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Tuesday, March 2, 2004

  • St. Jerome's professor is mourned
  • Afghanistan is topic of lecture today
  • UW researchers battle itchy eyes
  • Pixels in the big picture
Chris Redmond

National Engineering Week


St. Jerome's professor is mourned

Gerard T. (Gerry) Campbell, a faculty member in philosophy at St. Jerome's University since 1967, died Sunday evening "after an extended battle with cancer", the college announced yesterday. He had been on long-term disability leave for the past year. He was 61.

A graduate of Western and Laval, Campbell taught in a range of philosophical fields: ethics, logic and metaphysics. He had a strong interest in Roman Catholic education, wrote on the subject and served for six years (1991-97) as a trustee for the Waterloo Catholic District School Boad.

In 1980 he received one of UW's Distinguished Teacher Awards. "He taught me in the classroom," one former student said at that time, "but I am even more grateful for the hours he spent with me and others over coffee and at his home, answering our questions and, what is more, not afraid to talk of things that concerned our vocations in life." Another student compared him to Socrates, "leading his students through the maze of implications involved in their convictions and assisting them in putting order in their thoughts and belief".

He is survived by his wife, Martha, their nine children, and nine grandchildren.

Visitation will be today from 7 to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick Street in Kitchener. The funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. John's Roman Catholic Church. Memorial donations to the St. Thomas Aquinas Philosophy Bursary Fund at St. Jerome's are suggested.

Afghanistan is topic of lecture today

"Afghanistan: Failed State or Struggling Democracy" is the topic of the TD Canada Trust/Walter Bean Visiting Professorship in the Environment lecture today, to be given by former federal cabinet minister Flora MacDonald (left).

MacDonald, who has been extensively involved in human rights, peace and security issues, will give the lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre. The lecture is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.

The lecture will be highlighted with her personal photographs taken during five visits to the area over the past three years. She currently serves on the boards or advisory councils of a number or organizations including CARE Canada, Canadian Council for Refugees and Partnership Africa Canada.

[MacDonald] Flora MacDonald will give another talk tomorrow, for the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She'll speak on "International and Self Development in Third World Countries", at 5:30 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. Everyone is welcome.
"The Honourable Flora MacDonald will demonstrate the determination and inherent strength of the ordinary Afghan people as they strive to rebuild their lives, their country and create a democratic state, all without the required and promised international aid," says promotional literature for the lecture.

Since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001, Afghanistan has been struggling to emerge from 25 years of continuous conflict and four years of widespread drought. In January 2002, representatives of world nations gathered in Tokyo to pledge assistance for an Afghan reconstruction program, but to date less than half the assistance has been forthcoming while international attention (and funding) has shifted to Iraq.

Without the required international aid and interest, Afghanistan could once again slip into chaos and despair, MacDonald believes. Determined villagers continue to struggle on their own with little outside help to bring their communities back to a more normal existence.

The lecture series and professorship are named after the late Walter Bean, who was president of Waterloo Trust until its merger with Canada Trust in 1968. The company later merged with the Toronto-Dominion Bank. The lectures are intended to promote a legacy of community involvement and commitment to youth, education and community.

The professorship attracts top international research professors on the environment to give lectures, teach and have one-on-one meetings with faculty and students. Previous lectures have been delivered by Kelly Thambimuthu, a senior scientist with CANMET Energy Technology Centre of Natural Resources Canada; Jörg Imberger of the University of Western Australia, an expert on water flows and water resources; Jeffrey Luvall, a senior research scientist at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama; Joseph MacInnis, president of Undersea Research Ltd. of Toronto; and University of Alberta professor David Schindler, one of Canada's leading researchers in freshwater environmental science.

UW researchers battle itchy eyes

If contact lenses make your eyes dry and itchy, the world experts on what to do about it are nearby, at UW's Centre for Contact Lens Research.

The centre, part of the school of optometry, was recently approved by UW's senate to operate for another five years. "Our five-year report will be available online shortly," writes Alisa Sivak, communications coordinator for the centre.

She describes the dry-eye problem that some of the centre's research is seeking to solve: "Approximately one in two Canadians who wear contact lenses complain that their eyes feel dry, itchy or irritated when wearing their lenses. Typically, they find themselves reducing their wearing time or, in many cases, ceasing contact lens wear altogether. These so-called contact lens 'dropouts' number almost two million people annually in North America.

[Eyes open, she's even smiling]

Optometry student Raewyn Leech is hooked up to a new instrument developed by Trefford Simpson and Jalaiah Varikooty of the optometry school. "We're calling it a Comfortscope," says Alisa Sivak, "and it's able to measure ocular redness and discomfort simultaneously and continuously. Different people experience dry eye discomfort in different ways, and until now there has been no way to measure that discomfort and relate it to ocular redness. Raewyn has a bright light shining into her eyes. Her hand is on a dial that she can turn to indicate the level of comfort/discomfort her eyes are feeling. At the same time, a spectral photometer is taking second by second measurements of ocular redness. The researcher is able to see both of these continuous measurements as line graphs on the computer screen."

"A thin layer of lubricating tears is spread over the surface of a healthy eye with every blink of the eyelid. Contact lenses can disrupt this fragile layer so that the tears evaporate more rapidly, and they may also interfere with the production of natural oils that maximize the tears' time on the eye's surface. As a result, with each blink the eyelid rubs over a dry lens surface, creating the sensation of dryness.

"Most people attracted to the convenience of contact lenses have been able to take advantage of significant advances in contact lens technology that have put healthier, more convenient, and more comfortable lenses on the market in recent years.

"The contact lens industry has made some progress in recent years by improving the effectiveness of rewetting drops and developing lens materials that retain moisture more effectively, but a number of mysteries remain to be answered."

That's the role of the UW centre, "the largest facility of its kind in North America and the second largest in the world. It has developed an international reputation for expertise in research geared towards answering questions fundamental to the search for effective solutions to dry eye symptoms and other contact lens related puzzles."

Researchers at the centre -- headed by faculty members Desmond Fonn, Lyndon Jones, and Trefford Simpson -- are carrying out studies investigating why eyes feel dry, whether different people experience different dry eye symptoms, the best way to measure discomfort and what makes natural tears so effective at keeping the eye moist and healthy.

Sivak says the CCLR has worked in partnership with the contact lens industry since 1988, providing research support in the development of materials and products and developing state-of-the-art technology and techniques. And, she says, researchers are always looking for people to participate in clinical research studies relating to all aspects of contact lens wear.

Says Sivak: "We reimburse participants at rate of approximately $15 per hour (with total commitment based on the time commitment required by a study), and contact lenses and solutions are provided for the duration of the study." Anyone who might be interested in being a research subject can call 888-4539, e-mail rexton@sciborg, or check the centre's web site for more details.

Pixels in the big picture

First a note about something that's not happening today: student loan information sessions. I said yesterday that the sessions were scheduled for yesterday (true) and today (not true). The second round of these public sessions is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9. Students with questions about repaying loans can plan to attend one on that day, at 10:00, 12:00 or 2:00, in Rod Coutts Hall room 109.

'Blowout sale' with wares from UW Shop, bookstore and TechWorx, today and tomorrow, multi-purpose room, Student Life Centre.

'Teachers' Perception of Professional Development for the Knowledge Learner", Eleanor Pierre, distance education office, 12 noon, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library.

Apple server and storage information session, sponsored by Campus TechShop, 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Healthy eating and weight management, nutrition display and encounter with new health services dietitian Irene McConville, Wednesday 11:00 to 2:00, Student Life Centre.

'Formal Methods: Don't Leave Here Without Them'. Talk by Nancy Day, computer science, for the Women in Mathematics group, all welcome, Wednesday 4 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158.

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  • US government sues to block Oracle takeover of PeopleSoft
  • A Canadian studies student in England
  • Newfoundland simplifies student loan system
  • Paintings stolen from U of Toronto
  • WLU saves with trash compacters
  • No fee at Harvard for low-income students
  • Universities need to do more for French (John Ralston Saul)
  • Girls did better than boys on Québec exams
  • Qualifications and Lifelong Learning (OECD study)
  • Ex-candidate in today's US voting still popular among students
  • Arab student groups say they're being muzzled (Star)
  • Marguarite Knechtel writes from UW's civil engineering department: "There is going to be an art show during the month of March at the Waterloo Community Art Centre (Button Factory) on Regina Street for a group of painters called The Thirsty Nighters. The opening show is Tuesday, March 2, 5:30 to 7:30." Hey, that's today. She continues: "I've been doing water colour for a year with this group (only a couple of years in total). They have been together for 10-12 years. The opening will be fun and it doesn't cost anything to attend and refreshments will be served. I'm not as good as the other painters, but I will have three paintings in the show -- although mine are not for sale. I did donate a painting to our department silent auction for the United Way last year and it sold for a nice sum. It would be good to have a few people who are interested in new talent to come out to the show."

    Coming up this month in UW's program of non-credit continuing education courses is a four-day introduction to mediation. It runs on the four Thursdays of March, 9:00 to 4:30, and the fee is $595 (or half that for UW staff members). "The premise of this skill-building course," a flyer says, "is that personal and professional conflicts are best resolved by those who have an awareness of their own unique values, needs and style. Students are expected to participate extensively." Social worker Rosalba Stocco is teaching the course, and more information is available from the continuing ed office at 888-4002.

    A new newsletter for UW's faculty of engineering -- larger than some whole universities -- is being distributed from the dean's office to staff and faculty members. It's edited by Gosia Brestovacki, alumni and communications officer in engineering, and the first issue, distributed by e-mail last week, includes introductions to all the people who work in the eyrie at the top of Carl Pollock Hall, from dean Adel Sedra to development officers, office staff and a co-op web developer, Anthony Zhang of electrical engineering. The first issue also announces a contest to find a permanent name for the publication, which is currently headed just Newsletter.

    Graduate student apartments at St. Paul's College are currently under construction -- you can see the heavy equipment as you travel along the Laurel Creek side of the ring road -- and will be ready for use in September. Who's going to live there? The college would like to know now, and is planning an open house for grad students a week from today: Tuesday, March 9, at 5:30 p.m. Promised are "great food, brief info session and virtual tour, chance to be considered for free summer accommodation" before the apartments are finished.

    Student career advisors are needed, writes Nancy Collins from the career services office: "Career Services is looking for students to fill a variety of volunteer positions. Depending on the position you will gain valuable job search, marketing, and/or career-related skills by either promoting events and services or by helping other students in their career planning and job search. Open to regular and co-op students who are creative and possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. Applications available in Career Services, Tatham Centre room 1214, or from our web page. Deadline: March 19."

    Finally, I'd better note, for the record, the scores of some playoff games that took place on the weekend -- although none of them was a Warrior triumph. In men's basketball, the UW team fell 83-60 to McMaster in the OUA West semi-final playoffs. In women's basketball, it was Brock 66, Warriors 49, in the OUA West semi-finals. And in men's hockey, it was Lakehead 12, Warriors 1, in the second (and thus concluding) game of the OUA Far West semi-finals.


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