Université de Sherbrooke researcher becomes a Fellow of the Royal Society

A major scientific honor for professor Louis Taillefer

Professor Louis Taillefer

Photo : Photo : Michel Caron UdeS

The Royal Society of London is one of the oldest learned societies in the world. Founded in 1660, its members include hundreds of renowned scientists including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins and, more recently, Tim Berners-Lee, Jennifer Doudna and Yoshua Benjio. On May 6, Louis Taillefer, professor in the Department of Physics, was included among the newest members of this scientific pantheon.

Members of the Royal Society work in the fields of science, engineering, and technology. Most of them are from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, although a few appointments are made each year from other countries. Fellows are appointed for life following a peer-review process based on research excellence.

The Royal Society has about 1700 members, nearly 75 of which are Nobel Prize winners. Every year, up to 62 people are invited to join the society from among more than 800 nominations made by existing members.

It is a great honour for me to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society. It is especially meaningful to me because it was in the UK, during my PhD at Cambridge University, that I discovered my passion for experimental research. As a Fellow, I hope to assist the Royal Society in its promotion of international collaboration in science.” – Prof. Louis Taillefer

One person who supported Professor Taillefer’s nomination as a member is Professor Anthony Leggett, who explains why the researcher’s work is important:

“Dr. Taillefer is an experimental physicist much of whose research has been on what many would consider the most urgent unsolved problem in the physics of condensed matter, namely the origin of the occurrence of superconductivity in a class of cuprate materials at temperatures close to room temperature. His most path-breaking contribution has been the measurement of their properties in very high magnetic fields.”

  • Professor Anthony Leggett, University of Illinois, Nobel laureate 2003

Science is built on the knowledge of those who have gone before us. Louis Taillefer’s appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society links him to a lineage of great scientists. This honour recognizes his contribution to physics and quantum science in particular. If this field is a hallmark of the Université de Sherbrooke, it is thanks to contributions such as those of Louis Taillefer.”

– Prof. Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice-Rector, Research and Graduate Studies, UdeS


“The global pandemic has demonstrated the continuing importance of scientific thinking and collaboration across borders. Each Fellow and Foreign Member bring their area of scientific expertise to the Royal Society and when combined, this expertise supports the use of science for the benefit of humanity. Our new Fellows and Foreign Members are all at the forefronts of their fields from molecular genetics and cancer research to tropical open ecosystems and radar technology. It is an absolute pleasure and honour to have them join us.”

– Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society


About Louis Taillefer

Louis Taillefer is the Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials at the University of Sherbrooke, Québec, where he leads a research group specialized in the experimental investigation of superconductors and correlated electrons at very low temperature and in high magnetic fields.

He has received several awards, including the Simon Memorial Prize in low-temperature physics (2017) and the Kamerlingh Onnes Prize in superconductivity (2018) for pioneering experimental work in superconductivity, in particular the discovery of multicomponent superconductivity, quantum oscillations and quantum critical points in heavy-fermion and copper-oxide superconductors.

Taillefer has fostered collaborative research at the international level, as Director of the Quantum Materials Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) since 1998 (and now as co-director), a highly interactive network bringing together researchers from Canada, Asia, Europe and the US, to explore and understand phenomena such as high-temperature superconductivity, topological protection, magnetic frustration and Planckian dissipation.




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