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About the DB

Monday, May 15, 2006

  • Competition cars hit the pavement
  • But he's not going to medical school
  • And a little of this and that
Chris Redmond

International Day of Families

[Driver in helmet; past a red pylon]

The 2005 Formula SAE car in action at Michigan's Pontiac Silverdome.

Competition cars hit the pavement

Waterloo student teams are getting ready to hit the road, with three unique competition vehicles set to be unveiled this week alone.

Specially built or modified cars created by UW students -- mostly, but not all, from the engineering faculty -- have carried the Waterloo name around the world and helped to demonstrate design efficiencies and alternative forms of energy. Another in the series gets its first public outing this afternoon, and two more will follow by the end of the week.

Today brings the unveiling of this year's model of a competition-ready formula race car. "Activities include a driving demonstration of the new model, a chance to meet the student designers and a barbecue," said Gareth Kenworthy, team leader for the UW Formula SAE Team. (SAE is the Society of Automotive Engineers.) The event takes place between 6 and 7:30 p.m. in parking lot C, near the intersection of University Avenue and Seagram Drive.

Each year, a team of about 15 engineers designs, builds and tests an open-wheel race car from the ground up and to the limits of performance and weight. "The entire car is designed by students, with the exception of a few parts, like the engine which is sourced from a Honda CBR600 motorcycle," Kenworthy said.

The team will compete in the annual Formula SAE competition, which starts on Wednesday in Pontiac, Michigan. Considered the largest student-engineering competition in the world -- with 140 universities representing at least 11 countries -- the student teams aim to prove their designs in presentations and on-track racing.

The Formula SAE competition seeks to evaluate each car's design, cost, marketability and dynamic performance through a series of events testing each team's knowledge and ability. Last year, UW's team placed fourth overall, a result current team members hope to surpass this week.

"Highlights of this year's design are a well integrated tubular steel space frame that mounts a re-designed suspension, which has improved stiffness and control," Kenworthy said. "The engine is custom dyno-tuned to use electronically controlled, variable intake runner lengths and staged fuel injection for improved power. A bespoke lightweight limited slip differential provides better control over wheel spin."

Kenworthy said the innovations could not be possible without the team's sponsors. "Their support is greatly appreciated," he said.

Another UW-created car will be unveiled tomorrow, as the team that's already leading in a three-year North American competition to develop a sustainable crossover vehicle will show off its hydrogen fuel cell hybrid Chevrolet Equinox.

The UW Alternative Fuels Team finished the first year of the "Challenge X" event, sponsored by General Motors, in first place among 17 competitors. As the only team with a fuel-cell power train, UWAFT's detailed vehicle design process helped win in eight of the ten categories last summer. This year's eight-day leg of the competition takes place later this month at the GM Proving Ground in Arizona.

The car will be shown off tomorrow morning (10:00 to noon) at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario, southwest of Kitchener, where the Equinox is made.

Then Thursday, the Mini-Baja Team will show off its new Wombat (Waterloo Off-road Mini BAja Team) vehicle. The event will start at 6 p.m. in the Sybase parking lot in the north campus Research and Technology Park.

"The team will take this opportunity to review the design of the car and demonstrate its capabilities," organizers say. "The team will be departing for the annual Midwest Mini Baja competition on May 23. The competition, hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), is being held in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. This year we will be competing against 140 teams from universities across North America."

But he's not going to medical school -- by Jill Campbell, from the Inside Scoop newsletter for co-op students

"Multinational randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial" -- huh? If you didn't understand that, there's no need to worry -- very few people do. Fourth year student Tyler Harvey does, however, because he was coordinating trials like that one during his eight-month co-op term with the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation at the Hamilton General Hospital.

One might think he's enrolled in the faculty of Science or AHS, but he's actually an Environmental Studies student. Always interested in the field of medicine, Harvey took anatomy and physiology courses as electives, and applied to co-op jobs in the same category. "I like my program, but always had an interest in medicine. I never pursued a major in it because I didn't think I could get into med school."

He got the best of both worlds, sticking to his original Environment and Business program, yet completing work terms relating to medicine. Aside from the multinational randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial he worked on at the Hospital, he had the opportunity to work on another venture called the Coronary Inflammatory Marker Project. It was Harvey's responsibility to screen, recruit, and enrol patients into the study before they had an angiogram performed. "This study may play an important role in the identification and treatment of people who are at risk for myocardial infarctions in the future."

Combustion Institute, Canadian Section spring technical meeting Sunday-Wednesday, technical papers in Davis Centre, tour of Live Fire Research Centre on Wednesday.

Senate long-range planning committee 2:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Alumni networking workshop in Toronto, 6 p.m., details online.

Career Interest Assessment Tuesday 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1112, information and registration through career services.

'Death of a Salesman' presented by Poor Tom Productions and hosted by UW drama department, Wednesday-Saturday 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets 888-4908.

Accelerator Centre, north campus Research and Technology Park, opening celebration Thursday 11 a.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Ontario Nano Symposium organized by graduate students in electrical and computer engineering, Friday, details online.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 22: classes cancelled, UW offices and most services closed.

Spring programming contest Saturday, May 27, involves writing C++, Java or Pascal solutions for up to five problems in three hours, details online.

Staff association annual general meeting June 1, 9 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

A benefit of having an eight-month term with the Hamilton General Hospital was that he could see the trials he conducted from start to finish. "One of the things I enjoyed most about working at the hospital was the patient interaction and seeing people go through the entire study." As for his challenges in the role of research assistant, "the most difficult was being a Œsalesman'." With plenty of experience, though, he made the most of his time with the Hospital and thus earned his fifth "Outstanding" employer evaluation.

Not only does he excel academically and in a work environment, Harvey is heavily involved in the community and with volunteer activities. In September 2005, he founded the UW Triathlon Club because "I am a triathlete and feel that triathlon is a great sport for people of all fitness levels to be involved with." He was also a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Hamilton during his eight-month stint there, showing that there are opportunities to be involved in any community, even if you're there temporarily for co-op.

Co-op has given Harvey the opportunity to have jobs he normally wouldn't have been able to get. He experienced an array of positions and found out, most importantly, what he likes to do. So what's next for him? "Teacher's college -- I'm thinking about teaching elementary school!"

And a little of this and that

A film crew will be on campus today to shoot footage for a video to be shown at the Intelligent Community Forum being held in New York in June. The City of Waterloo is one of seven finalists for this year's Intelligent Community of the Year Award. President David Johnston will be interviewed and a crew from Pepper Box Productions will shoot images around campus.

Several striking items are on the agenda tonight for the monthly meeting of UW's senate, which starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. It will be asked to approve the new undergraduate program in geomatics, based in the geography department, with the first students entering in September 2007. There's also a proposal for a new Centre for Mental Health Research, to be headed by Christine Purdon of the psychology department. And a recommendation is coming forward that all graduate students be required to submit their theses electronically, starting in the spring of 2007. In addition the senate will hear the usual reports from the president and provost, and there will be briefings on "Sixth Decade" planning in two more faculties, this month engineering and applied health sciences.

A reminder comes from the library that this year's Friends of the Library lecture and authors event will be happening May 24 at noon in the Theatre of the Arts. Adel Sedra, the dean of engineering, is this year's speaker. His talk is entitled "Universities from the bottom up: personal reflections of a lifer". This is the 14th year for the lecture and event that celebrates the creative process across campus. Previous speakers have included a new president, journalists, novelists, an artist, an astronaut, a composer, a mathematician, scientist, and a student. The event also showcases the creative works produced across campus. This year, says Mary Stanley of the library office, a DVD will be produced featuring all the authors and others whose work is displayed. Here's the last call for participants: If, in 2005, you wrote a book, composed a musical score, were recognised for your design or photography work, or mounted an art show, and would like your work recognized and displayed, you should contact Cheryl Kieswetter today at ext. 2281 or ckieswet@library.uwaterloo.ca.

[Grierson] Donald Grierson (right) retired last winter after a long career in UW's civil engineering department -- there was even a farewell party for him in the Davis Centre in January -- but he's still keeping active in the field of structural engineering. Grierson is the general chair for the International Conference on Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics and Construction that's taking place today through Wednesday at UW. It's sponsored by the Structures, Mechanics & Construction Division ("Formerly the Solid Mechanics Division") of the civil eng department, and includes a multitude of UW researchers among the organizers. "A total of 73 papers have been accepted for presentation, involving more than 150 authors representing 15 countries," says the conference web site. A faculty member since 1968, Grierson was an early graduate (1964) of UW's engineering program, and subsequently earned his graduate degrees at Waterloo as well.

There's been some talk about the amount of gas and electricity used at some of the Columbia Lake Village townhouses, where utilities are included in the monthly rent. "Through consultation with the North Community," says the CLV newsletter, "three decisions were put forward with regard to unbundling the utilities as a result of the rental increase that takes effect in September: Un-bundle the utilities, but keep the administrative/payment facet within CLV; Un-bundle the utilities, but have residents responsible for hook-up, payment to the utilities; Keep the situation as is." The residents felt that the best option was to keep the situation as is. CLV will be providing energy efficiency education to new residents as well as to high users."

UW's senate has named Mariela Gutiérrez, of the department of Spanish and Latin American studies, as UW's "academic colleague" to the Council of Ontario Universities, taking over from Paul Schellenberg of combinatorics and optimization. . . . The 2006-07 Waterloo Region telephone books have arrived on campus, and "are being delivered slowly as it fits into our workload", according to Ed Goodwin of central stores. . . . The Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) joined with other local organizations to represent Waterloo Region at the annual conference of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, held in Hamilton last week. . . .


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