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Thursday, March 13, 2003

  • Engineers to show off 3-D theatre
  • London music trip fits student budget
  • Events of another winter day
  • The talk of the campus
Chris Redmond

March is Easter Seals month

[Snow on the dumpster]

From the roof of the academic building at Conrad Grebel University College, it's clear that the $5 million expansion project is coming along. New residence space is under construction along with an atrium to link the college's two existing buildings.

Engineers to show off 3-D theatre

Architects, town planners, mechanical engineers and computer scientists who share an interest in computer-aided design will show off one of their flashiest tools tomorrow at an open house for the new Integrated Centre for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing (ICVDM).

A release from the UW media relations office explains that the interdisciplinary research centre will hold its open house tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "at one of its facilities for moving between the physical and virtual world -- the Immersive Design Theatre. The theatre, in Davis Centre room 1702, has an eight-by-ten-foot stereo display wall that immerses visitors in three-dimensional space. Applications will be demonstrated, ranging from urban design with a virtual model of downtown Waterloo, through virtual machining, to a navigation psychology experiment."

Architects and planners are involved in the project because they need to visualize the urban and interior environments they create for the future. The computer can make their work easier and more reliable, allowing them to cope with vast quantities of data and visualize the consequences of different options interactively.

Mechanical engineers are interested because they want to use computer graphics and simulation to provide an accurate, three-dimensional model of what happens when a machine alters the shape of a metal sheet or bar. This data can be used to optimize control of the machines that do the shaping (manufacturing). Computer scientists are involved because they bring everything together, in part by developing the new computer graphics and simulation techniques both architect/planners and engineers need to achieve their objectives.

The founder and director of the centre, architecture professor Thomas Seebohm, is a specialist in using computers for architectural designing.

The new ICVDM was described in the Daily Bulletin last month, and was the topic of a double-page feature in last week's Gazette.

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  • Trade minister's comments on Waterloo Region exports
  • New name for spinoff company: Maplesoft
  • Albino Squirrel Preservation Society
  • Paws on your pants, as U of S clothes are hot sellers
  • Audit of California's computing disaster
  • Whither PowerPoint? (U of Alberta)
  • A delicate balance: women in academia
  • London music trip fits student budget -- by Barbara Elve, from the Gazette

    Many travel courses offer an experience geared to the gainfully employed or the newly retired. Conrad Grebel music professor Ken Hull hopes to change that this spring with a new course: Music and Culture in London, from May 22 to June 5.

    "I wanted to do something that costs a little less, that students can do," he says. Hull, a music historian who has focused much of his research on the 19th century, studied in Cambridge and London.

    Of European cultural capitals, "I know London best, and the concert life is as good as any." As well, he adds, "there are other cultural events tie into," an advantage he hopes will appeal to non-music majors he hopes to attract.

    To reflect a range of interests and to place music within a historical context, the trip will take students on a tour of the music and cultural life of London from the 16th century to the present with an itinerary that includes concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican and other London locations; operas at the Coliseum and Covent Garden; choral worship at St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and King's College, Cambridge; a play at the recently opened functioning replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; and tours of the British Museum, Handel House Museum and other museums and galleries.

    Geared to undergraduate students interested in history or the arts (but open to others), the course, Music 355B, may be taken for interest or credit. For those pursuing a credit, students will take an exam, keep a journal of the trip, and write a paper after their return.

    Hull hopes the tour will "broaden students' understanding of what music is and how it functions in an immersion context. For many," he predicts, 3it will be their first time in Europe. For some, it could be a graduation present to themselves. To visit the house where Handel lived and wrote Messiah provides a dimension you can't get any other way. There are all the historical layers we can tap into."

    Inspired by the "overwhelming success" of Wilbur Maust's annual Music and Culture in Vienna course, Hull hopes to run the London version every other year.

    With the possibility of Britain participating in a war with Iraq, "it's not impossible that all this could get pre-empted," Hull admits. "But you can't plan with that in mind. We'll have to assess the situation as it unfolds. There are still a few spaces, and anyone interested should contact Hull as soon as possible at 885-0220 or krhull@uwaterloo.ca.

    [Four guys]

    Engineers on stage: "Moonchildren" by Michael Weller is this term's Engineering Society play. It tells the story of seven students who live together for a year, "exploring the mysteries of life, death, cats, sex, jealousy, hamburgers, and love". Performances are tonight through Saturday at 8, plus Saturday afternoon at 2, in Environmental Studies II room 286. Tickets: $6. Photo for Imprint by Kristen Howard, photogene.ca, used by permission.

    Events of another winter day

    UW's participation in the 30-Hour Famine will be starting at noon today. Nancy O'Neil writes from the Student Life Centre: "This is the first time that the university is hosting the 30 Hour Famine Fast, a worldwide event that allows people to do something to fight hunger in our world. Throughout the 30 hours of fasting various activities will be held in the SLC and surrounding areas of campus. Opening ceremonies begin at noon. Jenn Datta from World Vision will be guest speaker. A Free Tibet Concert will be held in the multi-purpose room, starting at 8 p.m. Many areas of campus will be represented at this event. Students are still looking for people to sponsor them. The University of Victoria has challenged the UW group."

    Spring term job match results for architecture students will be posted at noon in the Co-op and Career Services building. . . . Under the rubric "Let's Play", there's a sale on audio equipment (15 per cent off) all this week at the Techworx outlets in South Campus Hall and the Student Life Centre. . . . "Picture Yourself in Paradise" is the suggestion, as the computer store (in the Math and Computer building) is visited by an expert on HP PhotoSmart digital cameras from 10:00 to 3:00 today. . . .

    A workshop on academic publishing, aimed mostly at graduate students, starts at 12 noon with a panel of faculty members from four departments. . . . The Pure Math, Applied Math and Combinatorics and Optimization Club will hold another set of its "short attention span math seminars" starting at 3:30 in Math and Computer room 5158. . . . The Philosophy Graduate Student Association's annual two-day conference gets under way this morning in the Humanities building. . . .

    A meeting of WatCHI, the special-interest group for Computer-Human Interaction, is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Flex Lab in the Dana Porter Library. . . . The Computer Science Club sponsors a talk about the markup language XML at 6:30 tonight in Math and Computer room 1085. . . . The local student branch of the IEEE -- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -- will hold "student paper night" starting at 7:00 in Davis Centre room 1304. . . .

    One talk that's scheduled for tonight is bit out of the ordinary. Eric Haldenby of UW's architecture school has the details:

    Italian civil/hydrological engineer Maurizio Ferla will speak on the past present and future of the lagoons of Venice. The relationship between Venice and its waters is one of the most compelling examples of the interdependence of cultural and environmental forces. Mr. Ferla is at the forefront of environmental research directed at preserving Venice, a city that is absolutely unique and sorely threatened. Mr. Ferla's talk will cover natural history and environmental forces influencing the Venice Lagoon. He will discuss the effects of modern construction and the successes and failures of efforts to protect the lagoon and the city. Mr. Ferla is Director of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Office of the "Magistrato delle Acque" and a director of the Italian Environmental Protection Agency. For more than a decade he has been studying the rivers and lagoons in the region of Venice, working particularly on the forecast of floods, high tide warnings, water quality and the management of dams and flood control devices.
    The talk starts at 7 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University. Admission is free.

    [Rollins] Talk of a different kind is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre, and admission there is definitely not free. Tickets to see "spoken word" artist Henry Rollins (right, photo from Yahoo) are priced at $27, from the Humanities box office.

    The Rainbow Reels "queer film festival" begins today with a showing at the Princess Cinema in central Waterloo. Friday night's showing will be at POETS pub in Carl Pollock Hall, with Saturday and Sunday showings in Davis Centre. I'll say a bit more about this festival in tomorrow's Daily Bulletin.

    And . . . UW president David Johnston will be in New York today for a reception to meet Waterloo alumni there. Being held at the Canadian consulate on Sixth Avenue, it's the event that was postponed because of a snowstorm last month. (Forecast for New York today: snow again, but not that much.)

    The talk of the campus

    Well, in Tuesday's Daily Bulletin I talked about "Explorations", an event in the engineering faculty to introduce young students to what engineers do, and I said it would be taking place that evening. I've learned that the information I was given was incorrect, and it was actually over by that time; it happened on Monday night. "We had somewhere between 1,300 and 1,500 kids and their parents," writes Graeme Baer from the Engineering Society, "to view the 40-plus displays that were running throughout the engineering buildings." Wish I'd known sooner.

    An article first published in Waterloo's literary magazine, The New Quarterly, published out of St. Jerome's University, is among 10 selected for Best Canadian Stories 2002. Bernice Friesen's story "The Irish Book of Beasts" was published in TNQ volume 20 no. 4. The story is actually an excerpt from a novel, but Best Canadian editor Douglas Glover insisted that it's "story-like enough for me, not to mention charming, funny and cunning". It tells the story of the new boy at an Irish Catholic school and his fall from grace, or at least from the boughs of one of the trees in the head priest's orchard, trees forbidden to all boys. He has broken a branch on the way down, and what follows is the search for a punishment appropriate to the crime. Best Canadian Stories is published by Oberon Press.

    The February issue of Forum, the newsletter of UW's faculty association, arrived on desks a few days ago, and is largely devoted to issues of world politics -- terror, America and Iraq. "In my view," writes association president Catherine Schryer, "the possibility of the war in Iraq and the current suppression of civil liberties should deeply concern all of us. Over the last week, I have sent several e-mails expressing my personal opposition to the war. But each time I did so, I really had to think about my decision. I have to travel to the United States for several conferences during the next few months, and I wondered about the implications of letting my views be known." She adds that some of the material about the possible war that's circulating on the Internet, some of it originating from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, has been posted on the UW association's web site.

    The organizers of the Keystone Campaign have announced ten winners for this month in their regular donor draw. Faculty members, staff members and retirees are receiving such prizes as restaurant gift certificates and travel vouchers. "Thank you to all Keystone donors," writes Bonnie Oberle from the development office. "Your donation qualifies you for a chance to win each month. The next draw will be held the first week in April."

    The minutes of UW's pension and benefits committee report that as of July 1, 2003, the annual cost-of-living increase for UW pensioners will be 2.23 per cent. In a feature that not many pension plans have, UW's plan provides automatic annual indexing of pensions, up to 5 per cent, to keep up with the rising cost of living.


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