John Smol earns top Arctic research prize

One of the world’s top Arctic researchers, Queen’s University professor John Smol, has been awarded the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Dr. Smol’s collaborative work has been instrumental in helping the world understand global climate issues and the effects of contaminants on the Arctic environment.

Dr. Smol is a leading international authority in the field of Arctic limnology and paleolimnology, the field of study that looks below the surface of lakes and rivers to uncover the secrets of the Arctic’s environmental history.

Queen’s researcher John Smol was honoured with the top award for Arctic research.

Canada has stewardship over a vast, resource-rich and beautiful part of the planet, but we need solid evidence-based policy to make sustainable and informed decisions for our future,” says Dr. Smol. “I am tremendously honoured to be recognized with the Weston Family Prize for the work I love to do.

The $50,000 prize is the largest of its kind for Northern research and is funded by the Weston Family Foundation.

“Throughout his remarkable career in northern science, Dr. Smol has demonstrated a commitment to education and public outreach,” says Peter Geller, President, ACUNS. “He has contributed to mentoring the next generation of arctic scientists, many of whom now fill key positions in Canadian universities and in the public service.”

Dr. Smol became interested in Arctic research as a graduate student upon meeting Dr. Weston Blake Jr., a research scientist from the Geological Survey of Canada. He invited Dr. Smol on a research expedition to Ellesmere Island in 1983 and Dr. Smol was hooked.

With a career spanning 30 years, there are many awards and honours that have come his way. He is most proud, though, of the students he has mentored over the years and how his research has shown how fast the Arctic is changing due to climate change.

“Dr. Smol has dedicated the past 30 years to advancing our understanding of a wide range of environmental issues affecting Northern Canada and the world,” says Michael Goodyear, Executive Director, Churchill Northern Studies Centre, the group that administers the award. “His outstanding national and international reputation among governments, organizations and leading researchers, and impressive record of contributions to the scientific community made his selection a natural choice.”

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This is only some of the good news that may have been missed in “the news.” In 2013 Dr. Smol also was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. For more information on that award go to:


Posted August 6, 2013 by allanbaker in Canadian society, Environment

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