Six researchers named to Royal Society of Canada

Six Western scholars have been named among 90 newly elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada. The newly elected fellows have been elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement. Election to the academies of the Royal Society of Canada is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences.

“Western is extremely proud to have six researchers recognized by the Royal Society in one year. Each of them has the university’s sincere congratulations on this monumental achievement,” said Western’s President and Vice-Chancellor Amit Chakma. “These researchers epitomize Western’s commitment to take a leading position nationally and internationally through world-class research and scholarship.”

Western’s honorees are:


Frank Davey, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, is an internationally recognized scholar and a leading figure in exploring alternative and experimental theories of Canadian literature. His critical studies have transformed our understanding of language and discourse in the study of Canadian texts. Professor Davey’s sustained efforts – as critic, theorist, editor and poet – to enlarge and redirect Canadian literature studies have been essential contributions to its contemporary diversity and self awareness.


Julia Emberley, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of Indigenous literary and cultural studies. Working at the intersections of aboriginality, gender and decolonization, Emberley has published four monographs, guest edited two journal volumes, and authored over forty articles and book chapters. Her recent books include Defamiliarizing the Aboriginal: Cultural Practices and Decolonization in Canada (2007) and The Testimonial Uncanny: Indigenous Storytelling, Knowledge and Reparative Practices (2014).


Gail M. Atkinson, Faculty of Science, is a renowned expert in earthquake ground motions and seismic hazard analysis. She is an international leader in the development of models to predict earthquake ground motions as a function of magnitude and distance, and in their use to solve engineering problems. She also pioneered novel methods that use ground motion recordings to understand better the processes that generate and propagate earthquake motions.


Wayne Hocking, Faculty of Science, works to address atmospheric dynamics and space/meteor physics, focusing on radar applications. He developed Doppler-spectral methods and digital technology to measure dynamical parameters, including turbulence structure, from the ground to 100 km altitude. Applications include space-shuttle and aircraft safety, atmospheric forecasting, severe weather studies plus real-time target and meteor detection. His paper in Nature on radar-detection of stratospheric ozone intrusion provided new insight into this important environmental issue.


Melville Brockett Fenton, Faculty of Science, is, without any question or doubt, one of the top three bat researchers in the world and his outstanding research, sustained over the last four decades, has made significant and most important contributions to the broader fields of behavior, ecology and evolution. Furthermore, he has been one of the most active scientists doing outreach in Canada, long before it was “politically and/or academically acceptable.”


Vladimir Hachinski, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, co-founded the first successful stroke unit, discovered the brain region involved in sudden death following stroke, and helped expound the stroke-Alzheimer disease connection. The concepts brain attack, multi-infarct dementia, leukoaraiosis, vascular cognitive impairment and the ischemic score are his own. He has been Editor of STROKE, President of the World Federation of Neurology and created the World Brain Alliance, World Stroke Day and the World Stroke Agenda.

This year’s new fellows will be inducted on Saturday, Nov. 22, in Quebec City.