18 June 2019 Rosalie Cyr
Prix d'excellence FRQNT 2019


Louis Taillefer, Professor in the Department of Physics at the Université de Sherbrooke, Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials, Director of the Quantum Materials Program at CIFAR and member of the Institut quantique, receives the 2019 Award of Excellence from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologie (FRQNT). He shares this award jointly with Yoshua Bengio, a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operational Research at the Université de Montréal and Scientific Director of the Institut québécois d’intelligence artificielle. The winners received this honor during the FRQNT Research Day, which took place on June 4, 2019 at Le Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City. To promote and financially support research in the natural sciences, the FRQNT awards a $10,000 research grant to the two winners. As the first recipient of this award for the Université de Sherbrooke, Louis Taillefer has succeeded in promoting the Université de Sherbrooke through his numerous research projects.

“This award is the result of the exceptional environment I have enjoyed in Sherbrooke since 2002,” commented Louis Taillefer. “The clear strategic orientation of the Department of Physics towards quantum disciplines and, in recent years, the creation of the Institut quantique de l’Université de Sherbrooke have made Sherbrooke one of the main research centers in quantum materials in Canada. I was able to set up a state-of-the-art laboratory there to probe the electronic properties of materials at very low temperatures and surround myself with an excellent team of highly motivated young researchers.”

Fundamental discoveries

The exceptionally robust superconductivity of certain materials such as copper oxides is one of the major challenges of modern science, which Louis Taillefer has been tackling for several years. Some of his discoveries have transformed the field, such as the observation in 2007 of the first quantum oscillations in copper oxides or the identification in 2016 of a quantum critical point. Elucidating the behavior of electrons in these remarkable materials, which can carry electricity without any resistance or loss of energy, could lead to a major technological revolution.

A passionate collaborator

In addition to his Sherbrooke colleagues, Louis Taillefer collaborates closely with several researchers around the world, for example in Vancouver, Canada and Toulouse, France. These collaborations – with experts in materials synthesis, experts in intense magnetic fields and theorists – have been greatly enhanced by CIFAR’s Quantum Materials Program, of which he has been Director since 1998. The first network of international scientific collaboration in the field, this program brings together some sixty researchers in seven countries. “The CIFAR program has had a fundamental impact on my career, and that of my team and collaborators,” concludes Louis Taillefer.

A career that has won worldwide awards

Since his arrival in Sherbrooke in 2002, the physics professor has carved out a renowned place for himself in the world scientific community. Thanks to the discoveries made with his team and collaborators in the field of quantum materials and superconductivity, announced in several key scientific publications, Louis Taillefer has received numerous honors. Among other things, he received the Killam Prize in 2012, one of the highest distinctions awarded to a scientist in Canada. He is the first Canadian to receive the Simon Memorial Award (2017) and the Kamerlingh-Onnes Award (2018). In 2018, the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) also awarded him the Adrien-Pouliot prize to Professor Taillefer in 2018 for his fruitful scientific collaboration with France.

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