Dr. Nelson and Dr. Butler have both received funding from the Discovery Grants Program from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). This program, awarded for five years, supports ongoing research programs with long-term goals in addition to recognizing creativity and innovation.
Dr. Lorne Nelson has been a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1988. His research focuses on interacting binary star systems, stellar evolution, exoplanets, dwarf stars and supernovae. With the financial help of the NSERC Discovery Grant, Dr. Nelson will contribute to the creation of a unified picture for the formation, evolution, and final states of various types of compact stars in binaries. “Binary stars are extremely numerous and consist of two stars that orbit each other. A significant fraction of those have been in such close proximity to each other that one star has partially cannibalized its companion. Some of these stars can eventually evolve to become truly exotic binaries such as ones that orbit each other every 7 minutes! It is these binary stars that will be the primary observational targets of the next generation of gravitational wave telescopes, which itself is a whole new field of astronomy. Like many areas of science, astrophysics is flourishing!” says Dr. Nelson. Another objective of his team will be to discover and analyze stars and exoplanets using data from the Kepler, K2, and the recently launched TESS missions.
Dr. Russell Butler, of the Department of Computer Science, is an assistant professor at Bishop’s University since July 2019. His research focuses on bioinformatics, image processing, biometrics and machine learning. In addition to his NSERC Discovery Grant, Dr. Russell Butler also obtained the Discovery Launch Supplement for Early Career Researchers. This supplement is awarded to early career researchers and provides timely resources as they establish their research program. With the financial help of the NSERC Discovery Grant and the NSERC Discovery Launch Supplement, Dr. Butler will investigate the extent to which smartwatch-derived heartrate variability can predict cerebral and cardiac variability across a healthy population, demonstrating the feasibility of using smartwatches to predict more expensive measures such as magnetic resonance imaging, and eventually, give early warning signs of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular incidents.
Congratulations to both researchers for their successful NSERC Discovery Grant, and in contributing to bringing Bishop’s research reputation to new heights!