Sponsored by the CSC Physical, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Division, University of Toronto, Department of Chemistry and Xerox Canada

University of Toronto Department of Chemistry

The John C. Polanyi Award is presented for excellence by a scientist carrying out research in Canada in physical, theoretical or computational chemistry or chemical physics.

View the Terms of Reference and list of Past Winners

The 2024 winner of the John C. Polanyi Award is:

Yunjie Xu

University of Alberta

Yunjie Xu’s research program centers on chirality recognition, transfer, and amplification events in isolated molecular clusters, condensed phases, and at liquid-liquid interfaces. She brings a rigorous physical sciences approach to chirality research, an area that holds significant relevance for diverse fields, from asymmetric synthesis to drug discovery. To unravel the molecular-level mechanisms underlying these phenomena, Xu develops and applies new spectroscopic tools, in tandem with theoretical modelling. Her pioneering contributions include quantifying stereospecific non-covalent interactions and untangling co-occurring chiral events linked to resonance conditions, thereby advancing our understanding of chiral forces and the light-matter interactions responsible for intricate chiral phenomena.

Xu is a Chemistry Professor at the University of Alberta and a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Chirality and Chirality Recognition. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2019 Gerhard Herzberg Award from Canadian Society for Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy, the 2020 Philip J. Stephens Award from the International Conference Series on Vibrational Optical Activity, the 2022 Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal for outstanding achievements in high resolution molecular spectroscopy, and a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science in 2018.


Past Winners


Alán Aspuru-Guzik, MCIC

University of Toronto
Society: CSC

Patanjali Kambhampati, MCIC

McGill University
Society: CSC

Zuo-Guang Ye, MCIC

Simon Fraser University
Society: CSC

Edward R. Grant, MCIC

The University of British Columbia
Society: CSC

Wolfgang Jäger

University of Alberta
Society: CSC

Albert Stolow

University of Ottawa and National Research Council Canada
Society: CSC

Josef W. Zwanziger

Dalhousie University
Society: CSC

Federico Rosei

Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Université du Québec
Society: CSC

Terrance McMahon

University of Waterloo
Society: CSC

Tucker Carrington, FCIC

Queen's University
Society: CSC

Ronald P. Steer, FCIC

University of Saskatchewan
Society: CSC