Two professors named to Royal Society

Western professors Robert Stainton and Tsun-Kong Sham have been named among the 71 newly elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Election to the academies of the RSC is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences.

This year’s new fellows will be inducted during a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa.

“We are very proud that professors Stainton and Sham are joining the elite membership of the Royal Society,” said Western president Amit Chakma. “The honour reflects well not only upon their respective achievements as world-class scholars, but also upon Western’s stature among Canada’s leading research-intensive universities.”



Stainton’s research lies at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics. Trained in functional linguistics at Glendon College (BA’88) and in generative grammar at MIT (Ph.D.’93), most recently he has contributed to team projects on the history of philosophy of language, and on impairments in linguistic pragmatics in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

He is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Western, and director of its Graduate Program in Linguistics.



For three decades, Sham has been a Canadian and international leader in the development and use of soft X-ray synchrotron techniques for the study of matter and has become internationally known for his unique studies of nanomaterials. He has developed three novel techniques: conductivity XAFS of liquids; X-ray excited optical luminescence (XEOL); and time-resolved XEOL (TRXEOL). The latter two have been applied to obtain unique structural and electronic information for a variety of technologically important materials.

Sham is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Synchrotron Radiation and professor of Chemistry at Western.

“This year, in the year of its 130th anniversary, the RSC is pleased to congratulate the new cohort of fellows and welcome them among its ranks. These fellows were recently elected by their peers in a highly competitive environment of numerous, first-rate candidates. Through their exceptional work, these new Fellows pursue the distinguished work of a long line of researchers and creators who have contributed to expand Canada’s intellectual, artistic and scientific resources to support Canada’s population and its international scope” said Yolande Grisé, RSC president.

Founded in 1882, the RSC comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.