Meet two winners of the 2021 Killam Prize

Each year, the Canada Council’s Killam Prizes celebrate the best scholars in the country, in all the major disciplines of research. Host Nahlah Ayed talks to two of the five winners to find out about their major contributions in their respective fields.

The Canada Council’s Killam Prizes celebrates Canadian scholars in all major disciplines of research

Philosopher Arthur Ripstein (L) and chemist Douglas Stephan are two of the five winners of the 2021 Killiam Prizes, awarded to active Canadian scholars who have made a significant impact in their respective fields. (Karyn Gorra/University of Toronto)

The Killam Prizes are one of Canada's most prestigious awards, given each year to the country's top scholars in all the major academic fields. They recognize career-long achievement as well as extraordinary research and discoveries.

Prizes of $100,000 are awarded in each of five categories: the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and health sciences.

The 2021 winners, chosen by a panel of distinguished scholars appointed by the Canada Council for the Arts, are: Arthur Ripstein, Douglas Stephan, Stephen Gill, Gilbert Laporte, and Michel Bouvier.

The prizes get their name from Dorothy Killam, who bequeathed a huge fund that became the Killam Trust. In her will, Killam expressed a wish that the money would help to "increase the scientific and scholastic attainments of Canadians." The Killam Trust has funded fellowships since 1967, and the Killam Prizes since 1981.

The Killam Prizes is among Canada’s most prestigious prizes for careers in research. (Canadian Council for the Arts)

In an episode celebrating the 2021 prizes, Nahlah Ayed spoke with the winner in the humanities category, Arthur Ripstein, a professor of law and philosophy whose current focus is the work of Immanuel Kant and the ethics of war.

She also spoke to Douglas Stephan, who won in the natural sciences category. His 2008 discovery of so-called "frustrated Lewis pairs" catalysis has launched one of the busiest areas of chemistry research in the world today, by showing a way to make the world's most useful chemical products from its cheapest, most abundant materials.

Guests in this episode:

Arthur Ripstein is professor of law and philosophy at the University of Toronto. In 2021, he published two books: Rules for Wrongdoers — Law, Morality, War and Kant and the Law of War.

Doug Stephan is professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto, and director of the Stephan Research Group lab

* This episode was produced by Tom Howell.

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