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Patrik Nosil

Evolutionary scientist racks up awards

June 14, 2007

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Patrik Nosil, an SFU 2007 Governor General gold medallist, has won one of Canada’s top prizes for research at the graduate student and postdoctoral levels.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has awarded Nosil its doctoral prize — $10,000 and a silver medal — for producing ground-breaking research in the natural sciences.

Only four of the prizes are awarded annually, two in natural sciences, and two in engineering and computing sciences. Nosil is SFU’s seventh recipient of the prize.

Nosil won his prize by unearthing some of the first real evidence that cultivating the ability to avoid predators can cause new species to form. His analysis of how the walking stick insect fares against its main predator is included in major textbooks about evolution and has put Nosil on a footing with Charles Darwin. Darwin discovered evolution but never documented rigorously how species diversify.

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