vincent (Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries)
Amanda Vincent is a driving force for ocean conservation, anchored in her speciality of seahorses. She was the first biologist to study these extraordinary animals underwater. Her Project Seahorse team finds solutions for coastal marine ecosystems, linking research and management to create protected areas, fisheries regulations and global wildlife trade policy. Amanda was the first ocean person to win the world’s top award in animal conservation, the Indianapolis Prize. 

New Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Abbas S. Milani (School of Engineering / Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute - UBC Okanagan)
Abbas S. Milani is a leading expert in modeling, simulation, and multicriteria optimization of advanced composite/biocomposite materials and their manufacturing processes. His interdisciplinary work links theoretical concepts to real-world applications, thereby enabling innovations for industry across Canada in manufacturing high-quality and cost-effective products. He is a Killam Laureate and the founding Director of the Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute at UBC. He has authored over 300 publications, including five books.

Catharine Winstanley (Psychology)
Catharine Winstanley explores the neurobiology underlying impulsivity and decision making, in order to improve treatments for addiction and compulsive disorders. Her work shows that pairing wins with casinoinspired sounds and lights during gambling simulations increases risky choice in rats and humans, and also alters the sensitivity of the dopamine system. This research may help explain why electronic gambling games are so addictive, and why drug and gambling addictions often co-occur.