Canadian Association of Physicists ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DES


2002 CAP Herzberg Medal

will be awarded to


"I feel very honoured to have been chosen for the 2002 Herzberg Medal. I would like to thank York University and the provincial and federal governments for generous support and the members of my research group for their talents and enthusiasm."

Dr. Eric HesselsThe Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2002 Herzberg Medal is awarded to Dr. Eric Hessels, York University, for his research in the retardation effects in long-range interactions and his proposed method for producing trappable antihydrogen.

The fine-structure constant is one of the most accurately known and certainly one of the most fundamental constants in all of nature. Its numerical value is a measure of the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, one of the four fundamental forces. Quantum electrodynamics, our beautiful quantum theory of the electromagnetic interactions, can and has been tested to unprecedented accuracy. In the case of the magnetic moment of the electron, theory and experiment agree to a staggering 11 figures of accuracy.

Eric Hessels and his graduate students have achieved the most accurate triplet P measurement to date, which leads to a new 15-parts-per-billion determination of the fine-structure constant. His measurements on the Rydberg states of helium and lithium provide the first tests of the retardation effects in long-range interactions.

For this work Eric Hessels was awarded the John Charles Polanyi Prize in 1994, the Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award in 1999, a Canada Research Chair in 2001, and the Young Explorers Prize awarded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research in 2002.

In 1998 Eric Hessels proposed a new method for producing cold, and therefore trappable, antihydrogen. A highly excited cesium atom exchanges its nucleus for a positron and then the highly excited positronium exchanges its electron for an antiproton. This has caught the attention of the international antihydrogen CERN-Harvard collaboration and the scheme is being implemented presently.

Dr. Hessels received his B.A. from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1984 and his Ph.D. from University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame Indiana in 1991. Dr. Hessels returned to Canada when he accepted a position as Assistant Professor at York University. He became Associate Professor in 1996 and Full Professor in 2001.

The CAP Herzberg Medal was first introduced in 1970 and is awarded annually. Dr. Hessels will receive the 2002 Prize during the CAP's awards banquet to be held at the Quebec Convention Centre on June 4th, 2002.

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