Faculty of Science

Frances Mackay is the 2013 Governor General’s Gold Medal Recipient in Science

Frances Mackay

Frances Mackay has received the 2013 Governor General’s Gold Medal for her brilliant career in the Applied Mathematics PhD program. Frances is also a past recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze and Silver Awards for her work in Secondary School and Undergraduate studies in Alberta.  The triple  crown winner is a past Canada Graduate Scholar having received years of elite graduate funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada in recognition of her outstanding research skills and unparalleled publication record.

At Western, Mackay went from earning her Master’s degree in Astronomy with Scientific Computing for studying the disks surrounding stars to taking on the very difficult challenge of undertaking doctoral research in the area of complex fluids, in particular liquid crystals.  Mackay’s work resulted in new standard techniques that have since been adopted into one of the most widely used molecular dynamics software packages.  She has taken this methodology to help her search for the “holy grail” of photonic applications.  These efforts have led Frances Mackay to being an international authority in her research area and a well-respected leader among her peers.

Colin Denniston , one her sponsors for the award, said Mackay has “The remarkable ability to not just solve the problems, but solve them in the best way, often coming up with unique and original solutions that put her in a class of her own.”