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Beware the Ides

  Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, March 15, 1999

  • New research contracts signed today
  • UW senators heed history
  • Youngsters explore engineering
  • Other things to beware today
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New research contracts signed today

Contracts for three major new research projects totalling $66.8 million are being signed today at 1 p.m. in the Davis Centre lounge, room 1301, by UW president James Downey, Ontario minister of energy, science and technology Jim Wilson, and corporate partners.

Made possible by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, the projects provide for new research and development in advanced telecommunication technologies and in automated welding.

Following the announcement, researchers will give the minister a tour of the research labs for a view of state-of-the-art robots and other equipment in the high speed automated welding lab.

UW senators heed history --from Chris Redmond

Members of UW's senate have postponed this month's meeting for a week, moving it from the ominous Ides to next Monday, March 22. The supposed reason is the March school break, but no doubt senators have a keen awareness of what happened one previous time at a March 15 session of the senate -- not the UW governing body, to be precise, but the senate of republican Rome in the year 44 BC.

It's the sort of thing senators used to do to administrators with overweening ambition: they gathered round with their knives and stabbed Julius Caesar to death, right in the senate chamber. He had been warned, too, as Plutarch suggests in his classic Lives:

When the day was come, Caesar, as he went to the senate, met this soothsayer, and said to him by way of raillery, "The ides of March are come;" who answered him calmly, "Yes, they are come, but they are not past." The day before this assassination, he supped with Marcus Lepidus; and as he was signing some letters, according to his custom, as he reclined at table, there arose a question what sort of death was the best. At which he immediately, before anyone could speak, said, "A sudden one."

When Caesar entered, the senate stood up to show their respect to him, and of Brutus's confederates, some came about his chair and stood behind it, others met him, pretending to add their petitions to those of Tillius Cimber, in behalf of his brother, who was in exile; and they followed him with their joint supplications till he came to his seat. When he was sat down, he refused to comply with their requests, and upon their urging him further, began to reproach them severally for their importunities, when Tillius, laying hold of his robe with both his hands, pulled it down from his neck, which was the signal for the assault. Casca gave him the first cut, in the neck.

Other senators joined in, to the point that Caesar is said to have received 23 separate wounds -- including the one from Brutus, supposedly his friend, that led to the most famous line in Shakespeare's play about the conspiracy: "Et tu, Brute? Then die, Caesar!"

Not wanting to suggest that anything of the sort could happen in UW's senate, of course. However, the agenda for March 22 does include some fairly controversial stuff. Among them: a budget update which may contain news of tuition fee hikes, and reports from the distinguished teacher award committee and the honorary degree committee.

The Ides issue will not give UW senators pause in the future. February and March senate meetings have now been moved permanently to the fourth Monday of those months to avoid conflicts with reading week and March break. That's the official story.

Youngsters explore engineering

Some 2,000 children and their parents will discover the diverse world of engineering at Explorations 99 at UW today from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

The participants, mostly students in Grades 5 to 8 and their parents, will take tours conducted by engineering staff, faculty and some 70 student volunteers. They will also attend presentations and visit engineering-related displays.

"Explorations 99 highlights just a few of the interesting problems that society asks engineers to solve through the application of science," said mechanical engineering professor Roydon Fraser. "We hope to spark people's interest in engineering and help them to realize the variety of opportunities a student's math and sciences can open up for them."

Past Explorations events have demonstrated the modelling of buildings sinking in quicksand, satellite-assisted flood forecasts, wind-tunnel models of buildings and aircraft, and making useful plastics. As well, engineering student projects such as the solar-powered and Formula SAE cars will be exhibited.

Other things to beware today

Year 2000 Issues will be explored today in a noon hour lecture by Jay Black, UW associate provost, Information Sytems and Technology, at the Kitchener Public Library, 85 Queen Street North.

Continuous phase job posting #4 will be available in co-op by noon today, and will expire tomorrow at 8 p.m. Students are invited to brush up on their resume writing skills at a workshop from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Needles Hall room 1020.

P.B. Bear will be guest of honour at the Teddy Bears' Picnic today at 1 p.m. at the UW Bookstore. RSVP to Olga at ext. 3914 for this Kids' Club event.

An international income tax workshop is being held at 1:30 p.m. in Needles Hall 3001 for international students, post-docs and visiting scholars. Participants are asked to bring all records relating to employment (T4), tuition fees (T2202A), and scholarships and bursaries (T4A), as well as a General Income Tax Guide and a Forms Guide. Both guides are available from postal outlets.

Margaret-Anne Gillis, president of the Ontario Classical Association, will speak on Becoming a High School Classics Teacher at 3:30 p.m. in Modern Languages room 349. Everyone is welcome, especially those who are considering a high school teaching career in Latin, Greek or classical civilization.

Appointments can be made, starting today, for the next Canadian Blood Services blood donor clinic which runs from March 29 to April 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. To book a time to donate, visit the Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre. The goal is 200 units.

The staff association office will be closed this week, and anyone requiring immediate assistance can contact executive members Chris Henderson at ext. 2854 or Kelly Wilker at ext. 3092.

Renovations to the reception area of Health Services continue this week, but the department is open as usual, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Jack Cooper at IST sends a reminder that there are still some openings in the Report Building with Cognos Impromptu course being offered March 19 and 20. Information about who is eligible, course times and fees can be found at the web site.

Nominations are requested for two graduate student seats on the university senate, to be elected by and from full- and part-time graduate students. The terms run from May 1, 1999, to April 30, 2001. At least five nominators are required in each case. Nomination forms are available by phoning ext. 6125, and should be sent to the chief returning officer, university secretariat, Needles Hall room 3060, no later than 3 p.m. on Friday, March 19. Elections will follow if necessary.

Nominations close tomorrow for an engineering undergraduate student representative to the senate. If an election is held, on-campus voting will take place on Tuesday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the foyer of Carl Pollock Hall.

The Springer physics sale starts today and runs through June 18 at the UW Bookstore. These books are discounted up to 75 per cent from the regular retail price. As well, the everyday 10 per cent discount from the sticker price applies at the time of sale.

Campus Day crowds converge on UW tomorrow as eager high school students arrive to check out the faculties, colleges, housing, student services, food, and other attractions. "Anyone who is able to do without their car that day to provide parking for our visitors would be appreciated," notes Elaine Koolstra. Others who park off the Ring Road are asked to enter from Columbia Street on the north side of campus to avoid tie-ups on University Avenue on the south side. To accommodate the visitors, retail services stores will extend their hours on Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A correction to the Alumni Lane story in Friday's Bulletin has been provided by biology professor John Semple, director of the WAT Herbarium and author of An introduction to fungi, algae and plants: their morphology, classification and phylogeny (1998). The dawn redwood (also known as Metasequoia) is not a west coast native, but, in fact, was found around the globe some 15 million years ago -- "probably here, as well" -- before it went extinct with glaciation. "The tree was first described from fossils in 1941. A single living cultivated specimen was found three years later in 1944 in China," says Semple. "An expedition was organized to find seeds of wild plants and these were brought to botanical gardens in the west in 1948. Later generations of these plants are now frequently grown." The tree on campus, he believes, was grown from seed taken by retired biology professor Ron Eydt from a tree at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. "That tree was grown from seed collected on the 1948 expedition." Both the Metasequoia -- a non-evergreen conifer which may live for hundreds of years -- and the adjacent Ginkgo on the south side of Biology 2 are "living fossils" and relics of the past, says Semple, and "well-adapted to this part of the world."

Barbara Elve

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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