As part of our Canada 150 activities, Research Western will begin creating a series of digitally linked heritage plaques that celebrate a history of research excellence across campus. We will cast two bronze plaques annually: one from a STEM discipline and one from a social sciences, arts and humanities-based discipline. Each will be affixed to a relevant building on campus and include a QR code that links to additional media online that ties the work to current research efforts in the area at Western. Read more in the Western News.
Voting for the inaugural cohort of research achievements closed April 7, 2017, and the first plaques will be unveiled in the fall of 2017.
Research moments and discoveries shortlisted for 2017 include:
1948: Dr. Murray Barr discovered the sex chromatin – now known as the Barr body – ushering in a new era in research and diagnosis of genetic disorders.
1958: Drs. Robert Noble and Charles Beer isolated the anti-cancer drug “vinblastine” – the first of a series of chemotherapy drugs used in cancer care – which is still used today.
1965: Western opened the first-of-its-kind Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, defining the field of wind engineering and testing such structures as the World Trade Center, CN Tower and Confederation Bridge.
1978: Dr. Henry Barnett led the Canadian study demonstrating Aspirin can prevent strokes, opening the door for the use of Aspirin to prevent heart disease.
During her long career at Western, zoologist Helen Battle pioneered the use of fertilized fish eggs to study the effects of pollutants on aquatic life and drinking water, and of carcinogenic substances on cell growth.
Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Disciplines
1948: Western established the first Master’s of Business Administration program outside the United States.
1970s-Present: Economist John Whalley revolutionized policy analysis in areas that include trade and taxation, and pioneered the use of CGE models to analyze effects of public policy change.
Grant Reuber was the first economist to explicitly use the inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation as a policy constraint, so policy makers could no longer institute policies that lowered inflation without worrying about raising unemployment, and vice versa. This breakthrough was the precursor to central banks using a policy rule to determine how much to raise interest rates when inflation increased.
The English Department houses Canada’s longest-running Writer-in-Residence program, having hosted writers who include Joan Barfoot, Alice Munro, Penn Kemp and Margaret Laurence, since 1972.
1997: Specializing in industrial and organizational psychology, John Meyer and Natalie Allen developed the Commitment Scales to categorize ways in which employees are attached to their organizations.