U of T’s Abraham becomes new Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Abraham_2396_200x200pxToronto [27 November 2015] In recognition of his scientific and scholarly achievements, Prof. Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in an official ceremony on Friday, November 27th.

Abraham was inducted into the mathematical and physical sciences division of the Society, and is among a group of thirteen University of Toronto faculty members receiving the honour this year.

“I’m delighted and honoured to be inducted into Canada’s National Academy,” says Abraham. “It’s a reflection of the great environment and terrific colleagues—faculty, postdocs and students—I get to work with here in Toronto.”

An astronomer with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and an associated faculty member with the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Abraham’s research focuses on galaxy evolution over a timespan of about 11 billion years, probing questions such as: What did galaxies look like when the Universe was young? How can we best describe galaxies in a quantitative way? How do changes in galactic structure map onto ideas for the underlying physics of galaxy evolution?

In order to answer such questions, Abraham uses adaptive optics systems on large telescopes to study the evolution of galaxy sizes over cosmic time. Also, in partnership with Yale University, he has built a novel telescope array in New Mexico called Dragonfly to image very faint structures in nearby galaxies.

His achievements in astronomical research parallel his successes as a mentor and inspiration to students.

“Bob is a charismatic educator,” Jielai Zhang, a PhD student in the department of astronomy and astrophysics, says of Roberto Abraham. “Not only is he extremely passionate about astronomy and research, he has the uncanny ability to know what’s interesting and inspiring to his students.

“As a supervisor, his thinking is that no one strategy can work for all students. He is highly adaptable. He is able to see what his students most enjoy, what his students most need to succeed at any one time and provide appropriate guidance.”

The Royal Society of Canada: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada is Canada’s National Academy, the senior collegium of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists in the country. The primary objective of the Society is to promote learning and research in the arts, the humanities and the natural and social sciences.

With files from U of T News and the Royal Society of Canada.