NSERC recognizes three A&S researchers for their work in climate change and AI

November 10, 2020 by A&S News

Three Faculty of Arts & Science researchers are among many Canadian scientists celebrated today by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with the announcement of the agency’s annual NSERC Prizes.

Brockhouse Canada Prize

Headshot of J. Abbatt  and J. Murphy The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering was awarded to the U of T-based NETCARE project for its contribution to climate research in Canada’s Arctic. NETCARE — the Network on Climate and Aerosols — was established in 2013 with the goal of understanding how aerosol particles are formed and travel through the atmosphere, and the effects they have on climate.

Led by Professor Jonathan Abbatt in the Department of Chemistry, the NETCARE collaboration includes Professor Jennifer Murphy, also of the Department of Chemistry, and more than 40 Earth science experts from universities and federal research labs across Canada.

The team distills massive amounts of field data and observations to improve climate models that predict environmental changes that are likely to take place in the Arctic over the coming decades. These predictions help policymakers prepare for and, hopefully, mitigate the worst of the effects of climate change in the Arctic.

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Headshot of Tovi GrossmanTovi Grossman, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, is the recipient of an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, which recognizes early career achievements of promising scientists and supports their efforts to enhance their research capacity. The award celebrates Grossman’s investigations into human-computer interaction, automation and the ways in which people engage with new technologies.

Grossman and his colleagues have found that allowing computers to handle some aspects of a task can free people to focus on other details and acquire new skills. He leads a team that is developing technologies that balance the precision of computers with the creativity and ingenuity of humans.

Some of their developments include AI-assisted drone navigation that handles fine-tuned steering in tight spaces, while an operator focuses on speed and direction; wearable sensors that capture the intricate movements behind grip and touch, so hands can perform nimble tasks in virtual environments; and software interfaces that encourage users to try tools and menu items to advance their expertise more quickly.

Recipients of all of this year’s NSERC Prizes will be celebrated at a ceremony beginning at 1:30 pm EST and streamed live on Facebook and YouTube