[University of Waterloo]


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About the DB

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

  • Sunshine greets campus visitors
  • CFI funds for seven researchers
  • And a little of this and that
Chris Redmond

Killed on the Ides of March

[Big kids around the doghouse]

On the doghouse is Leah Reesor as Snoopy, and around (clockwise) are Daniel Morden as Linus, Vasana Abeysekera as Lucy, Ted Sherk as Charlie Brown, Sarah Bornstein as Sally, and Mike Turman as Schroeder -- the "Peanuts" comic strip characters. The show is "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", performed entirely by students of Conrad Grebel University College and sponsored by the Grebel student council. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 at the Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick Street, Kitchener. Tickets ($10, students $8) are available at the Grebel main office.

Sunshine greets campus visitors

The high schoolers are here -- thousands of them pouring onto campus today, eager to find out whether Waterloo is the right university for them. And with them are parents, sometimes grandparents and siblings too, because university is a family decision. It's the annual Campus Day open house, always held during March break and always featuring tours, information sessions, special activities in the faculties and colleges and residences, and a million questions about the campus that may soon be home. The Student Life Centre is headquarters for the day's events. (But staff in retail services are hoping the visitors will range the full length of the campus. In the South Campus Hall concourse, the bookstore has a one-day major sale, with discounts of up to 60 per cent on some titles; and in the UW Shop, the offer is "a free red Mondetta CDN hat" with a $20 purchase.)

[Caccia] Once Campus Day winds up in late afternoon, other major events are scheduled on campus, including a talk by Charles Caccia (right), former federal minister of labour and the environment, now based at the University of Ottawa. He's brought in by the faculty of environmental studies to speak on "The Elusive Implementation of Sustainable Development" (7:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113). Caccia "will draw upon his extensive interest in, and support for, environment and sustainable development issues by exploring the evolution of issues and trends. Remedies to the elusive nature in the implementation of sustainable development will be presented. His talk will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Admission is free, and all are welcome." Tomorrow, a 2 p.m. student colloquium (in Environmental Studies II room 173) will follow up the themes of tonight's lecture.

The drama department's spring production opens tonight with a preview performance for an audience of arts alumni and VIPs. Public performances are Wednesday through Saturday in the Theatre of the Arts. The show is generally known as "Marat/Sade", by Peter Weiss, but it's only fair to publish the full title at least once: "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade". A show about the French revolution, in short, and also that versatile theatrical cliche, a show-within-a-show, the play is directed by drama professor Gerhard Hauck and has a cast of 27. Tickets: 888-4908.

The Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology has what I'm told will be "a talk of special interest" tomorrow morning. The speaker is Mathias Schulze of the Germanic and Slavic department, talking about "Tablet PCs and Group Work" as illuminated by his WatPAL project, which is supported by a Learning Initiatives Fund grant. Says LT3: "Mat will discuss challenges and outcomes of the design process in UW-ACE, describe his experience with new learning designs and their implementation in a wireless classroom, and offer first insights into the use of Silicon Chalk for research and teaching." The event is Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Flex Lab in the Dana Porter Library; registration is online.

Tomorrow brings a couple of special lectures, including the first of this year's two Bechtel Lectures by Fernando Enns of Germany's Heidelberg University. The Bechtel Lectures are an annual fixture at Conrad Grebel University College, and this year will deal with "Mennonites: A Peace Church in Conversation". Enns will speak Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 in Grebel's great hall.

And Wednesday at 8 p.m., in Arts Lecture Hall room 211, the speaker will be Frank de Jong, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, who's currently running in the by-election that's also being contested by provincial Conservative leader John Tory. De Jong "will be speaking about social, environmental, political and economic issues and how to solve them", says a note from the UW Greens Club.

CFI funds for seven researchers -- from the UW media relations office

UW has received $597,901 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support the projects of seven researchers. The money is from CFI's New Opportunities Fund, which provides research infrastructure for newly recruited faculty members in their first full-time academic university appointment for "leading-edge research." It also enables institutions to recruit new faculty members in the areas of research identified as priorities in their strategic plans.

The funding was announced as part of $23.8 million in national awards. The funding "is significant because it will assist them to carry on with their important work to help grow and enhance Canada's reputation as leading-edge country in the global, knowledge-based economy," said a statement from local Member of Parliament Andrew Telegdi. "With this increase in support to our research community, we are now better able to maintain and recruit the very best of talent as we strive to build on our proud record of achievement and academic excellence." Grant recipients this time round:

Cécile Devaud and Carolyn Ren, mechanical engineering, $193,434. Their research project is "A Facility to Develop Novel Micro Devices and Analysis Tools for Biomedical, Environmental and Safety Applications." The money will support infrastructure to launch an innovative research program into the design and optimization of stand-alone lab-on-a-chip devices. The infrastructure will consist of a high-performance computing system, a rapid-prototyping system and a fluorescent visualization system. A typical lab-on-a-chip device is a piece of palm-sized glass or plastic with a network of microchannels, sensors, electrodes and detectors. It can accurately perform sensitive and complex chemical and biomedical analysis in one small package (the size of a postage stamp) more cost-effectively than traditional systems. This new facility will provide the experimental tools necessary for the manufacturing and testing of lab-on-a-chip devices and computational tools for optimization of fluid dynamics and mass transport processes, and design of new power supplies critical to the operation of the devices.

Bruno Tremblay, philosophy (St. Jerome's University), and David Porreca, classical studies, $18,110. Their project is titled "Development of a research database in Medieval Studies: a web-based, searchable electronic corpus of Albertus Magnus' complete works." The award will allow the establishment of a searchable, web-based electronic corpus of the numerous and voluminous works of one of the most important thinkers of the Middle Ages, Albertus Magnus. This infrastructure will enable its two main immediate users to conduct, with a higher degree of completeness and excellence, their research in Albertus' commentaries on Aristotelian logic (Tremblay) and in the history of the influence of Hermetic writings (Porreca). The database developed using the CFI funded infrastructure will prove useful to many researchers in the history of science, theology, philosophy and medieval studies in general.

Mohab Anis, electrical and computer engineering, $70,000 for a project titled "Facility for the Design of Nanometer Integrated Circuits and Design Automation." The grant will enable cutting-edge research resulting in new understanding and novel evolutions in nanometer devices, integrated circuits and design-automation methodologies. The objective is to significantly contribute to the development of the microsystems industry in Canada. This research is of strategic importance because "it will help ensure that Canada is at the leading edge of microelectronics technology. The need will be become more prevalent as the design challenges at the nanometer scale would necessitate increasing involvement between device, circuit and system trade-offs. Thus, the proposed research will bridge multiple research areas including semiconductor device characterization, circuit design and design automation."

Jennifer Durkin, kinesiology, $124,900 for "Investigation of knee joint loading patterns following injury and their influence on articular cartilage remodelling." This award will enable research examining the biomechanical relationship between joint injury and the development of osteoarthritis. Measurements of knee joint motion characteristics and the development of models predicting contact stresses on the articular surfaces will provide a better understanding of the mechanical factors affecting articular cartilage remodelling under different loading conditions.

Russell Tupling, kinesiology, $191,457 for "Research facility to study the genetic/physiological determinants of metabolic rate and obesity." The award represents a major contribution toward the establishment of a unique, state-of-the-art facility that will enable an innovative research program investigating the effects of altered cellular Ca2+ transport efficiency in muscle on metabolic rate and susceptibility to obesity. Promoting inefficient metabolism in muscle represents a potential treatment for obesity and its complications. This program, which will involve numerous national and international collaborative projects, is only possible as a result of the unique capabilities of the infrastructure to be purchased.

And a little of this and that

The Graduate Student Association is making a second attempt to fill its slate of leaders for the coming year. There were no nominations for two top positions -- president, and vice-president (corporate affairs) -- when nominations closed last month. Nominations are open again, with a March 28 deadline, and the GSA is also now looking for six "at-large directors" and 20 members of the council, says an announcement from chief returning officer Jason Grove. The association has also announced that its annual general meeting will be held March 29 -- that's two weeks from today -- at 7 p.m. in Coutts Hall room 301.

Chocolate covered almonds for sale in the Student Life Centre in support of Best Buddies disability support group, 10:00 to 3:00.

Physics undergraduate seminar: Gary Slater, University of Ottawa, "Brownian Motion: The Life of Dancing Molecules", 11:30, Physics room 145.

Career workshop: "Job Search Strategies", 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Interdisciplinary Coffee Talk Society: "What Is an Acceptable Risk (e.g., for Destroying the Earth)?" Adrian Kent, University of Cambridge, 5 p.m., Graduate House.

'The Incredibles' free showing sponsored by Muslim Students Association, 8 p.m., Student Life Centre.

TalEng, once-a-term engineering student talent festival, from 8 p.m., Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

'Professionalism in the Classroom' teaching workshop Wednesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, details online.

Stress relaxation series continues: "Focused Relaxation", Wednesday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5158, sponsored by Employee Assistance Program.

'Music of the Renaissance' free concert Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel (Richard Cunningham, countertenor, and David Lenson, lute).

Mathematics student exchange information session Wednesday 2:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

Debating Society public debate: Should the Federation of Students support religious and ethnic clubs? All welcome. Thursday 1 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall. (Debate Club weekly meetings are Wednesdays 5 p.m., CEIT room 1015.)

Anthropology career night Thursday 5 p.m., Tatham Centre room 2218.

The latest issue of the engineering student newspaper, Iron Warrior, has a page about the state of the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, which has approximately $70,000 to allocate this term based on student fees and the earnings of its hefty trust fund. An allocation committee was to make its decisions last week. The newspaper reports on the percentage of each engineering class that paid the WEEF fee for this term, with special praise for 4B environmental chemical engineering, "for a wicked 100% rate that blew everyone else out of the water, especially the other 4th years! It's great to see a class so eager to give back to the school." Overall, the participation rate for undergraduate engineers was 69.56 per cent.

Architecture students going on co-op terms this summer got their job matches yesterday, and students not matched with a job have a 4:00 meeting today to find out what to do next. . . . March is Nutrition Month, and a dietitian based in health services will hold drop-in sessions in the Student Life Centre tomorrow (11:30 to 1:30) and at the Columbia Icefield fitness centre on March 30. . . . A one-day workshop on negotiating, sponsored by the Centre for Family Business at Conrad Grebel University College, will be held March 23 at the Stone Crock in the village of St. Jacobs. . . .

I didn't manage to mention it in advance, but last night brought the annual "Explorations" event in UW's engineering faculty. It's a chance for children in grades 6 through 8, and their parents, to see a little of what engineering is about, with a stroll through the engineering buildings and a look at student and faculty projects, from the solar car and other special-purpose vehicles to "electronic ping-pong". The event always happens at the beginning of March break week, and there is distinctly limited space for the two 90-minute sessions.


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