Daniel Francis McDonald, who graduates with an honours bachelor of mathematics degree this spring, is “deeply humbled” to be awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Medal for his academic efforts.
Majoring in mathematics and minoring in physics, the 22-year-old plans to go on to pursue his master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics at the University of Toronto. There, he will do research in ergodic theory, which deals with the paths of particles in a very abstract way. Originally developed to answer certain questions in thermodynamics, ergodic theory has myriad applications to statistics and other disciplines of mathematics, McDonald explains, and its connections to physics make it a much more interesting topic for him to explore.
McDonald believes he could not have received the award “without the work and support of my professors and their teaching assistants.” He points, in particular, to Professor Yuly Billig, who taught several of his algebra courses, and who gave him advice and encouragement throughout his undergraduate career.
McDonald explains his field of study: “I chose to major in mathematics because this subject provides a rigorous, and internally consistent way of looking at the world.”
While he wanted to stay in Ottawa, so he could live with his parents during his undergraduate studies, he also credits Carleton University’s excellent mathematics program and generous financial support for his choice of university.
“My time at Carleton University has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have been able to considerably deepen my knowledge of mathematics while I’ve been here,” McDonald says. “An outstanding feature of the program has been the small class sizes, which have allowed me to have more personal contact with the professors. As well, my experience as a teaching assistant at Carleton has been a valuable one, and will serve me well in future endeavours.”