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Friday, January 11, 2002

  • Alumni are biggest source of givings
  • New measurement labs in physics
  • Notes for today and the weekend
Chris Redmond

Birthday of Canada's first prime minister


Linda Kieswetter is director of Campaign Waterloo and heads the development section of the office of development and alumni affairs.

Alumni are biggest source of givings

UW's "donor report" for 2000-01 lists 3,635 people and companies that gave money to the university last year -- and there are others "who have chosen to remain anonymous".

Altogether, it says, donations to the university added up to $22,214,575.

"Undoubtedly," says the donor report, distributed with the new issue of the UW Magazine, "the most breathtaking gift of the year was $7 million from engineering graduate Rod Coutts, who says he just wanted to 'give something back' to the university which prepared him for success." Much of the Coutts gift is going to pay for renovations to the Engineering Lecture Hall, which was renamed in the donor's honour last spring.

Some of the gifts were designated for particular faculties ($1.9 million for science, $1.8 million for engineering, $1.2 million for math) or other parts of the university ($140,000 for the library). But the majority, more than $12 million, is listed as "university-wide" or interdisciplinary.

And here's where the money came from: "alumni and honorary alumni", $10,652,697; parents, $232,062; faculty and staff, $401,965; retirees and former faculty and staff, $1,264,352; friends, $1,840,381; corporations and organizations, $6,643,019; foundations, $617,320; municipal and regional governments, $39,000; students and student groups, $13,574; other, $510,205.

The student figure doesn't include "voluntary contributions" to endowment funds through student fees in various faculties. As for the big money coming from former faculty and staff, Linda Kieswetter, director of Campaign Waterloo, says it includes "some large donations (several anonymous) to the J. W. Graham Trust. There were also several large gifts from alumni to this fund."

The donor report includes long lists of names, including hundreds who earned membership in the Chancellor's Circle (individual contributions of $5,000 or more a year), the Governors' Circle ($2,500 or more), and the President's Circle ($1,000 or more). Those lists include some nationally known names, as well as dozens that are recognizable as belonging to UW faculty, staff and retirees.

New measurement labs in physics -- from an article by Jeff Gardiner in the physics department newsletter Phys 13 News

Recently, some very exciting new additions to the undergraduate physics laboratory program at Waterloo have been made possible by a rather generous donation. This money has been used for improvements to many existing laboratory courses, and has made it possible to introduce two new courses: Measurements I and II. These have been designed specifically for physics students in first and second year.

[Equipment packed solid on the benches] Development of the lab room itself (right) involved renovations to some existing space within the department. The lab room was updated with new benches that were designed to accommodate the host of new measurement and data acquisition hardware that the courses would require. The layout of the room provides for 12 experimental stations to accommodate up to 24 students.

An instructor's station duplicates the hardware available at the student stations, and has some added features. The video display of the instructor's computer is sent to a projector, to allow the students to view on the big screen what the instructor is doing. The projection system also incorporates a laser pointer and wireless mouse, so the instructor can operate the PC from virtually anywhere in the room. Each experimental station has its own 800 MHz Pentium III PC.

The courses have been developed to give students some practical experience with computer based data acquisition and analysis. In the implementation of these new courses, we've decided to build both around the use of National Instruments LabVIEW, a graphical programming language for building instrumentation and test and measurement systems. It is widely used in both research and industrial applications.

The user interface of this program has two main windows. The front panel is the window in which all of the controls (switches, dials and buttons) and displays (charts and graphs, meters, gauges and indicators) are located. The block diagram is the other window, where the code is actually "written". Objects on the front panel show up as icons in the block diagram. Writing the code is achieved by simply wiring together the appropriate inputs and outputs from the front panel connectors, or to any of the many other data acquisition, numeric and string manipulation, and data processing functions.

The first course using this new laboratory is Measurements I (Physics 132L), which is taken by all first year physics majors, and involves five separate experiments: The Oscilloscope, Vital Signs, The Speed of Sound, Calorimetry and Resistivity, and Diffraction. The aim is to introduce students to various measurement techniques using the basic hardware in the lab and to gain some experience using acquisition and data processing programs written in LabVIEW. The Oscilloscope introduces the students to this fundamental measurement device, employing it to perform the basic measurements of amplitude, frequency and phase. Students are also introduced to sampling, using a "virtual" storage oscilloscope created in LabVIEW. This gives them the opportunity to observe the effects of bit precision and sampling frequency on the input waveform.

The experiment on vital signs has the students use a heart rate monitor, a respiration sensor, and an EKG monitor to examine their own vital signs, and to observe and compare changes in the readings before and after moderate exercise. The experiment on the speed of sound allows the students to use a time of flight technique on sound pulses in a tube. Measurements are taken using both the oscilloscope and LabVIEW executables. The calorimetry experiment examines the electrical equivalent of heat by measuring the temperature change of a heated copper calorimeter. And the experiment on diffraction profiles both single and double slit patterns as well as that of a diffraction grating.

Measurements II (Physics 232L) will be a continuation of the first course and will be taken by all students entering second year physics. This course will begin in the winter of 2002.

Notes for today and the weekend

As mentioned yesterday, today brings the opening of a show in the Modern Languages art gallery: "The Expatriate Gods", photographs by architecture professor Anu Banerji. He's visited "temples, mosques and shrines" across Canada, places of worship of newer religious faiths, and observes that "these buildings of seemingly strange imagery are seen to have captured the Canadian imagination." Today's opening runs from 1 to 4 p.m., but in general the gallery is open limited hours these days, mostly noon hours and during Theatre of Arts events. Details are available from the gallery office, ext. 3575.

The philosophy department hosts a colloquium at 2:30 this afternoon in Humanities room 373. Speaking is Jim Van Evra, a faculty member in the department, "On Physics and the Formal Sciences".

The senate scholarships and student aid committee will meet at 1:30 this afternoon in Needles Hall room 3004.

"The Big Chill" is scheduled for tonight, further explained as "the biggest party of the term . . . shutting down the Student Life Centre (except the turnkey, of course)". The music? "House, jazz, top 40, jungle, reggae, rock, retro." Tickets are $5 and $7.

An alternative for this evening: "Join us for a scientific examination of the validity and authenticity of the Bible with Dr. Dan Osmond, Emeritus Professor of Physiology and Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto." The event, sponsored by the Waterloo Christian Fellowship, starts at 7:00 in Optometry building room 347.

And another option: it's pub night at the Graduate House. "Join the crowd 4:30 p.m. to 7," a note to graduate students says, or drop by later for live music from the Pandemonium Blues Band, starting at 9:30.

Something called the Investment Planning Council has the Humanities Theatre booked for Saturday afternoon, 1 to 4 p.m.

Sports this weekend: there's a hockey game tonight, the Warriors hosting Lakehead, at 7:30 in the Columbia Icefield arena. The teams will play a rematch on Saturday night, same time, same place. A Waterloo-Guelph swim meet had been scheduled for tonight in the PAC, but it has been cancelled; the Warrior swimmers will, however, travel to Guelph tomorrow for that half of the event. Other travelling Warriors: the men's and women's basketball teams are both at Lakehead for the weekend. The track and field teams are at the Toronto Open. The nordic skiers are in Kingston for the weekend. And the badminton teams are at Brock tomorrow for a tournament.

[Pratt book] A reminder: The Weight Watchers at Work program will be running again this term: an information and registration meeting is scheduled for Monday at 12 noon in Humanities room 373. This program is open to faculty, staff and students. The 14-week series costs $203 per person, while students receive a discounted price of $183. The on-campus contact person is Sandie Hurlburt at ext. 3104. "There is no need to confirm attendance," she says. "Just come on

Notices have gone out for an unusual session on Tuesday, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program. Judith Miller of Renison College will speak at noontime on "Developing a Personal Calligraphy: Exploring Expressive Writing". The talk, says the green registration form, will refer to A Personal Calligraphy, a recent book by Canadian artist Mary Pratt (right): "How did Pratt discover her own painting and writing style? How might we learn from her example? . . . Bring a pen." Johan Reis in the health services department is the man with the details.


January 11, 1993: Matt Erickson starts work as UW's first "coordinator of ethical behaviour and human rights".

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