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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Friday, June 12, 1998

  • Physics department plays host
  • Fence blocks 'unofficial path'
  • Toronto guidelines stress 'perception'
  • Engineering alumni get together
  • Prof on television; and more
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Physics department plays host

A technical workshop today and tomorrow, hosted by UW's physics department, will be followed by two big conferences that will bring hundreds of physicists to Waterloo -- including a Nobel Prize winner who will give a public lecture Sunday.

Materials technology workshop

Overlapping with the physics department's events -- in time and also in topic -- is the Waterloo Workshop on Materials Technology, to be held Saturday by the Waterloo Centre for Materials Technology. The first of a series, this event is to emphasize electronic materials, and participants will hear papers on such topics as silicon-germanium semiconductor manufacturing, materials technology in microsystems, and "isotopic effects and isotopic engineering in electronic materials".
Happening first is the third Canadian Powder Diffraction Workshop, "aimed at demonstrating the applications of X-ray and neutron powder diffraction methods". Then comes the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Physicists, taking place Sunday through Wednesday, with many of the participants staying in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre.

Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu will give a free public lecture to open that event. Chu, who received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, will speak about his research on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building. The Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University, Chu received the prize for the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.

The CAP conference will have sessions on atmospheric and space physics, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, industrial and applied physics, nuclear physics, optics and photonics, particle physics, physics education, plasma physics, surface science, and theoretical physics. It includes keynote speakers, contributed papers, a poster session, award lectures and exhibits. About 500 Canadian and international physicists are expected to attend.

There will also be a public session on entrepreneurship on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to noon (Davis Centre room 1302). "Continuing the congress tradition," organizers say, "there will be symposia organized by the Division of Condensed Matter Physics and the Division of Plasma Physics on Sunday, June 14. NSERC representatives will also be attending on Wednesday, June 17 to present NSERC's response to the recommendations from the Review of Canadian Academic Physics. . . . The Lumonics best student paper competition will take place as a speech from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, June 15, immediately preceding the beer and poster session." The CAP banquet will take place Tuesday evening at Federation Hall.

And after CAP, June 18 to 20, comes the annual conference of the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers. Theme for this year's conference" "Tools to Teach Physics". A series of invited talks and contributed papers is scheduled, to say nothing of a banquet at which Phil Eastman, recently retired from UW's physics department, will speak on "30 Years of SIN".

Fence blocks 'unofficial path'

A shortcut from parking lot B across the railway tracks in the direction of the science buildings is being blocked off with a fence this week, says Tom Galloway, director of custodial and grounds services. He says people will now have to walk to campus from lot B using one of the official routes: a pathway opposite Engineering III (near University Plaza), the bridge opposite the Davis Centre main entrance, or the roadway at the General Services Complex.

The fence is closing "an unofficial kind of path that's been worn into the berm" along the tracks, Galloway said. "I know there are people who are used to this route," he added. "It's going to add 15 or 20 seconds to their walk."

He said there are two reasons the route is being blocked:

He added that improvements are going to be made, by the end of July, to the path at the southern (plaza) end of lot B to make it more convenient and attractive.

Toronto guidelines stress 'perception'

The University of Toronto, which has been coming under criticism for being a little too cozy with corporate donors, this week issued guidelines to make sure gifts to the university are consistent with "academic freedom and autonomy".

"These guidelines are an explicit statement about our relationship with our donors and were developed to prevent any misinterpretations about that relationship or gift agreements that may result," says U of T provost Adel Sedra. "We want to avoid even the perception that gifts infringe on academic freedom. The guidelines function as a check list for all parties to an evolving agreement."

The guidelines state that the university "values and will protect its integrity, autonomy and academic freedom and does not accept gifts when a condition of such acceptance would compromise these fundamental principles."

Says Sedra: "Our experience suggests donors neither expect nor wish to exert disproportionate influence. In fact, donors are drawn to universities, in part because of the vitality that flows from the tradition of academic freedom and autonomy."

Corporate influence over the direction of research at U of T, and even students' work, has been getting out of hand, some critics have charged. A major article in the latest issue of Report on Business Magazine explored the issue in a critical tone, and in yesterday's Star, columnist Naomi Klein quoted one of Toronto's academic stars, Ursula Franklin: "She sees these deals transforming Canada's largest university into the outsourced research wing of some of the country's most profitable corporations. 'Nothing is wrong with generosity,' says Franklin, 'but there is something awfully wrong with directed charity.'"

Engineering alumni get together

Is the old iron ring lost, or getting a tad too tight? Members of the UW engineering classes of 1973 and 1978 will have a chance to have their iron rings replaced or refitted at the 25th and 20th reunion celebrations this weekend.

The iron ring station at a reception hosted by UW president James Downey on Saturday afternoon is just one of the highlights of the weekend's festivities. "Come and renew old friendships and get caught up on all the news," reunion organizers have been urging alumni. "Find out about kids, cars, careers, loss of hair, grandchildren (?) etc. See how the campus and K-W have changed over the years."

Kicking off the event at noon on Saturday is a "Get Reacquainted Lunch" at the University Club, followed by a campus tour and a gala dinner. On Saturday afternoon, the classes of 1973 and 1978 can mingle at a Fed Hall beer garden with alumni attending the other engineering reunion this weekend for the classes of 1983, 1988 and 1993.

Classes marking their 15th, 10th and 5th reunions will converge Saturday at Fed Hall for a barbecue and beer fest starting at noon. A number of late afternoon and evening activities are scheduled for each class, with alumni from all classes coming together for a farewell brunch on Sunday.

Prof on television; and more

Michael Higgins, dean of St. Jerome's University, will wind up a season of television appearances tonight at 7:00. Since October, Higgins has been a regular member of the "2020 Vision Panel" on "@discovery.ca", Discovery Channel's daily science newsmagazine. Tonight's topic will be Oceans and the Gaia Hypothesis; some previous topics included Immortality, Extinct Species Resurrection, and Male Pregnancy. During each panel discussion, host Jay Ingram probes the implications of current scientific technologies or theories in the fictional year of 2020. "The '2020 Vision Panel' is really about human thinking and human living," says Higgins. "We respond to the exponential advances in scientific technology and discuss the social implications of these advances. We question who we are and where we are going as a society. I believe that this type of meaningful dialogue between the sciences and the informed humanities is critical for the future of our society."

An information systems and technology open house about the Year 2000 challenge begins at 10:00 this morning in Davis Centre room 1302.

A teaching assistants' workshop on "Visual Aids: Design and Use" starts at 12 noon today in Math and Computer room 5158.

The school of optometry holds a symposium today to mark the tenth anniversary of its Centre for Contact Lens Research. The school's yearly continuing education program for optometrists follows, through the weekend.

TGIF, or POETS -- yes, but it's also midterm exam season. Best wishes to those facing the ordeals, such as the folks in Electrical and Computer Engineering 222, who write this afternoon at 4:30.
The Waterloo Dance Centre will hold its spring recital in UW's Humanities Theatre, Saturday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 1:30.

Word comes from the Federation of Students that the safety van will run on a trial basis this Saturday and Sunday nights, from 9:15 to 1:30. "Summer is usually slow," says van coordinator Jonathan Waterhouse, "but we thought we would see if there is enough demand to run on weekends all summer."

The Ron Eydt Conference Centre hosts a "retreat" sponsored by the Women's Institutes this weekend, as well as delegates to the Canadian Association of Physicists annual congress. Oh, and the Village will also be the headquarters for today's Tri-University Purchasing Golf Invitational.

The local Volunteer Action Centre is currently looking for "patient, reliable volunteers to help with summer activities" -- swimming or gardening -- at the Sunnyside Home for seniors, and for people to "help with a survey, kidsfest, security, gating or at the information kiosk" at the city of Waterloo Sounds of Summer festival June 20-21. Interested? Call the VAC at 742-8610.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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