For Polytechnique and its Foundation, this annual event is an opportunity to reward students and to recognize the generosity and commitment of the partners involved in supporting future generations.
Mr. Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique, used the opportunity to draw attention to the fact that some donors have been taking part in the bursary program for over 25 years. He also highlighted “the essential role that parents play in their children's academic success.”
Mr. Guy also paid tribute to Roger A. Blais, who was “a great engineer and a visionary who marked Polytechnique's history in several areas, and who was a source of inspiration for many.” Blais was a professor at Polytechnique from 1961 to 1991, and became the first Director of Research in 1970. Among other things, he created the Poly-World Project, which sends students on industrial missions in several countries each year, as well as the Da Vinci Profile, which, in addition to recognizing academic excellence, also celebrates the winners' social involvement, leadership and openness to the world.
This is why, as of this year, Polytechnique's annual award for the best doctoral thesis will be called the Roger-A. Blais Award. Étienne Boulais, a PhD student in Engineering Physics, won the 2013 Roger-A. Blais award for his thesis Modeling the interaction of an ultrashort laser pulse with a plasmonic nanostructure in an aqueous medium. His thesis advisor was Professor Michel Meunier.
Huguette Blais, life partner and colleague of Mr. Blais, handed out the award, worth $2,000, to Étienne Boulais. He is now doing post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston.
A special mention was awarded to Ebrahim Alizadeh, a student in the Chemical Engineering PhD program, for his thesis Numerical and experimental investigation of solid mixing and segregation in tumbling blenders. Mr. Alizadeh's research was supervised by Professor Jamal Chaouki and co-supervised by Professor François Bertrand.
Chloé Archambault, of the research-based Master's degree in Engineering Physics, received a $1,000 award for her thesis entitled Structure électronique de nanorubans de graphène avec des contacts métalliques : une étude ab initio (electronic structure of graphene nanoribbons with metal contacts: an ab initio study). Ms. Archambault's research was supervised by Professor Alain Rochefort.
A special mention was awarded to Hugo Lhachemi, of the research-based Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, for the quality of his thesis entitled Synthèse et validation d'un système de commandes de vol robuste et autoséquencé (synthesis and validation of robust gain-scheduled flight control systems). Mr. Lhachemi's research was supervised by Professor Guchuan Zhu and co-supervised by Professor David Saussié.
The selection committee was made up of professors Luc Baron, Robert Legros and Manuele Margni, along with the Associate Director of Academic and International Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Jean Dansereau.
In a special moment during the ceremony, the RMC Lécuyer Béton Award of Excellence was given posthumously to Francis Hamel, a Civil Engineering undergraduate student in his final year, who died tragically in a car accident on March 5. His family members accepted the award on his behalf.
Congratulations to the many winners, and a heartfelt thank you to the companies, associations, Polytechnique alumni and foundations who, with their tangible support, are helping students along the path to success.