The University of Waterloo is proud to announce that two of its students will receive one of Canada’s highest honours in academia — the Governor General’s Gold Medal.

For highest standing in a doctoral program, Physics PhD student Robie Hennigar is recognized for his explorations in black hole chemistry and higher curvature gravity. Master’s student Samuel Jaques is being celebrated for his accomplishments in quantum cost models for cryptanalysis of isogenies.

Robie Hennigar

RobieHaving graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (Physics) in fall 2018, Robie Hennigar’s list of accomplishments continues to grow. A researcher of gravitational physics and black hole thermodynamics, Hennigar’s findings have led the scientific community in directions unforeseen five years ago. With more than 21 published papers and over 700 citations, the impact of Robie’s research has been exceptionally strong.

Hennigar is currently a recipient of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship for his work at Memorial University, Newfoundland.Alongside his studies, Hennigar’s mentoring and teaching skills have been referred to as “outstanding.” Having worked as a teaching assistant in 11 courses, Hennigar has provided professional direction to graduate students in the Perimeter Scholars International program, while working with visiting doctoral students from other countries. He has given 11 talks at conferences nationally and internationally, four of which were awarded prizes, and has also received the distinction of Outstanding Academic Performance in a PhD program when he was awarded the 2018 Alumni Gold Medal.

Samuel Jaques

SamuelRecognized for his research in cryptographic security in the context of quantum computers, Samuel Jaques has emerged as a leading candidate for quantum-safe cryptographic standards currently under development by the U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. Having achieved an average of 97 per cent during his Master’s program while he held an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) scholarship, Jaques has also been awarded the President’s Graduate Scholarship and the Rai Mathematics Graduate Scholarship.

Jaques has a broad range of research experience, spanning work in quantum information theory, operator theory, cryptography, number theory quantum algorithms and quantum architectures. While at Waterloo, Jaques was the acting president of Effective Altruism Waterloo and co-organized an active bi-weekly graduate seminar on post-quantum cryptography. He’s also delivered talks about his work at the Université de Versailles and École Polytechnique in France.

This summer, Jaques will be doing an internship with the Security and Cryptography team at Microsoft Research before heading to Oxford University on a prestigious Clarendon scholarship to complete his PhD.

Created in 1873 by Canada’s third Governor General Lord Dufferin, the Governor General’s Gold Medal is an award given out annually to students from different institutions who achieve the highest level of academic scholarship for their cohort at their institution. The award is divided into four categories ranging from bronze at the secondary school level to gold at the graduate level.