York has two new Distinguished Research Professors

During its Spring Convocation ceremonies, York University recognized the contributions of two faculty members. Professor Stephen Gill of the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, and Professor Norbert Bartel, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science & Engineering, were each awarded the title of Distinguished Research Professor.

Professor Stephen Gill
Department of Political Science,
Faculty of Arts

Long recognized as one of Canada’s leading social scientists, Gill was described by the Royal Society of Canada in the citation for his election to the society as having largely defined the field of international political economy as it exists today. Gill’s professional reputation spans North America, Europe, Asia and many developing countries.

Right: From left, Peter Cory, chancellor of York University; Stephen Gill;  Lorna R. Masden, York’s president and vice-chancellor

A prolific scholar, Gill has authored or edited 10 books, published 85 articles, one monograph, and eight reports. In addition, he has delivered 63 public lectures, 15 public seminars and 93 conference papers and presentations (including 10 plenary addresses).

“One can identify four themes in Gill’s work – the development of the field of international political economy; the theorization and understanding of global power; innovation in international relations theory; and the subject of global governance,” said John Lennox, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies in his introductory remarks to the Faculty of Arts convocation on June 13.

“What makes his work most interesting and influential however is his capacity to draw on perspectives from several disciplines to create new ways of seeing the subjects of his research,” said Lennox. “Gill’s work has been influential not only in political economy and international studies but also in geography, sociology, development, international law, feminism, cultural and environmental studies, business and management, and more recently in public health.”

Gill has a significant international reputation, which has led to invitations as visiting professor or scholar at some of the world’s major universities. As early as 1993 he was awarded Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science – an honour comparable to election to the Royal Society of Canada. He was also elected as a Senior Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford’s leading and graduate-only international studies college, in 1992.

Much of Gill’s work has been translated into French, German, Italian and Japanese, as well as other languages, and it has been used by many scholars to address a range of cases from both the Third World as well as the OECD nations.

Professor Norbert Bartel
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Faculty of Science & Engineering

A professor of astrophysics and space sciences in the Faculty of Science & Engineering as well as a member of the graduate program in Physics and Astronomy and the graduate program in Earth and Space Science in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Bartel is one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of ultra-high precision astronomical measurements for the investigation of supernovae, neutron stars, black holes and, at a fundamental level, for testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Left: From left, Peter Cory, Norbert Bartel, Lorna R. Masden

His work has been continuously funded through grants from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) as well as by research contracts from NASA through such elite centers and universities in the US as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Stanford University. Bartel has edited one book, authored or co-authored 140 papers in peer reviewed scholarly journals and conference proceedings and has made three scientific films for educational purposes.

“The respect with which Professor Bartel is regarded by colleagues, both nationally and internationally, is reflected by his appointment to the Chair of the Radio Astronomy Committee of the Canadian Astronomical Society and the Chair of the Canadian Square Kilometer Array Committee, a major international project in radio astronomy to build a new generation radio telescope with an antenna aperture of one square kilometer,” said Michael De Robertis, associate dean, Faculty of Science & Engineering in his introductory remarks to the faculty’s convocation June 14. “He is also this year’s Canadian Association of Physicist Lecturer and is the recipient of the prestigious Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society in Germany.”

Bartel’s scientific research at York University is widely recognized and has proved a magnet for national and international news coverage. Bartel, together with his research group at York, made dramatic headlines worldwide when they announced in the journal Science the discovery of what is most likely a newborn neutron star or black hole in the center of a supernova. Virtually every newspaper in Canada covered the story, as did national TV and radio news programs. It also received wide international attention, from “China View” in Beijing, to CNN, to “Yahoo News” as well as many European news outlets. 

“A significant fraction of Professor Bartel’s scientific research is directed towards conducting a major test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The test is being conducted in collaboration with Stanford University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics with funding from NASA using a space-borne sensor on board a satellite called Gravity Probe B which was launched last year,” said De Robertis. “It is considered to be one of the most technically difficult experiments in space ever attempted. The astrometrical measurements required for the success of Gravity Probe B will have to be done with a precision never before achieved for stars. If the mission is successful, the results of Gravity Probe B can be confidently expected to also make headlines around the world.”

The major criterion for the title of Distinguished Research Professor is sustained and outstanding scholarly, professional, and/or artistic achievement, where a significant portion of the work has been accomplished at York. This award is inclusive of all faculty with full-time appointments at York, in all disciplinary areas. The title of Distinguished Research Professor (DRP) is awarded for life and evolves into a Distinguished Research Professorship Emeritus upon retirement.