University of Calgary

Professor Tom Keenan earns national award for science promotion

UToday HomeMarch 22, 2013

Tom Keenan is a professor of digital design in the Faculty of Environmental Design. He taught Canada’s first course in computer security in 1974. Photo by Riley BrandtTom Keenan is a professor of digital design in the Faculty of Environmental Design. He taught Canada’s first course in computer security in 1974. Photo by Riley BrandtTom Keenan, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design, has been recognized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for his lifelong dedication to science promotion.

Keenan was honoured Thursday by NSERC in a small ceremony where he formally received the 2012 Award for Science Promotion for being a passionate and inspiring communicator of science and technology to Canadian and international audiences for more than 30 years.

“Our government recognizes the importance of science awareness and engagement by committed individuals like Tom Keenan, who inspire Canadians of all ages to take an interest in science and technology,” said Gary Goodyear, minister of state for science and technology.

“His work continues to inspire others to pursue a life and career in the sciences, helping to make Canada a more prosperous country.”

As an educator, broadcaster, technology journalist and public speaker, Keenan has promoted science and technology to the masses through regular columns in newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television appearances. His clear explanations about computer security, the social implications of technology, and the use of technology in education help people understand the issues, root causes, and how their lives and society may be affected.

“Science can be tricky to translate in terms that everyone can understand. Tom Keenan is a not only a master at explaining very complicated ideas but has piqued public interest on a wide range of topics,” said Ed McCauley, vice president (research). “His promotion of science has transcended research here on campus and taken it to the broader Calgary community and across Canada.”

The NSERC Award for Science Promotion, valued at $10,000, honours individuals and groups each year who make an outstanding contribution to the promotion of science in Canada through activities that encourage popular interest in science or develop science abilities. Two recipients, one individual and one group, are selected each year.

"It's actually been really easy to get people interested in computer security, my longtime research area, since they can feel the effects in their own lives and pocketbooks," said Keenan.

"Now, I've taken on a bigger challenge in EVDS — to help people appreciate the broader aspects of Smart Communities, especially my current passion, which is figuring out how to make technology cool and effective without being creepy."

Keenan taught Canada’s first course in computer security in 1974. He has collaborated with law enforcement, law firms, individuals and corporations on urgent issues such as identity theft, cyberstalking, information warfare, and privacy issues.

For more information on Keenan, click here.

 

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