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Friday, May 28, 2004

  • Commuter challenge for next week
  • Maclean's singles out two from UW
  • 'Amazing technology' seen up close
  • And just a few other things
Chris Redmond

Walk of Hope for Schizophrenia

[Kneeling beside bike wheel]

Commuter challenge for next week

"We've been issued a challenge!" writes Patti Cook, UW's waste management coordinator. That's her in the photo at right, checking out a bicycle -- which maybe somebody's going to need in order to meet the challenge.

Cook explains: "The Citizens Advisory Committee on Air Quality and the Region of Waterloo have invited us to join the 5th annual Commuter Challenge. It is a friendly competition between Canadian communities that encourages individuals to choose active, sustainable alternatives to driving alone to work."

The Challenge takes place from May 30 -- this Sunday -- through the following Saturday, June 5, "including of course Wednesday, June 2, National Clean Air Day."

And, says Cook, "Let's accept the challenge and demonstrate UW's environmental leadership and commitment to sustainable transportation! Winning organizations will receive a Commuter Challenge award at the end of June and all participating organizations will be publicly congratulated.

"So, if you've ever thought of starting to ride your bike to work, this is the time to do it! You can also walk, run, in-line skate, carpool, or take the bus on these days. If you are working at home, please register."

People at UW can register online, e-mail plcook@uwaterloo.ca or phone ext. 3245 "with how you travelled, how far you travelled, and which days you participated."

  • A Quantum Leap for Science
  • UW lists experts to comment on federal election
  • Election issues for post-secondary education (AUCC)
  • Election 'strategy' from Canadian Association of University Teachers
  • University board 'corporate linkages' (CAUT)
  • Young athletes turning to the US for scholarships
  • 'Difficult homework' for Rae's commission (Globe)
  • Minister for universities in India's new government
  • 'A Chair in Your Future' -- for women, in engineering
  • Proposed study of faculty members with multiple sclerosis
  • Millennium foundation awards 931 excellence scholarships
  • Canadian Research Knowledge Network will provide access to published data
  • Maclean's singles out two from UW

    Two students from UW are among the 25 from across Canada listed as "the best and the brightest" of Canada's young people in a special report in this week's Maclean's magazine.

    "These young Canadians are a welcome reminder that there is still reason for optimism on this weary planet," says the article, put together by Ann Dowsett Johnston, who's best known as editor of the annual "universities" issue of Maclean's.

    One of the UW entries in the group is Mark Schaan, who was selected as a Rhodes Scholar in 2001, near the end of his career as a political science undergraduate, and is now in Oxford studying social policy.

    At Waterloo, Schaan was a vice-president of the Federation of Students, and became president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Other activities ranged from helping to organize the Rainbow Reels "queer film festival" to bringing a group of Bloc Québecois Members of Parliament to campus.

    The other Waterloo figure in the Maclean's list is physics graduate student Michael Spanner, whose research has to do with high-frequency lasers. "To date," the magazine notes, "Spanner has published at least 20 papers, including one on his own -- an accomplishment that he's parlayed into plans for a post-doc at the University of Toronto."

    Spanner's web site lists those articles, with titles such as "Forced Molecular Rotation in an Optical Centrifuge", as well as summaries of projects on which he's worked as far back as his second undergraduate year. A byproduct of his master's degree research is a collection of time-lapse MPEGs of plants, including one that shows "young thai basil plants reaching for the light" and another in which arugula sprouts in a windowsill pot "are seen to grow from millimetres to centimetres" over 30 hours, compressed into a few seconds of viewing time.


    'Amazing technology' seen up close -- by Nancy Collins, from the Inside sCo-op newsletter for co-op students

    Co-op work terms aren't usually rocket science, but sometimes they can be. Take Cheryl Chui's work term at MacDonald Dettwiler Space and Advanced Robotics, for example.

    At MD Robotics, Chui (right) (a 2B systems design student) worked on a team responsible for the Robotic Workstation (RWS), which is the astronaut interface to the robotic elements on the International Space Station. As a Mission Systems Engineering Student, she assisted with many ongoing projects and also worked on a project involving electromagnetic interference testing of a rotational hand controller on the RWS.

    Additionally, she had the opportunity to work on an independent project to design a protective shipping cover for the RWS monitors -- a project that also became the topic of her work report. In this case, she was responsible for the project's entire lifecycle, involving everything from creating preliminary designs, to finding materials and suppliers, to building the prototype, to sending out the official drawing for manufacturing.

    The thing Chui most enjoyed about her work term at MD Robotics was the excitement of the aerospace industry. ";There are constantly new developments due to contracts being won and changing U.S. and Canadian politics. . . . I had the opportunity to see some amazing technology up close, such as the Canadarm, the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, and the Robotic Workstation," she said.

    Pension and benefits committee, 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

    Havenger of Hearts scavenger hunt sponsored by Engineering Society, 24 hours starting noon today.

    Bombshelter pub: Indoor-outdoor show tonight from 8:00 with three headliners; Patio Jam tomorrow, doors open 9 p.m.

    Sound in the Land Mennonite music concerts: tonight 7:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel (classical, bluegrass and jazz); Saturday 8:30 in Grebel's great hall ("singer/songwriters, collaborative arts, new fusions"); Sunday at 3:30 in the chapel (classical, including a piano concerto); Sunday at 8 p.m. at First United Church, King and William Streets (choral music, including the DaCapo chamber choir). Tickets $15 each time, students $10.

    Math alumni reunions for classes of 1969, '74, '79, '84, '89, and '94, Saturday from 10 a.m.: tours, lunch, dean's reception. Details online.

    School of architecture tour of new building, 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, Saturday 2 to 5 p.m.

    University of Toronto "Doors Open" tours (downtown and Scarborough), Saturday and Sunday, details online.

    Keystone Fund 'Ulympics' competition, June 9, team registration deadline today, e-mail arboyd@uwaterloo.ca or phone ext. 5734.

    Matthews Golf Classic for faculty, staff and retirees, June 14, registration deadline today (phone ext. 2376).

    And just a few other things

    I said yesterday that refunds of the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund fee were available (11:30 to 1:30) at the Engineering Society office. Wrong. The location is the WEEF office, which is in Engineering II building, room 2349A.

    A keynote address by humanitarian and best-selling author General Roméo Dallaire will open the third annual Catholics in Public Life Conference tonight at St. Jerome's University. Dallaire will speak at 7:30 in Siegfried Hall, reflecting on his experiences in war-torn Rwanda in the 1990s, and will address the question: In the face of evil and injustice, how does one give meaning to life and continue to live with hope? He recently testified before a United Nations Tribunal on his experiences and observations in Rwanda and is the author of Shaking Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. The two day conference, co-sponsored by St. Jerome's and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, will build on the theme of the keynote address with panel discussions by community leaders and various stakeholder focus groups.

    The annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, which has been keeping the arts quad buzzing all week, winds up today. And winding up on the weekend is the Waterloo County and Area Quilt Festival, which has included a quilt exhibition in the UW art gallery in East Campus Hall. The gallery show will be open until 8:00 tonight; from 9 to 5 tomorrow; and 9 to 4 on Sunday. Admission is $6.

    Wireless computing is a possibility in several more of UW's buildings, according to an updated list on the web from information systems and technology. New on the list are the Modern Languages building, Needles Hall, the Student Life Centre, and Physics, among others. Work is in progress, the list also says, in East Campus Hall, Humanities, Carl Pollock Hall and South Campus Hall. Wired some time ago were much of the engineering complex; the libraries; Math and Computer; and the environmental studies buildings.

    A fourth-year science-and-business student, Kevin Smith, is competing this weekend in the World Duathlon Championships in Geel, Belgium. He's one of about 40 competitors in the men's under-23 division, who will bike 40 kilometres and run 10 km on Sunday morning. Smith, who runs for the cross-country Warriors, competed in the triathlon world championships in Madeira, Portugal, earlier this month.

    May 31 is the deadline for applications for this term's staff association bursary -- $500 from the association and a matching $500 from the Education Credit Union, for a UW undergraduate student (full-time or part-time) who's a member of the UW staff association or "the spouse, child, grandchild or dependent" of a member. "The student must demonstrate involvement with a volunteer organization or extracurricular activities," and must have "good academic standing. Financial need may be considered." Application information is available on the association web site.


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