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Honorary degree citation - Ashok K. Vijh

By: Cooper H. Langford, June 1988

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Ashok K. Vijh, scientist, engineer, inventor and scholar in the broadest sense of these terms. Born in 1938, Ashok Vijh holds a Master of Science from the University of Panjab and a doctorate in electrochemistry from the University of Ottawa. He is Maître de Recherche at the Institut de recherche d’Hydro Québec (IREQ) where he has conducted his research since 1969. He also acts as Adjunct Professor and thesis director of L’INRS-Energie at the Université du Québec. His experiences include industry and academia. He has achieved the institutional bridging we urgently recommend today for the economic and cultural growth of Canada.

The arena of Dr. Ashok K. Vijh’s research activities is modern electrochemistry: it is a vast area of physical science which deals with the mechanisms of chemical reactions accompanying the transfer of electricity across charged interfaces. Such charge transfer processes constitute the fundamental basis of electrocatalysis, electrochemical energy conversion and storage, photoelectrochemistry, quantum electrochemistry, electrochemical materials science, and bioelectrochemistry.

The principal conceptual focus of his work is electrochemical physics - the heart of modern electrochemistry. His contributions to this area - a field that his reserches transformed - touch the very foundations of electrochemistry: namely, how the solid state properties of electrodes - metals (especially in their “real” demetallized state) and semiconductors - determine the rates of electrochemical reactions across electrode-electrolyte interfaces.

Dr. Ashok K. Vijh’s research contributions to electrochemistry are immense and span an enormous range - from long-term basic studies (electrode kinetics, double layer, photoelectrochemistry, electrocatalysis, and, mechanisms of electrodic reactions) to the applications of these investigations in industry (in electroreactions) to the applications of these investigations in industry (in electrolyzers, fuel cells, batteries, corrosion, metal deposition, oxide growth, arcs and circuit breakers. The tremendous influence and originality of his work is well demonstrated in his book “Electrochemistry of Metals and Semiconductors”.

Dr. Vijh’s work has been recognized by the Noranda Award of the Chemical Institute of Canada, le prix Urgel-Archambault of l’Association Canadienne-Française pour l’Avancement des Sciences, l’Ordre du Québec, the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Izaak Walton Killam Prize of the Canada Council. It is most appropriate that the list of agencies recognizing Dr. Vijh, the scientist, includes our Arts Foundation, the Canada Council. Dr. Vijh is an outstanding representative of the vitality injected into Canadian culture by the community of new Canadians, a group with many ties to Concordia.

Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Ashok K. Vijh so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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