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Thursday, January 13, 2000

  • Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute
  • So, how have you been feeling?
  • Note to researchers about tax
  • Joining the pension plan
  • On the first really snowy day


Student falls from REV

A student is in critical condition in hospital this morning after a fall last night from a third-floor window in Ron Eydt Village. UW police identified the student who fell as [name deleted January 17, 2000]. Waterloo Regional Police are involved in investigating the incident.

Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute

That's the new name for what was formerly the Guelph-Waterloo Program for Graduate Work in Physics, GWP2, after approval for the new label was given by UW's senate in November and the University of Guelph senate in December. GWPI is a joint program of the two universities, involving about 75 researchers from UW, Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

Robert Mann of UW's physics department, who recently took over as GWPI director from Guelph's Bob Brooks, says GWPI is "Canada's first and most innovative joint graduate program in physics. We have more than 50 students, 15 postdoctoral fellows and research funding of over $4 million, making us the second largest physics program in Ontario.

"We began in 1981 as a joint project between the universities of Guelph and Waterloo to offer a broader range of graduate courses to our students. Since then we have grown to include faculty from our applied math, chemistry, and engineering departments, as well as scientists from Wilfrid Laurier and the Chalk River and National Research Council Laboratories.

"Our two campuses are 30 km apart but electronically joined by two microwave links servicing two fully equipped video classrooms at each end. All student advisory committee meetings, comprehensive examinations and courses having enrolments on both campuses are now performed over 'the link', and so students need not commute between the campuses."

When the name change came to UW's senate, a brief report explained that GWP2 was doing more than just "graduate work". It said: "The partnership with Guelph is strongly research-based and encompasses the activities of post-doctoral fellows and research associates as well as graduate students."

Mann told the senate research council that "the name change will more easily further joint research funding applications, since GWP will be seen to be a research organization rather than an exclusively teaching one."

Looking ahead: Guelph-Waterloo Physics Information Night will be held January 27, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in Physics room 145, with wine and cheese, posters and special talks aimed at getting fourth-year undergraduates interested in physics graduate study.

So, how have you been feeling?

"Health services was very busy last week," says supervising nurse Carole Hea, and there's no mystery about why.

"The flu has arrived on campus," she says, just as it's arrived arrived across Ontario and, apparently, around the world. Co-workers, classmates, roommates, and probably your nearest and dearest have been suffering with the flu, which hit on or about Christmas and hasn't let up.

Headache can have plenty of other causes besides the flu. You could be working in the Math and Computer building, for instance, where machines ripping up the old flooring have been shaking the walls and splitting eardrums for days. Or you could spend tonight at Boys 'n' Girls Night at Federation Hall -- a special, hangover-inducing celebration marking the first anniversary of B 'n' G.
I grew up thinking of "the flu" as a stomach ailment, but medical folks mostly use the word to describe something different, a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that makes you hot and sore and tired. "Generally," says Hea, "people have a sore throat followed by chills and fever, generalized aches in arms, legs, back and head, head cold with post-nasal drip, decreased appetite. Some people have also had nausea and vomiting."

She advises: "If these symptoms develop into severe earache, shortness of breath, severe head or neck pain and a consistent fever greater than 38 [that's about 100 Fahrenheit], a person should seek medical attention."

Antibiotics and other heavy-duty treatment are used for secondary, bacterial infections, not for the basic flu. Head for a clinic or emergency room when you don't need to, and you risk being part of the hours-long lineups for medical help that have been making headlines.

For your ordinary case of the flu, says Hea, "The best remedy is increase the number of hours of sleep, drink increased amounts of fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine, and gargle with warm salt water every six hours for your sore throat. For your aches and fever the drug of choice is Tylenol (acetominophen) and Advil (ibuprofen) -- not ASA, due to risk of Reye's Syndrome."

And next year, she says, get your flu shot before the flu season starts.

Note to researchers about tax

Tax exemptions for research equipment are "near and dear to many researchers' hearts", says Steve Cook in UW's purchasing department, and he recently sent out a memo to help make things go smoothly:

"There is a new revision to the purchase requisition which has recently been distributed on campus amongst most general research departments. The key revision (one that has been emphasized in colour), is that a requisitioner must sign the reverse of the requisition in order to claim a research exemption.

"A research 'exemption' is the ability to purchase apparatus that is designated for and used exclusively in research or repair, without having to pay provincial sales tax on that equipment. The exemption usually does not apply to consumables or non-scientific related equipment.

"The reverse on the newly revised purchase requisition contains an 'end user certification' which asks for a brief explanation and the researcher's signature. This requirement is solely a result of the Provincial audit last year and we must do our best to verify that goods/services are in fact for research to protect and ensure the long term status of this exemption.

"Purchasing Services will do our best to avoid any delays -- signatures will certainly help. Should anyone have questions, please call Stephen Cook at ext. 2515."

Joining the pension plan

A notice from the human resources department:

"Pension legislation in Ontario gives certain employees, who are not normally eligible, the option to join the University of Waterloo pension plan. To be eligible you must have worked continuously for the University of Waterloo during 1998 and 1999 and also you must have:

  1. earned $12,915 or more in 1998, and $13,090 or more in 1999, or
  2. worked more than 700 hours for the University of Waterloo in both 1998 and 1999.
"Pension plan participation normally requires employee contributions at the rate of 4.55% of base earnings up to $37,600 and 6.5% of any base earnings exceeding $37,600 (the 2000 Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings for Canada Pension). However, currently required contributions are at 25% of those percentage amounts (i.e. 1.1375% and 1.625% respectively). Effective May 1, 2000, contributions are scheduled to increase to 50% of normal levels (i.e. 2.275% and 3.25% respectively).

"If you wish to join the pension plan, and feel that you qualify or have any questions concerning your eligibility, please contact Wanda Speek at ext. 3573 to make the necessary arrangements."

On the first really snowy day

The WatCHI group -- CHI is computer-human interaction -- presents a talk today by Kim Vicente, director of the University of Toronto's Cognitive Engineering Laboratory. At 3:30 in Davis Centre room 1302, he'll speak on the future of the field.

The CSS (Co-op Student Services) group is having its first meeting of the term today, starting at 4:00 in room 2136 of the Student Life Centre. CSS commissioner Duncan Mowbray explains: "CSS is a Federation of Students commission which provides various services for UW Co-op students. We need volunteers to help write and edit the Co-op Student Handbook, which will be available on our web site. We also need students with some computer skills to help implement an online version of Co-op Employer Evaluations, based on the EngSoc's UnWant Ads. Our third area of interest is WatPubs, which are in much need of organizational help. If you or anyone you know would be interested in helping with these activities, please come to the meeting, or e-mail djmowbra@undergrad.math."

The new exhibition in the UW art gallery in the Modern Languages building consists of works by ten faculty members from the department of fine arts. The show runs from today through February 20, and today from 5 to 7 p.m. there will be an opening reception in the gallery. Next week, in connection with the show, one of the ten, Joan Coutu, will give a public lecture on "Empire and Propaganda" (January 20, 1:30 p.m., East Campus Hall room 1219).

The UW-sponsored workshop series on urban living and environmental change starts tonight with a panel on "Ecology and Urban Environments" at the Adult Learning Centre on King Street South in Waterloo (7 p.m.). Taking part are UW's Stephen Murphy (environment and resource studies) and Larry Martin (planning), as well as people from NASA, Earthtech Consulting, and Thompson & Associates.

Word is that the hugely popular band Barenaked Ladies is playing a special concert tonight, sponsored by the UW spinoff firm Research in Motion (maker of the BlackBerry hand-held Internet port) and open only to guests of the company. A couple of hundred tickets were being distributed this week to computer science and engineering students at UW.

The provost's office sends word that again this year UW will sponsor up to four people to attend one of two university administrators' courses, to be held this spring in Banff or in White Point, Nova Scotia. "The programs," a memo says, "are designed to broaden and deepen participant skills in recognizing, meeting and handling current and emerging issues." Anne Wagland in the provost's office (awagland@nh3adm) has more information; applications should be submitted, through one's supervisor, by January 28.

CAR


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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