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UBC professor gives a gift for the future

“I hope [my gift] will enhance the status of science at UBC. I want to support somebody who has a good idea and good potential”. — Dr. Charlotte Froese Fischer

May 4, 2018

“There are so many things that can be done using computers,” says Dr. Charlotte Froese Fischer, an affiliate professor in the Department of Computer Science at UBC. “Computers have the ability of extending the human mind.”

Charlotte has been connected to UBC since the 1950s, when she studied math and chemistry as an undergraduate student, then as a graduate student and professor in the Department of Mathematics. After completing her PhD in computer science at the University of Cambridge, she returned to help UBC establish its computer science department.

Today, Charlotte is focusing on her true passion: her research. She continues to work in the area of open source software development for the study of atomic properties. Charlotte believes strongly in the potential for international research and study partnerships to create positive change in the world. For over 25 years, she has been involved with the US Department of Energy in support of the ITER Project, a collaboration of scientists in 35 nations to conquer one of the greatest frontiers in science—reproducing the energy that fuels the Sun and the stars.

Besides being globally recognized for her contributions to her field, Charlotte is a generous supporter of the university and recently created a gift in her will for the Department of Computer Science and the Institute of Applied Mathematics.

“I decided my legacy should be at UBC,” says Charlotte. “UBC did a lot for me. I felt the support of the university, and I wanted to support someone else.”

Charlotte has seen firsthand the effect early career support can have for a bright researcher. Growing up on a farm in the Fraser Valley, she was the first in her family to attend university. At UBC, she explains, she felt encouraged to achieve her ambitions within the male dominated field of science.

Charlotte was the first woman to receive the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, which helped support her research early in her career. Looking to the future, she hopes that her gift will do the same for promising UBC scientists.