Jules Pierre Carbotte, D.Sc., May 27, 1999

Jules Pierre Carbotte
B.Sc.(Man.); M.Sc.,Ph.D.(McGill); D.Sc.(Wat.); F.R.S.C.; F.C.l.A.R.(Superconductivity)

Professor Jules Carbotte was born in St. Boniface in 1938 and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. Degree in 1960. It was clear even at this early stage that he would become a distinguished alumnus of this institution with his award of the University Gold Medal in Science in that year. He then proceeded to McGill University aided by a National Research Council Scholarship where he was awarded an M.Sc.(1961) and his doctorate in 1964. After two years at Cornell University, Professor Carbotte returned to Canada as a faculty member at McMaster University where he spent the major portion of his academic career. He achieved the rank of full professor at McMaster in 1972 at age 34.

Professor Carbotte's research interests, reflected in more than three hundred articles published in some of the most prestigious physics journals, lie in predicting the behaviour of electrons in solids. There are many millions of these subatomic particles in even the smallest material specimen, and to try to account for their collective behaviour represents a theoretical tour-de-force, of which he is a leading practitioner. The many areas of condensed matter physics to which he has made seminal contributions include positron annihilation, defects in metals, transport properties, the electron-phonon interaction, superconducting materials and, most recently, the revolutionary field of High Temperature Superconductivity.

Superconductivity is the remarkable property of some materials whereby they allow an electric current to flow with zero resistance and hence no power consumption. Today, wires of such materials are used to fabricate superconducting magnets with a wide range of applications including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, utilized extensively for medical diagnoses. However, prior to 1986 experimental work in this area was confined to those laboratories that could produce the very low temperatures at which this phenomenon manifested itself. This situation was revolutionized in that year with the discovery of a new class of ceramic copper oxide materials which exhibited superconductivity at temperatures much closer to room temperature, hence the phrase "high temperature superconductivity." This Nobel Prize winning development aroused enormous worldwide interest, and Canada's response to this impetus and its wide ranging potential application was to establish a program in High Temperature Superconductivity in 1987 through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Jules Carbotte was the program's founding Director. This initiative has had tremendous impact on the development of related research in Canada, and it serves as just one example of an area of research to which Professor Carbotte has made pivotal contributions.

Professor Carbotte's influence within the sphere of academic research extends well beyond his particular areas of interest. He has served the Royal Society of Canada, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Association of Physicists in a variety of roles with both a national and an international perspective. Professor Carbotte is also a much sought after member of the organizing committee for many international conferences and workshops, and has been extensively involved in the review of academic programs and departments.

Numerous awards and honours have been conferred on Professor Carbotte in recognition of his many fundamental contributions. These include election to the Royal Society of Canada the Herzberg Medal, a Steacie Fellowship and The Steacie Prize, the CAP Gold Medal for Achievement in Physics, the Canadian Metal Physics Medal, a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Fellowship, an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo, and an appointment as University Professor at McMaster. His status in the academic community is clearly substantial. Somewhat less formal but perhaps more important evidence of his impact is provided through letters supporting his nomination, including some from the more than 40 graduate students whose careers have benefitted significantly from his mentorship. To quote but one, "...my enthusiastic support for the nomination comes from the personal belief that more than anyone else, Jules Carbotte is responsible for injecting into me a passion for physics and an insatiable appetite for knowing the answer. Over his career at McMaster he has had that impact on many students. I was simply the first." (Professor Robert Dynes, Chancellor, University of California, San Diego).

It is, therefore, most appropriate that Professor Jules Carbotte is to receive from the University of Manitoba, his alma mater, its highest honour, the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa).