University announces 2018 Distinguished Research Professorships

Research York University
Research York University

York University will honour three faculty members for their outstanding research contributions to the University with 2018 Distinguished Research Professorships. The title will be given to: Professor Nantel Bergeron, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science; Professor Bernard Lightman, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS); and Professor Anne Russon, Department of Psychology, Glendon Campus.

The title is given to active members of the academy in recognition of their scholarly achievements in research.

Nantel Bergeron, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science

Nantel Bergeron
Nantel Bergeron

Bergeron works in algebraic combinatorics and its applications. He has made substantial contributions in Schubert calculus, combinatorial Hopf algebras and in Coxeter-related combinatorics (descent algebras, peak algebras, polytopes etc). He studies the structure of algebra, combining algebraic objects and breaking them in various ways to understand how different operations relate to each other.

“I feel overwhelmed and happy by this distinction,” said Bergeron.

Bergeron holds a York Research Chair in applied algebra, and has been the recipient of several honours and awards such as Fields Institute Fellow (2012), Canada Research Chair in mathematics (2001-11), Premier’s Research Excellence Awards (2000-05) and more. He has also been involved with several professional and government organizations, including as a member of the Strategic Projects Opportunity Review Team (advisory committee to the VPRI York University), a panellist for the National Science Foundation and several positions with the Canadian Mathematical Society.

Bergeron has published more than 80 papers, and 2,000 Google Scholar citations with a h-index of 27. He has supervised 19 PhD students and 23 postdoctoral fellows.

Bernard Lightman, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies 

Bernard Lightman
Bernard Lightman

Lightman is professor of humanities and has been a faculty member at York University since 1987. He was founding director of two graduate programs: humanities, and science and technology studies. He previously taught at Queen’s University and the University of Oregon.

“I am grateful to the University for this honour and to my colleague, Professor Katharine Anderson, for nominating me,” he said.

Lightman’s research interests include cultural history of science; 19th century British science; and religion, gender, visual and print culture. He has published widely in the field of the cultural history of Victorian science. Among his books are The Origins of Agnosticism (1987), Victorian Popularizers of Science (2007) and Science Museums in Transition (2017, co-edited with Carin Berkowitz).

He has been active in professional leadership involvement and community contributions, including: Advisory Board, Victorian Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies; Society editor, Isis editor and member of the executive committee, History of Science Society; council, History of Science Society; Green Paper Working Group on Strategic Expansion of Research Activity; Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement and more.

Lightman is co-general editor of the Correspondence of John Tyndall, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2011 and is currently president of the History of Science Society.

Anne Russon, Department of Psychology, Glendon Campus

Anne Russon
Anne Russon

Russon has been a York faculty member in Glendon’s Psychology Department for 37 years, having started as a part-time course director and later gaining a tenure-track faculty position. In 1988, she embarked on the study of orangutans in Borneo in 1988 and has continued research in that field.

“I am greatly honoured, and astonished, at being selected as a York Distinguished Professor this year,” said Russon. “York played a major role in the scholarly success I have achieved. I hope my work has enriched my teaching and my contributions to university life. I am very thankful for this honour, and express my deep thanks to York.”

Russon was a 2017 recipient of the York University President’s Research Excellence Award, and has earned international recognition for her work as a behavioural primatologist and research on orangutans. She has received many awards over her career, including: the Glendon College Principal’s Research Excellence Award (twice); the York University Research Development Fellowship; and the York University Research Development Fellowship, to list a few.

In addition to her role as executive director of the Borneo Orangutan Society of Canada, Russon has served as scientific advisor for several orangutan documentaries and orangutan support organizations, including: Alchemy Films, New Zealand Natural History Unit; Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Indonesia; and the Orangutan Conservancy, USA. Since 2009, she has been studying the behaviour of wild orangutans in Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan, Borneo.

Russon is the author of several popular books dealing with great apes, including Orangutans: Wizards of the Rainforest, Reaching into Thought: The Minds of the Great Apes and The Evolution of Thought: Evolution of Great Ape Intelligence. In 2014, Russon was in a feature article in The New Yorker magazine.