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Sajeev John
(Photo by Sylvie Li/Shoot Studio)

Theoretical physicist Sajeev John wins prestigious Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal

November 17, 2021

Sajeev John, a University Professor in the department of physics in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science, has won the prestigious Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

"The University of Toronto congratulates Sajeev John on this important recognition,” says Professor Leah Cowen, U of T’s associate vice-president of research. “From his ground-breaking work on confining and harnessing the flow of photons to his leadership in exploring applications for his research in optical micro-chips, optical communications and information processing, laser technologies, solar energy-harvesting and clinical medicine – his impact has been remarkable.”

Considered Canada’s highest science and engineering honour, the award recognizes the “sustained excellence and overall influence of research work conducted in Canada in the natural sciences or engineering,” according to NSERC and is accompanied by a $1 million grant.

"The Herzberg Gold Medal offers a unique opportunity for creativity and unfettered pursuit of essential applications,” John says, citing examples such as “the world’s most efficient, lightweight silicon solar cells; light-trapping to enhance artificial photosynthesis for solar fuel production; development of the most compact lab-in-a-photonic-crystal sensors for early-stage disease detection and diagnosis; and much more."

John, who holds a Canada Research Chair in optical sciences and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017, is “truly deserving” of the honour, says Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science.

"Not only has his work been foundational, it has also had an impact in physics, chemistry, engineering and medicine, and is leading to advancements that are benefiting people’s lives."

Read the U of T News story