It's in these terms that Gary Slater, vice-dean for research at the Faculty of Science, describes the tremendous contribution of Professor Emery Fortin, winner of the 1999 Award for Excellence in Research at the University of Ottawa. Professor Slater adds that few university researchers will "have a career as productive and distinguished as Dr. Fortin's."
For Dr. Fortin, this award caps off years of cutting-edge research and highlights the impact of a recent discovery made by his team in semi-conductor physics. Indeed, he and his team drew keen attention in the scientific community by demonstrating a phenomenon that Albert Einstein and Satyendra Bose had "guessed about."
Releasing quasi-particles called excitons in copper-oxyde crystals at extremely low temperatures forms a condensate known as Bose-Einstein. Professor Fortin's team showed that, unlike lasers, which cannot be projected through a small opening without a certain degree of diffraction, excitons, which have shorter wavelengths, maintain their full integrity. The discovery prompted the highly regarded journal Science to say: "Only time and human imagination will reveal the many potential applications of this phenomenon."
Over the years, Dr. Fortin has also established a magnificent laboratory where ultra-modern instrumentation is a given. What's more, he has always managed to attract the best graduate students, for whom he has been a stellar thesis supervisor. Today, these graduates lead outstanding careers in teaching, research and industry both in Canada and abroad. Dr. Fortin admits in fact that the teaching facet of his career is what gives him the most satisfaction.
Featured Awards and Recognition
- Excellence in Research Award (1999)