Hellmuth Prize celebrates elite researchers

Earth Sciences professor Gail Atkinson and History professor Maya Shatzmiller have been awarded the 2018 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.

Paul Mayne // Western NewsEarth Sciences professor has been awarded the 2018 Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research.

Gail Atkinson
Earth Sciences

Conducting her research at the engineering-seismology interface, Gail Atkinson’s work on earthquake ground motions has been used in hazard and risk assessments around the world. She has participated in seismic hazard analyses for many major engineering projects, and is active in the development of seismic design regulations for buildings and critical structures such as dams and nuclear power plants.

Atkinson also works with real­time alerting systems, which can be used for rapid assessment and mitigation of earthquake effects. Her recent research focus looks at hazards and mitigation strategies related to induced seismicity from unconventional oil and gas development.

Paul Mayne // Western NewsHistory professor Maya Shatzmiller has been awarded the 2018 Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research.

Maya Shatzmiller

Maya Shatzmiller, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2003, is the world’s leading economic historian of the pre-modern Middle East. Her research, showcased in her numerous books and articles, has been referred to as pioneering, significant and influential. Shatzmiller’s research has challenged, and scientifically refuted, long-standing widely held assumptions about medieval Islamic history and its relevance to today.

In addition to innovative research in the field of social and economic history through her publications and knowledge translation, Shatzmiller has influenced public policy on global issues such as women’s status and minorities’ rights in the Islamic state.


Previous winners of the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research include:

1997 – Alan Davenport, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Ian Steele, History;

1998 – William Fyfe, Earth Sciences, and Tom Lennon, Philosophy;

1999 – Michael Bancroft, Chemistry, and David Laidler, Economics;

2000 – Richard Puddephatt, Chemistry, and Regna Darnell, Anthropology;

2001 – Michael Locke, Biology, and Tilottama Rajan, English;

2002 – Grant McFadden, Microbiology and Immunology, and Angela Esterhammer, Modern Languages and Literatures;

2003 – Peter Norton, Chemistry, and Marilyn Randall, French Studies;

2004 – Robert Hegele, Medicine & Biochemistry, and David Bentley, English;

2005 – Ian Mitchell, Physics, and Richard Vernon, Political Science;

2006 – Mel Goodale, Psychology and Physiology and Pharmacology, and Joy Parr, Faculty of Information and Media Studies;

2007 – William Fisher, Psychology, and Rajni Patel, Electrical and Computer Engineering;

2008 – Aaron Fenster, Robarts Research Institute, Schulich, and Patrick Mahon, Visual Arts;

2009 – Brian Feagan, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and John Whalley, Economics;

2010 – Gregor Reid, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Heather Laschinger, Health Sciences;

2011 – Ann Chambers, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Michael Groden, English;

2012 – John Meyer, Psychology, and Terry Peters, Medical Imaging and Medical Biophysics;

2013 – Paul Beamish, Ivey Business School, and Adrian Owen, Psychology;

2014 – Stewart Harris, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and Charles Weijer, Arts & Humanities;

2015 – Robert Young, Political Science, and Shiva Singh, Biology;

2016 – John Leonard, Arts & Humanities, and Jesse Zhu, Engineering;

2017 – Kathryn Brush, Visual Arts, and Tsun-Kong Sham, Chemistry; and

2018 – Gail Atkinson, Earth Sciences, and Maya Shatzmiller, History.