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Tuesday, June 15, 1999

  • The season of gold medals
  • Winner of physics competition
  • National architecture winners
  • Other matters worth a mention
  • Now let's talk about birds

The season of gold medals

No wonder the prices of gold and silver dropped yesterday: precious metals will be handed out in profusion at UW's convocation ceremonies for the rest of this week. Names of a number of medal winners are now available.

Convocation notes

The campus will be well decorated for convocation this week, even though South Campus Hall at the main entrance is still a construction site. (The project should be finished in another two weeks, says university architect Dan Parent.) And the weather forecast is for sun most of the rest of the week -- good news for family members with bouquets and go-to-meetin' clothes.

Traffic will be heavy and parking spaces in high demand for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ceremonies. It might be wise for faculty, staff and students to leave the car home if that's a possibility.

Wednesday's convocation ceremony, beginning at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities main gym, brings the awarding of 499 degrees in environmental studies, applied health sciences, and independent studies, as well as the installation of David Johnston as president of UW. I saw Johnston for a moment this morning and asked him how he was liking the job, which he's held since June 1. A big grin was all the answer he really needed to give.

The Governor General's Gold Medal, provided by the Governor-General of Canada for the outstanding recipient of a PhD degree, will go to Hoan Huu Pham, whose doctorate in electrical and computer engineering was actually awarded last fall. "Dr. Pham was also awarded the 1999 NSERC Doctoral Prize in Engineering," notes Dwight Aplevich, associate dean of graduate studies. "The selection was made from a group of nominees with superb intellectual achievement and international reputation established while they were students."

The Governor General's Academic Silver Medal will go to two students at the bachelor's level: Cathy Harrison (BA in classical studies with the language specialization) and Frederic Latour (BMath, double major in combinatorics and optimization and pure mathematics).

Six students will receive UW's own alumni gold medals as high-ranking graduates at the bachelor's level from their faculties:

Convocation ceremonies will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. for AHS, ES and independent studies; Thursday for arts; Friday for science; Saturday at 10 for mathematics; and Saturday at 2:00 for engineering.

Winner of physics competition

A Grade 12 high school student in Guelph solved 13 out of 14 problems to become the winner of this year's Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) physics contest held by UW. Illya Tolokh of John F. Ross Collegiate and Vocational Institute topped the highly competitive contest.

It attracted about 5,000 students from nearly 600 high schools across Canada (mostly Ontario) and a few from abroad who wrote the two-hour exam on April 22. Results were made public this week.

In second place was Mandheerej Nandra of Martingrove Collegiate Institute in Islington (Toronto), and third spot went to Louis Leung of Earl Haig Secondary School in North York (also Toronto). Both students solved 12 of the 14 problems.

Physics professor John Vanderkooy, who runs the exam, said the average score this year was up considerably from last year as a few questions were made easier.

The contest is computer-scored, but the top 265 papers are hand-marked to select scholarship recipients and the winners of 158 book prizes. Several students are expected to accept SIN entrance scholarships worth $6,000 each to study honours physics at UW, in either the regular or co-op program.

In the contest, students faced physics questions featuring real and fictional characters, including Romeo and Juliet, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Québec Premier Lucien Bouchard, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Garfield, Starship Captain Picard as well as Asterix and Obelix.

National architecture winners

Architects with UW connections scooped up the Governor General's Medals in Architecture last month at presentation ceremonies in Vancouver.

Awarded biannually on the basis of submissions judged by an international jury following visits to the building sites, the prizes included five for merit and five for excellence. Six went to architects with links to the UW school of architecture:

One medal was won by a BC architect, and the others went to Québec.

The five-person jury also had Waterloo connections. Larry Richards was former director (1982-87) and regular faculty member (1982-96) at Waterloo, and is now dean of the school of architecture, landscape and design at the University of Toronto. Steven Teeple (BArch 1980) designed the addition to Burt Matthews Hall, and co-designed the new campus entrance at South Campus Hall and a yet-to-be-built science and engineering building.

Other matters worth a mention

Students in the co-op teaching options will find out today how they've been matched with jobs for the fall term; before the day is over, they'll be closeted in "acceptance of employment" meetings with coordinators in Needles Hall.

A workshop for teaching assistants, on "Designing a Course", will start at 12 noon today in Math and Computer room 4063. Last-minute information: phone ext. 3132.

The joint health and safety committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3043.

The Graduate House hosts a "mixer" tonight -- "a great place to meet people, or just come out to enjoy the evening", says Stephanie Faint, vice-president (student affairs) for the Graduate Student Association. "Tickets are $5 and include a glass of wine or pop (or whatever you desire)." Somebody, or something, called Ringworm will play recorded music.

Tomorrow brings the fifth annual St. Jerome's University Golf Tournament, starting at 11:30 at Rockway Golf Club. It's a fund-raiser for the college, priced at $125 including dinner. "The only pressure is to have fun! fun! fun!" says a flyer. Last-minute information should be available from Rhonda Flewwelling at St. Jerome's, 884-8111 ext. 254.

This Friday, the Employee Assistance Program presents a noon-hour "Breast Cancer Update" by David Dingle, director of the Grand River Hospital oncology (cancer care) program. He'll speak at 12:00 in Davis Centre room 1304.

Now let's talk about birds

I have heard a few mutterings lately about the number of Canada geese who are decorating the campus in their own special way this summer. And they're big and they're aggressive -- "they roam this end of the campus in a pack," one critic told me -- and most of all, there are more of them than ever before. I think we'll return to this subject later in the week.

Meanwhile, though, I have a note from a reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) about another aspect of the human-bird relationship.

"I would like," says the note I received, "to make a comment about an item in today's Daily Bulletin." That would be last Thursday's Bulletin, with a report about "A Machine in the Garden", a display in Waterloo Park by UW architecture students.

One of the installations is described as "a play platform" in the middle of Laurel Creek. Says my correspondent: "I was horrified when I saw how the platform 'enticed children to mid-stream play'. A group of kids used the platform to stand in the middle of the creek, pick up rocks, and throw them at the ducks and their ducklings, having great fun in the process. The platform certainly made it easier for the kids to reach the ducks swimming by, and allowed them to throw the rocks in all directions. It also gave them access to the many rocks lying in the middle of the creek.

"I enjoyed viewing the other exhibits, but I think the platform is a horrible idea and would like to see it removed."

Otherwise, I gather, "A Machine in the Garden" is drawing good reviews. "My favourite," one fan wrote in a letter to the director of the school of architecture, "is the boardwalk tucked away in the wetland on the other side of the tracks. . . . The 'bundled organic pillars' arouse the curiosity; stooping to peer beyond the pillars, the lines of the boardwalk draw one's eye to the green oasis within. The entire scene beckons and refreshes."


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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