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Prize-winning engineer Angeles. Prize-winning engineer Angeles.

Mexican robotics pioneer wins Canadian university award

Leading researcher in robot design wins McGill Medal

A Mexican robotics pioneer has won a prestigious award in recognition of his distinguished career at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Jorge Angeles received a prize formally known as the Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement and one that the university awards annually to an eminent retired professor.

Angeles earned his first degree at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) and completed a PhD at Stanford University in the 1970s before returning to his undergraduate alma mater where he worked his way up to a full professorship in mechanical engineering.

But after a disagreement with the dean of the school he worked in, Angeles decided to seek opportunities elsewhere and he and his wife moved to Montreal in 1984 after being invited to give a seminar in McGill’s Faculty of Engineering.

The following year, the university’s Center for Intelligent Machines was born and Angeles was one of its founding members.

Over the course of his career at McGill, Angeles established himself as one of the world’s leading researchers in algorithm development for robot control and robot design.

But as the current Dean of Engineering at McGill explained, Angeles’ contribution to academic life at the public university in Quebec was wide and varied.

“. . . The McGill Medal recognizes well-roundedness. Yes, the scale of Jorge’s research output is phenomenal, but he has also been a stellar teacher, and a leader who’s been heavily involved in international collaborations, and collaborations across disciplines at McGill,” Jim Nicell said.

“It’s in putting together the full array of impacts that he’s had, that you see what an exceptional person Jorge is . . . His impact goes way beyond this faculty and this university. The legacy he leaves behind will have its own life for decades to come,” he added.

Angeles, who retired from the classroom last September, described receiving the McGill Medal as “a great honor” but added “I’m not done” yet.

In retirement, he is spending more time with his family but is also writing three textbooks and continues to be motivated by the challenge of trying to build the world’s fastest pick-and-place robotic arm.

Source: McGill (en)

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