March 13, 2017
The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, NSERC’s highest honour, recognizes research contributions characterized by both excellence and influence. It is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence and influence in research for a body of work conducted in Canada that has substantially advanced the fields of natural sciences or engineering.
This year’s winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering is Jeffrey Dahn of Dalhousie University. Dahn obtained his B.Sc. in physics from Dalhousie University in 1978 and his PhD from the University of British Columbia in 1982. Upon graduating, Dahn spent his early career working for the National Research Council of Canada, followed by E-One Moli Energy (Canada). His academic career began in 1990 when he was offered a faculty position with the Department of Physics at Simon Fraser University. In 1996, he returned to his roots at Dalhousie University as a professor in the Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science.
Dahn has remained at Dalhousie since then, focusing his research on lithium-ion batteries, for which he has been recognized with numerous awards including the ECS Battery Division Technology Award, the Yeager Award from the International Battery Materials Association, the Inaugural Governor General’s Innovation Award and the Rio Tinto Alcan Award.
Dahn is Canada’s leader in lithium-ion battery research and one of the world’s leading innovators in battery technology. His work has helped create longer-lasting batteries for mobile devices, power tools, grid energy storage and electric vehicles. In 2016 Dahn was appointed the NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chair, a partnership between Tesla and Dahn’s research lab at Dalhousie. This is the first-ever university collaboration for Tesla, with the goal of the project being to develop lithium-ion batteries for automobiles and grid energy storage that are cheaper, more powerful and longer lasting, to ensure the wider adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy.