Hellmuth celebrates elite researchers


Western professors John Leonard (Arts & Humanities) and Jesse Zhu (Engineering) have been awarded the 2016 Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research. The honour recognizes faculty members with outstanding international reputations for their contributions in research – one of the defining hallmarks of a university. Two prizes are offered annually, one in the area broadly defined as the natural sciences and engineering, one in the social sciences and humanities.

This year’s awards ceremony and lectures will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, in the Great Hall, Somerville House. A reception will follow.

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John Leonard

Arts & Humanities

Since joining Western’s Department of English in 1987, John Leonard has received some of the highest accolades for his research. His stature as a scholar of English Renaissance literature, especially the poetry and prose of John Milton, is evident from his five national and international awards. He is only the seventh Canadian to have been named ‘Honored Scholar of the Milton Society of America’ since this lifetime achievement award was established in 1948.

Leonard truly established himself as a Miltonist, however, with his first book, Naming in Paradise, which won him his first James Holly Hanford Award. This book, a study of cratylism and Adamic naming in Paradise Lost, continues to have a lasting impact in the academic world.

Leonard has since completed a fourth book, The Value of Milton (written from start to finish in his 2014-15 sabbatical year), which was published by Cambridge University Press this month as one of four monographs launching Cambridge’s new The Value of … series. The fact that so prestigious a publisher as Cambridge chose Leonard to write one of the pilot volumes for its new series speaks to his international stature as a literary critic.

“Such an extraordinary record of scholarly achievement – four books, three editions, 61 essays, 83 conferences, four international prizes, a share in four more international prizes and Canada’s highest academic distinction for research makes Dr. Leonard a richly deserving candidate for the Hellmuth Prize,” said Arts & Humanities Dean Michael Milde.

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Jesse Zhu


Over the past 23 years, Jesse Zhu has made exceptional contributions to Western and, in particular, to the Faculty of Engineering. He has been one of the most successful professors in the chemical engineering field and his record of accomplishment is incredibly rich – a clear testament to his exceptional dedication, talent, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

Zhu is respected for his excellent work and outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering literature, with more than  330 peer-reviewed international journal articles, averaging around 15 per year (more than 20 per year in the past few years). Some of his research papers are among the most highly cited papers on the topic of fluidization.

What further distinguishes Zhu from his peers is his extraordinary ability to convert fundamental laboratory research results to real-life industrial applications, having submitted more disclosures to WORLDiscoveries over the last few years than any other researcher on campus. In just the last four years, Zhu has been named a Distinguished University Professor at Western, and elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada.

“Jesse’s activities have been of key and fundamental importance for the innovation and the enhanced understanding of the science and technology related to particle technology,” said Engineering Dean Andrew Hrymak. “His contributions are very original and significant and his distinguished career achievements make him the most deserving candidate for the Hellmuth Prize.”