Earned Doctor of Science - Spring 2012
John S. Tse started his research career in synchrotron radiation in 1975 as a graduate student of Prof. G.M. Bancoft, the first Director of the Canadian Light Source (CLS). After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario in the summer of 1980, he moved to the Chemistry Division of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa as an NSERC Fellow. He was appointed scientific officer in 1981. In 1990, he moved to the newly created NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Science. He progressed quickly through the ranks and achieved the highest level of principal research officer in 2000. He was the leader of the Theory and Computation Program from 1995 to 2004. In 2004, he joined the University of Saskatchewan as a Tier One Canada Research Chair in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics.
Dr. Tse has a very broad research interest at the converging frontiers of chemistry and physics. During his undergraduate years, he worked as a researcher in the x-ray crystallography laboratory helping to solve crystal structures. His first scientific paper in 1975 was on the elucidation of the structure of Dacron. In his early career, he made several ground-breaking contributions to natural gas hydrates, an abundant source of fossil energy. A notable example is the theory he developed to explain the anomalous glass-like thermal conduction behaviour of crystalline gas hydrates. This theory was later adopted as a new paradigm on the rational design of efficient thermoelectric materials. His interest in high-pressure science started in early 1990 when he explained the phenomenon of pressure amorphization of crystalline solids. For this work, he was awarded the 1995 Chemical Society of Canada Noranda (later the Keith Laidler) award for a physical chemist under the age of 45. He advanced concepts on the design of superalloys, Li ion batteries, thermoelectric and hydrogen storage materials. He is an internationally recognized expert in ice physics. Since moving to the university, he has focused on the superconductivity behaviour of dense hydrogen alloys and magnetic single-molecule radical solids under compression. Dr. Tse has published over 410 articles and 17 reviews and book chapters with many appearing in the most prestigious scientific journals. He has presented more than 200 lectures at international conferences and workshops. He served on many national and international committees and was twice appointed the chair of the NSERC scholarship committee.
Dr. Tse is an active member of the synchrotron community. He chaired the Review Oversight Committee during the construction of the CLS. Later, he led the development of the high pressure diffraction facility. He continues to serve on many national and international committees on neutron and synchrotron facilities.
He was elected to a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008 and received the Distinguished Researcher Award of the University of Saskatchewan in 2010.