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Professors receive Canada's highest scholarly accolade

Dr. Peter Pope, at left, and Dr. Carole Peterson. Chris Hammond photo

By Janet Harron

Two Memorial University professors have been honoured by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) for their outstanding contributions to research and education
Dr. Peter Pope, a professor in the Faculty of Arts' Department of Archaeology, has been named a new fellow in the RSC's Division of Humanities and Dr. Carole Peterson, a professor in the Faculty of Science's Department of Psychology, has been named a new fellow in the Division of Social Sciences.

Election to the society is considered the highest academic honour in Canada.
In citing Dr. Pope's accomplishments and methodologically innovative research, the RSC stated that he raises "thought provoking questions about the invention of tradition, early modern vernacular capitalism and maritime cultural landscapes, giving a clear voice to a Canadian perspective, among those who are trying to better understand the evolution of the Atlantic world."

"Many important research programs have been curtailed by the present federal government, for example in fisheries science, archaeology and even in basic statistical data-gathering about the economy," said Dr. Pope, who is a University Research Professor at Memorial and is cross-appointed to the Department of History. "In this context independent university-sponsored research is more important than ever – I am very grateful to the RSC for this honour."

Dr. Carole Peterson has pioneered three new areas of child psychology: narrative ability, eyewitness memory and early childhood amnesia. According to the RSC, "Her impact has been profound: Illiterate parents are being trained to help their children communicate in ways that lay the foundation for reading; children now have a legitimate voice in court; and powerful public response to her newest work is raising awareness of the importance of social science research."

"Obviously I'm delighted and very overwhelmed," said Dr. Peterson, who is also a University Research Professor at Memorial. "It's certainly an honour."

The RSC elects members from all branches of learning who have achieved national and international recognition by publishing learned works or original research in the arts, humanities and sciences. Founded in 1882, the country's oldest scholarly organization currently has about 1,800 fellows.

The RSC undertakes a wide range of activities to promote learning and research in the arts and sciences. It also organizes international exchanges and visiting scholar programs with similar national academies, and promotes Canadian participation in projects and conferences around the globe.

Drs. Pope and Peterson will be inducted into the Royal Society of Canada's ranks at a ceremony on Nov. 17 in Ottawa, Ont.