Canadian Association of Physicists ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DES



awarded to


"Our laboratory activities span several disciplines, a number of countries, and the industry/ academic ‘barrier', but we are proud to be fundamentally a group of Canadian physicists, and as such we are deeply honoured by, and grateful for, this medal."

Dr. Lorne A. WhiteheadOttawa, April 15th, 1999 - The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 1999 CAP Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Industrial and Applied Physics will be awarded to Dr. Lorne Whitehead, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia for his outstanding work on the transfer of light, especially light pipes.

Amongst his many ideas, Lorne has recently invented a device to enhance the viewing brightness of liquid crystal displays using two prismatic films. It has been licensed to the 3M Company and is used in most lap top computers. This invention is one of the most successful to come out of UBC. The Prism Light Guide technology is now well established and is being introduced around the world for various purposes including illuminating buildings, dangerous road sections and tunnels, road signs, and advertisements.

As well as the many developments that have come out of his work in illumination there have been many other projects in which he has been involved. These include a novel electrostatic transducer (with F. Curzon); a variable colour coating (with G. Dobrowolski); a spatially variable electrolytic etch process; a high precision fast response calorimeter (with W. Hardy, developed to disprove "cold fusion"); a high Q, low frequency super-conducting resonator (with W. Hardy); a magnetic levitation device (with E. Auld and H. Davis.); a wind tunnel transducer test (with B. Dunwoody); psychophysics of visual line detection (with S. Coren); an improved liquid mirror telescope (with W. Shuter and P. Hickson); and a 1995 spin-off company, Sonigistic, currently employing 30 people.

Lorne Whitehead took his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at UBC in 1977 and 1979 respectively. While still a student he invented the light guide. After developing it and setting up a company (TIR Systems Ltd.), he returned to UBC in 1989 to obtain his Ph.D. He was an Adjunct Professor in the Department from 1990 and was then appointed in 1994 to the NSERC-3M Industrial Chair in Structured Surface Physics.

Lorne Whitehead is a very talented scientist who brings an extra dimension to the normal activities of a university department. Among his numerous awards are the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award for Innovation in Canada (1984) and the 1995 British Columbia Science and Engineering Gold Medal for Industrial Innovation.

The CAP Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Industrial and Applied Physics (formerly the Prize for Innovative Applied Physics of the CAP's Division of Industrial and Applied Physics) was established in 1991 and has been awarded biennially since. Dr. Whitehead will receive the 1999 Medal during the CAP's awards banquet to be held at the University of New Brunswick on June 8th, 1999.

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, as well as a number of Corporate and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Association of Physicists
Tel: (613) 562-5614
Fax: (613) 562-5615

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