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Science congratulates 2018 Research Achievement Award recipients

The Faculty of Science congratulates Stephen Godfrey, Hanika Rizo, and Thomas Sherratt on receiving a 2018 University Research Achievement Award.

The Carleton University Research Achievement Awards are administered by the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International). The purpose of these awards is to recognize outstanding research achievements. The awards were established in 1989 to enhance the quality of research and to recognize research excellence. The recipients’ terms run from May to April.


Stephen Godfrey
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Project: New Directions Towards the Understanding of Dark Matter

Dark Matter comprises 85% of the mass in the universe yet we know virtually nothing about it. Understanding dark matter is one of the most pressing problems in physics. Dr. Godfrey is studying models of dark matter and how they can be constrained by both theoretical consistency and experimental measurements. The goal is to develop theoretical models that can describe dark matter and suggest new approaches to observe it. It is an exciting area of research that connects the physics of the smallest scales to that of the largest scales, and ties together the fields of particle physics, Big Bang cosmology and astrophysics.


Hanika Rizo
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science

Project: Establishing a New Laboratory for the Study of Earth’s Earliest Times

How the Earth formed and how it evolved through time are fundamental questions for Earth sciences. Opportunities to learn about the early history of the Earth have recently opened up with the development of analytical techniques that allow high-precision analysis of various radioactive isotopic systems. Dr. Rizo will establish an ultra-clean laboratory for high-precision isotope measurements in rocks. This new laboratory, together with Carleton’s advanced instrumentation, will permit the development of innovative analytical techniques that could shed light into the planetary processes that shaped our planet.


Thomas Sherratt
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Project: The Evolution of Flash Behaviour

Camouflaged species sometimes display conspicuous markings when fleeing from potential predators. This “flash behaviour” is seen in a wide range of animals from insects to amphibians. While several hypotheses have been proposed to explain it, none have been tested. Dr. Sherratt’s lab will conduct experiments to systematically test the hypotheses, and use comparative methods to help understand why some species flash, but not others. Collectively, this work will shed light on the selective advantages of a widespread yet counter-intuitive anti-predator defense.