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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

  • Schools benefit from election data
  • Satellite ozone data 'outstanding'
  • A few more flakes in the storm
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

'May you get to know St. Patrick'


[Layton]

NDP leader Jack Layton, looking towards a federal election that's likely this year, will visit campus this morning. He'll speak and answer questions starting at 10:30 in the great hall of the Student Life Centre. The visit is sponsored by the UW and Wilfrid Laurier University New Democratic Party groups.

Schools benefit from election data -- from the UW media relations office

A faculty member in Waterloo's department of political science has received a special grant from the Historica Foundation to create learning materials based on Canadian election data housed in the department.

Robert Williams has been awarded $15,000 under the foundation's Community Grants Program for the project, titled "Adapting the Canadian Elections Database for the Canadian Secondary School Curriculum." The grant will support the creation of lesson plans, exercises and teacher's manuals in both official languages using the Canadian Elections Database now being developed in the department's Centre for Election Studies.

"The teaching materials will be designed to meet the curriculum needs of teachers offering courses in history, politics and civics in Canadian secondary schools," said Williams, who directs the project. The materials will be prepared in collaboration with teachers in Waterloo Region.

Historica is a foundation whose mandate is to provide Canadians with a deeper understanding of their history and its importance in shaping their future. Historica supports and develops a variety of programs, in both official languages, that "contribute to making history come alive for Canadians". By funding projects that promote, influence and support activities in the classroom, media and communities, Historica hopes to effect real change in how young people learn Canadian history.

The Canadian Elections Database will provide a technologically advanced Web-based resource to support the research needs of various students and observers of Canadian political life working in academic, media and partisan environments.

The project was designed to make available in one easy-to-use, bilingual, accessible site both the Centre for Election Studies collection of official federal, provincial and territorial election results (the most comprehensive anywhere in Canada) and other resources now unavailable outside archives, such as the date of birth and party affiliation of all candidates since 1867.

Grad office moves downstairs

The graduate studies office will be in a new home as of Friday: Needles Hall room 2072, one floor down from where it's been for the past 32 years.

The move downstairs starts today, a memo says: "Limited service will be available during the move as most computers and phone lines will be disconnected. However, on Wednesday and Thursday, the main reception area in room 3021 will be operational, and the main phone line, ext. 5411, will remain in service."

Satellite ozone data 'outstanding' -- from the UW media relations office

The Canadian Space Agency has confirmed the full commissioning of its Scisat satellite for an ozone research project headed by a UW professor.

"The images and data captured by Scisat are of an outstanding quality," said "Mission Scientist" Peter Bernath of UW's department of chemistry. "The science team hopes to extract significant results from these data."

Led by UW, the science team includes researchers from Environment Canada, the University of Toronto and several other Canadian and foreign academic institutions. The mission will measure and help understand the chemical processes affecting the distribution of ozone in Earth's upper atmosphere. A commissioning review held at CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Québec, marked the formal transition from satellite commissioning activities to full science operations, officially launching the two-year Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment.

Launched last August, the satellite orbits the Earth 15 times a day at an altitude of 650 kilometres. It will help Canadian and international scientists improve their understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, with a special emphasis on the changes occurring over Canada and in the Arctic.

The mission payload consists of a Fourier Transform Spectrometer and a second instrument called MAESTRO (for the Measurements of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation). As part of the project, a copy of the satellite instrument was made for the ground-based Waterloo Atmospheric Observatory.

"Scisat is truly a great partnership achievement," says Marc Garneau, president of the Canadian Space Agency. Built by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, the satellite is equipped with scientific instruments made by ABB in Québec City and EMS Technologies in Ottawa. "The partners came together to design a state-of-the-art scientific satellite, once more showing Canada's leadership in atmospheric sciences and small satellite technology," Garneau adds. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada contributed $1.6 million over five years to finance mission preparation studies and results analyses. International partners include NASA, which provided the launch, and Belgium, contributing the array detectors for the on-board cameras.

Tom McElroy of Environment Canada is the principal investigator for MAESTRO, supported by James Drummond of the University of Toronto. Scisat's first scientific results should be available by the end of the year.

A few more flakes in the storm

"Under the Employment Insurance Act," says a memo from the human resources department, "every person who works in Canada is required to have a Social Insurance Number. Use of Social Insurance Numbers is restricted to income-related information and reporting to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Employees who have a Social Insurance Number beginning with '9' will now have an expiry date which is based on the end of the person's authorized stay in Canada. . . . Social Insurance cards that begin with '9' which do not have an expiry date will be valid until April 3, 2004. In order to bring the University's records up to date, Human Resources recently sent personalized memos to all employees on campus with temporary Social Insurance Numbers beginning with '9' and employees who have not provided Human Resources with their Social Insurance Number." They're asked to drop in at one of two sessions: today (10:00 to noon, Davis Centre room 1304) or Friday (10 to noon, DC room 1302). "Employees must bring their Social Insurance card with them," the HR memo continues. "If employees are unable to attend this session, they must contact the appropriate Payroll Benefits Assistant in Human Resources as soon as possible with the required information."

WHEN AND WHERE
St. Patrick's Day luncheon, University Club, 11:30 to 2:00, $12.50, reservations ext. 3801.

Club for Undergraduate BioEngineers "meet and greet" with faculty members, 11:30 to 1:30, Student Life Centre room 2143.

Without Words Jazz Trio, 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel, free.

Persian cultural exhibition marking New Year's, 1:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre room 1301.

Business etiquette, career workshop, 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Newfoundland novelist Donna Morrissey reading at St. Jerome's University, cancelled because of bad weather on the east coast.

WPIRG (Waterloo Public Interest Research Group) annual general meeting, dinner 5:00, meeting 5:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Pension and benefits committee, Thursday 8:30 to noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Free CD Day with local musicians, Thursday 1:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Physics lecture, Anthony Leggett, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Superfluid 3He: The Early Days as Seen by a Theorist", Thursday 2:00, CEIT room 1015.

Computer science distinguished lecture, Brian Kernighan, Princeton, "What Should an Educated Person Know About Computers?" Thursday 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 101.

Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society presents Konstantin Savvidis, Perimeter Institute, speaking on Ptolemy of Alexandria, "one of the great scientific minds of antiquity", Thursday 5 p.m., Graduate House.

Voice of Islam colloquium, "The Life and Death of Jesus Christ", Thursday 6:30, great hall, Student Life Centre.

Financial econometrics conference presented by Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance, Friday all day, details online.

[Orion logo] There will be much talk about bandwidth and how it can be used, when researchers gather tomorrow for an Orion/CA*net 4 Advanced Networking Day. Orion is the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network ("gigabit-speeds links between nodes in 21 cities") and is connected to CA*net 4, a similar nationwide network. Tomorrow's objective is "to increase awareness of the opportunities that are enabled by these gigabit-speeds networks and what is already being done at UW and in the global research and education community". Among tomorrow's speakers will be Jeff Chen of UW's physics department, who is involved in the SHARCnet high-performance computing network, based at Western; Liwana Bringelson and Koorus Bookan of the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology; Charles Clarke of computer science; Mike Sharratt, dean of applied health sciences ("Distance-based Technology Applied to Cardiac Rehabilitation"); and Youssef Iraqi of CS. The day's activities run from 9:00 to about 2:00, participation is free, and details are online.

Most of the alumni who make financial contributions to UW do it as a result of mailings and phone calls from the development office, but it's also possible to give online, and more people are doing that. A memo from Bob Copeland, manager of the annual fund, says more than $245,000 came in through the web during 2003, a result he calls "encouraging". Meanwhile, already this term the call centre has brought in $572,000. Copeland notes that 25 per cent of the people contacted have made a pledge this term, but the rate varies considerably from one group to another, from 43 per cent of accounting alumni to 18 per cent of AHS alumni and 15 per cent of current students' parents. Engineering is right at the average, with 3,578 calls made so far this term and 899 alumni saying yes. Their average pledge to UW: $264.

I have a note from math student Jeremy Lee with some information about a newly organized campus group: "ACE (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship Inc.) is a national, not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of entrepreneurship skills among Canadian youth. A new ACE chapter at the University of Waterloo has been formed, and students from all disciplines are encouraged to join. The mission of the club is to make a difference in the community through educational outreach initiatives and to encourage students to develop entrepreneurial skills through team business ventures. ACE teams have the opportunity to drive excellence through their actions and their teamwork, and then showcase their achievements by competing against other Canadian universities and colleges for the opportunity to become a National Champion." Anyone interested can reach Lee by e-mail, jj5lee@uwaterloo.ca, for more information.

And . . . since it's Wednesday, there's a new Positions Available list from the human resources department. Staff jobs open for application this week:

There's more information on the HR web site.

CAR


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