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Friday, May 26, 2000

  • Two events in the psych department
  • Top honour for UW chemist
  • Other events and notes today

Two events in the psych department

"Development 2000", a conference on developmental psychology, is under way at UW, running through Saturday and attracting an estimated 225 psychologists from universities and other organizations across Canada.

Says Hildy Ross of UW's psych department, one of the organizers: "It combines a biennial conference sponsored for the last 20 years by the department of psychology at this university, with the annual meeting of the Developmental Section of the Canadian Psychological Association. Its focus is on the future of the field in Canada."

Graduate students have especially been invited, and graduate student participation is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, she said. The grant subsidizes the travel costs of graduate students who will be presenting their work at the conference.

About the event: "The conference program is diverse in its content, with a mixture of symposia, paper sessions, posters and poster workshops, and a conversation hour focused on Canadian participation in international research collaborations. In total, more than 140 individual papers will be presented by researchers over the three days of the meeting."

Conference highlights are provided by two keynote speakers. William Bukowski of Concordia University spoke last night about his recent work on adolescent peer relations, under the title "Same and other: Continuities and contrasts in early adolescents' experiences with peers". Today, Renée Baillargeon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will deliver an invited address entitled, "How do infants learn about the physical world?" She'll speak at 4:30 in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

"Together," says Ross, "their work spans the developmental period from early infancy to adolescence, the dual aspects of social and cognitive development, and represents the best of recent work by Canadian developmental psychologists."

Overlapping that conference is a symposium jointly sponsored by the psych department's social division and their counterparts in the psych department at the University of Western Ontario.

Their Ninth Ontario Symposium on "Motivated Social Perception" will run Saturday and Sunday in PAS (Psychology) room 2083, with papers whose titles touch on "self-esteem", "identity confusion", "self-motives" and "motivated social perception on the Internet".

Says Katherine MacLean of the psych department: "Recently a number of researchers have developed interesting and influential accounts of how motivation affects social perception. At this conference we are bringing a number of these researchers together to discuss these advances.

"Despite these advances, as we see it, the programs of research have developed in two fairly distinct traditions. In one tradition the self-concept as an organizer of information and source of motivation has been shown to play a crucial role in social perception. Research in this tradition has shown that the motivation to maintain a positive self-concept and to define oneself in the social world can dramatically effect people's social perception. A second tradition has emphasized the impact of goals as a force in shaping people's social perceptions. Research in this tradition has shown that people's goals have a dramatic effect on how they perceive themselves and others.

"One important function of the proposed conference is that it will bring together researchers from each of these two traditions. Although the two traditions have developed fairly independently, it seems that they have much in common and each could benefit from a greater understanding of the other tradition."

Top honour for UW chemist -- from the UW news bureau

A University of Waterloo faculty member, who invented analytical technologies to improve on-site measurements of air and water quality, among other uses, has been elected to the fellowship of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Chemistry professor Janusz Pawliszyn will receive his fellowship certificate on Sunday at the institute's annual meeting in Calgary.

The CIC, an umbrella organization for three constituent societies, awards the senior-class fellowships in recognition of researchers who have made a major contribution to the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering or chemical technology.

In the early 1990s, Pawliszyn invented solid phase microextraction (SPME), a chemical sampling technology used to conduct analyses of trace amounts of potential pollutants. His innovation reduces the difficulties and costs of gathering samples in the field so they can be analyzed in the lab or even on site. "The focus of our work is the development and application of state-of-the-art, integrated and automated analytical methods and instrumentation, for on-site analysis and for monitoring air, water, process streams and biological fluids analysis," Pawliszyn said.

A new service offered by his laboratory in UW's chemistry department is called Pollution Busters, involving a team of researchers and graduate students who conduct field sampling of air and water using Pawliszyn's invention-solid-phase microextraction (SPME) -- and a mobile gas chromatograph. So far, the team has found pollution inside an attached garage of a residential house, as well as a significant hazardous source of formaldehyde -- from new bedroom furniture -- inside a residential house during an indoor air survey.

"Our mobile sampling system is accurate, fast, sensitive and cost-efficient in field sampling applications," Pawliszyn said. "SPME technology combined with fast and portable gas chromatograph can reduce sampling and analysis time to less than 15 minutes."

Pawliszyn's SPME technology is based on the use of a simple, low-cost syringe that can be inserted into a lake, stream or exposed to the air. The needle part of the adapted syringe is a tiny steel rod that encloses a glass fibre. The glass fibre is coated with a polymer to which pollutants chemically bond. To collect samples, the field worker inserts the syringe, pushes the plunger to move the glass fibre out of the steel "needle," and the pollutants bond with the polymer that coats the fibre. Later, the fibre is withdrawn into the needle for protection, by pulling the plunger, and the sample collected can be transferred to an analytical instrument.

As well, analysis on the spot, with a portable chromatograph, can disclose what pollutants exist and whether the levels are safe, and therefore allow immediate action to be taken to correct the situation.

In another project, Pawliszyn invented a new imaging detection method, which has been recently commercialized by Convergent Bioscience of Toronto for analysis of clinical blood samples and process quality control in biotechnology industry.

Pawliszyn is a member of the editorial boards of five chemistry journals. He is the current chairholder of the Supelco-Varian-NSERC Industrial Research Chair in New Analytical Methods and Technologies, based at UW.

Other events and notes today

Staff in the registrar's office are sending out thousands of acceptance letters today to high school students who have applied to enter UW in September. Some 11,848 offers of admission are being made as the university aims to have 4,120 first-year students next fall. Monday's Bulletin will have extensive details on the admission process.

The Federation of Students will hold an open house today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its offices in the Student Life Centre. "Come meet the volunteers, staff and executive," says the new vice-president (issues) of the Federation, Desiree Taric. "We are really working hard to tell everyone that we are accessible," she writes, "and we love to have people come into the office and talk to us, because it is very hard to keep in touch with the campus when we are stuck at a desk all day. We thought this would be a good way to get everyone in at one time!" Everybody's welcome -- "light refreshments and snacks" will be served.

REEP, which recently received a transfusion of funding from local governments, is celebrating the Day of the 1,000th House today with homes in Kitchener, Waterloo, Baden and Cambridge sharing the milestone. Representatives from regional and municipal governments will be on hand at each site to present cheques in support of the work of the Residential Energy Efficiency Project to save energy, money and the environment through a program of home energy audits. REEP is administered by UW's faculty of environmental studies and the Elora Centre for Environmental Excellence.

The registrar's office, including the student awards office, will be closed today from 11:30 to 1:30 for a staff meeting.

The career services office puts its whole seminar series together in six hours on Saturday, offering "The Whole Kit 'n' Kaboodle" for students who want to hear about self-assessment, resume and letter writing, work searching, networking, employer research and interview skills all together. The day runs from 9:00 to 4:30, with pizza in the middle. A signup sheet for the day is available in the career resource centre on the first floor of Needles Hall.

[Wineglass] Oenophiles will head off at 8:45 tomorrow morning for the first of two Niagara wine tours sponsored by the UW staff association. Tomorrow's trip is sold out, but there might still be tickets available for a similar trip that's happening next Saturday, June 3 -- the staff association office (phone ext. 3566) would have the latest on that.

Kitchener's Morée School of Dance has the Humanities Theatre booked this weekend for its spring recital (Saturday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 1:00).

Finally, these opportunities are listed by the local Volunteer Action Centre:

Fun Helpers and golf tournament assistants are needed by Extend-a-Family. If you love golf you will have a great time on Friday, June 23, at the Investors Group 2nd annual Charity Golf Tournament helping to mark the course and identify prizewinners. Or join the fun on Saturday, June 24, at Extend-a-Family's second annual Family Festival of Fun at Waterloo Park. Volunteers are needed to help children on and off rides, collect money and sell refreshments.

Volunteer as a family or as an individual with the K-W YMCA Host Program. This program matches local families/individuals with newcomers to Canada to provide friendship, community orientation and an opportunity to practice English. Spend 1-2 hours a week for 4-6 months while helping newcomers adjust to their new country.

Social Planning Council of K-W/Community Information Centre of Waterloo Region seeks board members. Join a committed team of volunteers that gives the council a broadly based community perspective. Volunteers with expertise in community development, social research, computer technology, funds development, publishing or marketing are encouraged to apply.

For information about such things, and more besides, the VAC can be reached at 742-8610.

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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