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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

  • Kitchener groundbreaking this morning
  • Future students and families see UW
  • Building for photovoltaics research
  • A few other special events
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

National Farm Safety Week


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  • Kitchener groundbreaking this morning

    A groundbreaking ceremony will be held this morning for UW's third permanent location: the planned health sciences campus in downtown Kitchener, to be home of the School of Pharmacy that will open next year.

    Ontario health minister George Smitherman, UW president David Johnston and Kitchener mayor Carl Zehr are among the key figures in today's celebration, to run from 9:30 to 10:00 on the barren ground where UW's building will soon rise at the northwest corner of King and Victoria Streets. Here's hoping they aren't blown all the way to Queen's Park by this morning's fierce winds.

    Officials say the School of Pharmacy will welcome 120 undergraduate students in September 2007. As the only co-op pharmacy program in Canada, and one of only two in North America, the school will focus on the translation of ideas into practice, bringing an added dimension to the education of the most accessible health care professionals. At full strength, the School of Pharmacy is expected to be home to 480 undergraduate students, 70 graduate students, 30 faculty members and 20 administrative staff.

    Anchored by the new School of Pharmacy, the UW Health Sciences Campus will ultimately include a satellite of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, an optometry clinic and the Centre for Family Medicine, a residency program for students wishing to specialize in family medicine.

    The innovative project builds on Kitchener's $30 million commitment and gift of land to UW (a transaction that was legally completed just a few days ago). Says a news release: "The School of Pharmacy's dynamic teaching, research and commercial collaboration will bring new and vibrant dimensions to meet the health-care needs of area residents and advance health care in Ontario."

    [Welcome to UW]

    Future students and families see UW

    Thousands of visitors are at UW today for the annual Campus Day open house, aimed at future students and their families. Says Andrea Richter of the marketing and undergraduate recruitment office: "This action-packed event is planned to provide an opportunity to tour the campus and learn more about academic programs, campus life and student services. Special presentations include Financing, Co-op, and Student life. Printed Campus Day guides that detail the events will be available at the Visitor's Centre in South Campus Hall, the Student Life Centre, and other locations on campus."

    Activities will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Student Life Centre is the focus of events, with tours starting and ending, staff providing information about applications and admissions, and a number of booths representing such units as athletics, the library, the office for persons with disabilities, and counselling services.

    Applied Health Sciences activities are centred in Matthews Hall; Arts, in the Arts Lecture Hall; Environmental Studies, in ES 1; Engineering, in Rod Coutts Hall; mathematics, in Math and Computer; and Science, in the CEIT building. Residences, colleges, and the Tatham Centre are also welcoming visitors, as is the Architecture building in Cambridge.

    [Red brick with solar panels]

    The planned Photovoltaics building , seen from the north

    Building for photovoltaics research -- by Barbara Elve

    Excavation into the still-frosty ground just west of the central plant has begun in preparation for construction of the new Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems.

    Described by Siva Sivoththaman, an electrical and computer engineering professor, as "a comprehensive research and development centre," the facility will bring together researchers in materials, microelectronics and back-end electronics from both engineering and science. Their mission: "To make an impact in terms of affordable technology, as opposed to performance at any cost."

    The advantages of photovoltaic technology -- which converts sunlight directly into electricity -- are that it's "clean, very green, renewable energy that doesn't burn any fuel, frees you from the power grid, decentralizes power generation, has no moving parts, almost no wear and tear, and requires minimal maintenance," Sivoththaman explains. "It's one of the best renewable energy technologies.

    "One quite serious problem: it is expensive. Photovoltaic now costs three to five times more than standard electricity." Pushing the price up is the cost of base materials and fabrication. More than 90 per cent of PV technology now uses crystalline silicon. "We need lower-cost silicon-based and other materials. We need new processing technology compatible with the new low-cost materials. And we need to move away from the classical microelectronic culture for materials and processing technology." He's optimistic that research at Waterloo can uncover a way to bring the cost down to a level comparable to the grid -- making PV technology cheap enough to use in his own home. "So far, some labs have concentrated on materials, some on processing, some on systems. The new centre is certainly unique in Canada and North America in that it encompasses all aspects of photovoltaic research. It's the only way to go if we want to make an impact." He expects short-term research will focus on reducing costs, with longer-term studies aimed at developing new materials and technology, such as organic semiconductors, thin film materials and lower-cost silicon technologies.

    The project has participants from UW (Sivoththaman, Roydon Fraser, Tong Leung, Arokia Nathan and Andrei Sazonov) as well as the University of Toronto, York, Western and Saskatchewan, plus Natural Resources Canada and other agencies. "Having a physical space with the right infrastructure will really make a difference, says Sivoththaman. "We need to have materials, fabrication, et cetera, all in one spot. We don't currently have such a facility."

    WHEN AND WHERE
    Gannon University (Erie, Pennsylvania) information session about Doctor of Physical Therapy program, 10:00 to 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc. open house 2 to 6 p.m., and same hours Friday, 268 Phillip Street.

    Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

    Engineers Without Borders general meeting 5:30, Davis Centre lounge.

    Margaret Trudeau, former wife of prime minister Pierre Trudeau, speaks on "The Role of the Public Person in Community Service", 7:30, Wilfrid Laurier University senate and board chamber.

    Green Bomber Night presented by student environmental groups: displays, free food, bands including Sexy Tiger Party; fund-raising for an orphanage in Côte d'Ivoire that treats children with leprosy; 8 p.m. to midnight, Bombshelter pub, Student Life Centre.

    'Money Matters!' information session about OSAP, scholarships, banking, financial management; sponsored by office of the ombudsperson, with support from student awards and financial aid, and other groups, Wednesday 12 noon, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

    'The Power of the Mac' information session on Mac computers for software engineering and development, Wednesday 12 noon, Campus TechShop, Student Life Centre, registration online.

    Faculty association confidential general meeting of members, Wednesday 3:30, Math and Computer room 4059.

    Fit Explosion free one-hour fitness class, aiming to break record for the number of participants, Wednesday 4:30, Physical Activities Complex small gym.

    'Leisure and Health: Joining Forces to Prevent Youth Risk Behaviour,' Edward Smith and Linda Caldwell, Penn State University, sponsored by Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Thursday 4:30, Lyle Hallman Institute auditorium.

    Conrad Grebel University College fund-raising dinner and tribute for Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar, Saturday evening, information 885-0220 ext. 381. Sawatsky dinner

    The 15,000-square-foot building -- a little bigger than the University Club -- has a total budget of around $12 million. That includes $3.2 million in construction costs, with the rest going for research equipment. It's being financed by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust, plus a strong in-kind donation from Spheral Solar Power (ATS-SSP) that will provide crystal growth facilities, thin film facilities, a full range of device fabrication facilities for solar cells, a full range of testing and measurement facilities, rooftop real-time testing, module design and fabrication, and a demonstration room.

    Expected to be operational in 2007, the venture will have high energy requirements. "The building is technically-driven, but we are installing solar panels on the roof to supplement energy needs," Sivoththaman says. Waterloo was the obvious site for the centre, he adds, with its proximity to ATS-SSP, "the biggest fabrication facility in Canada. Industry feedback is very important."

    A few other special events

    Today's open house sponsored by Google Inc. is apparently a lot more than just a recruiting event for graduating students. (It's definitely that, though, and even gets a mention in today's Globe and Mail in the context of an alleged "high-tech boom" that is offering exciting prospects to students in technical fields.) The open house, from 4 to 8 p.m. in Federation Hall, is the first such event since Google bought local software firm Reqwireless Inc. early this year, and should include a public announcement that Google is now in business in this increasingly wired and wireless city. Expected as the key speaker today is Craig Nevill-Manning, Google's "director of New York engineering and senior staff research scientist".

    Tonight brings a preview performance of "Our Country's Good" by British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, the winter term major production from UW's drama department. As a publicity release explains, the show "pushes a weary regiment of officers and their petty-criminal charges to reinvent social order on Australia's wild new frontier. Thousands of miles from their native home, the entire spectrum of humanity is confronted, from compassion to brutality." Tonight's performance is by invitation, primarily for arts alumni and VIPs. Public performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. -- tickets, 888-4908. And the drama department has just announced that there will be an extra show, a Saturday afternoon matinee (2:00) to help support a spring term student exchange that will take drama students to the Theaterakademie Vorpommern and bring German students to Waterloo. Matinee tickets are on a pay-what-you-can basis.

    The "Know Your Workplace" series sponsored by UW's human resources department is resuming after a long break, and from now on, HR says, they're going to be scheduled "as part of the normal workday". The first session deals with staff compensation: "The pay practices of the University of Waterloo are governed by the desire to provide good and fair compensation while considering the University's current financial requirements, and future financial commitments. Please join us for this session to understand more about how your compensation is determined." It's scheduled for Thursday from 3:00 to 4:30. "Seating is limited," a memo says; anyone wanting to attend should preregister at ext. 7599.

    Student volunteers have announced a production of "The Vagina Monologues" at UW next week, with three performances in different locations. It's a fund-raiser for the Mary's Place women's shelter in downtown Kitchener and the V-Day project started by "Monologues" creator Eve Ensler. Organizers note that around the world, benefit productions of the show have raised more than $25 million for various charities. "The Vagina Monologues" is described as "an award-winning play celebrating female sexuality with intelligence, wit, and humour", and can be seen at 7:30 p.m. on March 22 (in the Student Life Centre multipurpose room), March 23 (in the Bombshelter pub), and March 24 (in Studio 180 in the Humanities building). Tickets are $10 (students $8) at the SLC turnkey desk, or at the door.

    CAR


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