Thursday, June 28, 2007

  • Noted turtle to greet Sunday crowd
  • Students score with steel research
  • Other notes in the stillness
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Kenyon beside marshland]

Linda Kenyon mostly handles communications and planning for the dean of engineering office, but right now she's got some news of her own. Her book Rainforest Bird Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife has won this year's Science in Society Book Award for youth books from the Canadian Science Writers Association. The book, which includes some 50 colour photos, is published by Firefly Books at $9.95. The award was presented at the science writers' annual conference in London earlier this month.

Link of the day

Football season

When and where

Canada Day Book Sale by UW bookstore continues today and Friday 8:30 to 4:00, South Campus Hall concourse.

'Public Space: Transforming the Urban Landscape' symposium including faculty members from UW and Cornell; exhibition of student projects; presentation by Plant Architects of Toronto about their design for Nathan Phillips Square. Symposium from 1 p.m., reception 5 p.m., Architecture building, Cambridge.

Patricia McDonald, office of the registrar, retirement open house and tea party 3:00 to 4:30, Needles Hall room 3004, RSVP

Sun Microsystems Solaris case study challenge, 5:30, Davis Centre room 1351, details online.

[Legs in wooden dress]
'The Girl in the Wood Frock' thesis project by architecture student Andrea Ling, now at IndexG Gallery, 50 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto, opening reception tonight 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Live improvisational jazz at the Graduate House, from 9:00 tonight.

Patio Party at the Graduate House: live music with In-Stro-Man-X from 5:00 Friday, $2 barbecue 6:00 to 8:00, free to grad students, others $5.

Canada Day celebrations on the north campus Sunday, July 1, 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. UW holiday Monday, July 2 (no classes; offices and services closed).

'Bees and Beneficial Insects' presentation by master gardener, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Wednesday, July 4, 12:05 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302, registration e-mail uwrc@admmail.

Waterloo Region Comedy Festival: "New Faces of Comedy", recent graduates of Humber College school of comedy July 6, established Canadian stars June 7, both performances at 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets at Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Postdoctoral applications: seminar for graduate students, July 10, 10:00 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

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Noted turtle to greet Sunday crowd

Here’s big news for little people: the star of Sunday’s Canada Day celebrations on the UW north campus is going to be a Very Important Reptile who will leave the politicians and other main stage celebrities green with envy.

[Franklin]Organizers of the big day have confirmed that the 6 p.m. show will be a half-hour production featuring Franklin the Turtle, star of Treehouse TV and such gripping children’s books as Franklin in the Dark. The Franklin stories combine suspense with vital life lessons (“it's okay to be sad or mad sometimes, as long as you know good ways to deal with it”), and the knee-high crowds are expected to turn out to see Franklin, Bear, Snail and the rest, life-size and more so.

Entertainment will run all day Sunday (from 2:00 p.m.) on two stages. One is intended mostly for children and will feature magicians and members of the UW hip-hop, DJ and juggling clubs, the Warrior cheerleaders and the engineering jazz band. The other, “main” stage will feature a series of bands, from the Soul Suppliers to Knock Knock Ginger, as well as Franklin and friends. It will also host the 6:40 p.m. opening ceremonies with a few words from non-reptilian celebrities including UW’s president.

[Canada Day logo]Elsewhere on Columbia Field, Canada Day will bring an arts and crafts fair, the “mini-Olympics” for children, and an “activity world” drawing on local Scouts and Guides, a UW robotics group, origami experts and the UW Aerial Robotics Group demonstrating its flying craft. There will be food booths and other vendors on the field, and the day will wind up with a massive fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Everything’s free (contributions will be accepted). That includes parking in UW’s main campus lots, with entrance from University Avenue only. A crowd of more than 50,000 people is expected, the biggest gathering of the year at UW. This year’s Canada Day celebrates not only the country’s 140th birthday, but UW’s 50th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the city of Waterloo.

Organizers say they could still use more volunteers, to help with everything from food sales to face-painting. Details are on the Canada Day web site.

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Students score with steel research

A team of student researchers from UW has placed third in a national automotive research competition. The students were competing in the DaimlerChrysler Canada HQP Poster Competition at the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence Highly Qualified People Conference in Windsor, Ontario.

[Posing beside Auto21 poster]Farbod Nasseri (pictured with Peter Frise of AUTO21) and Alex Bardelick of mechanical engineering were recognized for their poster and work on Hydroforming of Advanced High Strength Steels. A team from the University of Alberta, working on electronic combustion controls, took first place.

"I’d like to congratulate the winning team and all the finalists on the quality and ingenuity of their projects," said John Mann, director of engineering and regulatory affairs for DaimlerChrysler Canada. "This competition showed us that there is a deep pool of bright young minds that will have a tremendous impact on the future of Canada’s auto sector. The 2007 AUTO21 HQP Conference helps to strengthen the bond between university researchers and the automotive industry, and we are very pleased to partner with them in that worthwhile initiative."

A panel of judges evaluated a total of 66 teams from 26 universities, with 20 teams selected as semi-finalists. The five winning teams were selected following oral defences of their research. The UW team, supervised by automotive researcher Michael Worswick, brings home a $2,500 award.

“It is an honour to support Canadian students pursuing automotive-related research across Canada,” said Peter Frise, AUTO21 scientific director and CEO. “The calibre of research presented as part of this competition is testimony to the contribution these bright minds are making to Canada's auto industry.”

The three day conference provided AUTO21 student researchers an opportunity to attend auto-related research presentations and tour two R&D facilities (University of Windsor/DaimlerChrysler Canada Automotive Research & Development Centre and the University of Windsor/International Truck Centre for Innovation) and two manufacturing plants (Autoliv and the Woodbridge Group) in Windsor-Essex. They also heard from speakers including Sandra Pupatello, Ontario minister of economic development and trade.

AUTO21, a federal Networks of Centres of Excellence, focuses on automotive research and development and the development of highly qualified people for future work in the automotive sector. Student researchers contribute to AUTO21’s 41 research projects across Canada.

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[In front of an impressive row of flags]

Philanthropist Jim Balsillie speaks at Monday's event. Listening are CIGI director John English, premier Dalton McGuinty (who announced $17 million in provincial research funding to support the Balsillie School), Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran, and UW president David Johnston. WLU president Bob Rosehart was also on the platform along with Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy.

Other notes in the stillness

The Graduate Student Association issued a statement yesterday expressing “its strongest possible support and appreciation” for the recent $50 million gift from Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, to UW, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The gift is the main component of a $100 million initiative to create the Balsillie School of International Affairs. “Of particular interest to graduate students,” said the GSA, “is the creation of 24 Balsillie Fellowships in addition to the 15 currently available to graduate students, and the expansion of academic opportunities into new and exciting areas.” Ian MacKinnon, president of the GSA, had nothing but praise for the partnership between Balsillie and UW: "Thanks to this generous donation, UW will be able to expand its graduate programs into an area that it has not traditionally focused on. When community leaders like Mr. Balsillie bring their spirit of innovation to bear on philanthropic projects, the future looks very bright. GSA greatly appreciates the opportunity to bring Waterloo's name to more corners of the globe." The Federation of Students issued a statement a day earlier also endorsing the plan for the Balsillie School.

Yesterday's hydro outage at the south end of the campus wasn't caused by the Ontario-wide heat wave and resulting pressure on the electrical supply, but by something much more local. "The age of the equipment, that's basically what it was," says Gerd Kursikowski, electrical supervisor in the plant operations department, fingering a high-voltage switch in the Humanities building. It failed about 2:15 yesterday, and power didn't return to Humanities until about 10 p.m., after a specialized contractor was brought in to make a temporary repair. Permanent new equipment probably won't be installed until it's time to connect wiring to the new accountancy wing, now under construction, and everything can be done at the same time, Kursikowski said. He added that yesterday's experience suggests it's time for a more active program of replacing ancient electrical equipment in UW's older buildings (Humanities was opened in 1969). Yesterday's problem had a ripple effect in nearby buildings, producing blackouts of various lengths in some of them and late-afternoon power flickers in others.

[Raymond]Kyle Raymond (left) of the Warrior track and field squad is spending this week in Calgary at Bobsleigh Canada's national team development camp. • Computer science students have been invited to tour the Computer Graphics Lab and Symbolic Computation Group on Friday afternoon as the latest in a series of laboratory showcases. • The latest Teaching Matters newsletter, from the UW Centre for Teaching Excellence, reports that Trish Stadnyk and Amanda Clark are staying on as "TA developers" with the centre's Certificate in University Teaching program.

[Pedlar]Alison Pedlar (right), a faculty member in UW’s department of recreation and leisure studies, will retire officially as of July 1. Her PhD is from the school of planning, and in the recreation department she has specialized in community development, recreation for people with disabilities, social policy and inclusive communities. She’s cross-appointed to the department of health studies and gerontology, and is author of a number of articles in the field, as well as a chapter in the forthcoming new edition of the definitive A Textured Life: Empowerment and Adults with Developmental Disabilities, published in 1999 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Jesse Rodgers, president of the UW staff association, posted a brief report to the UW Opinion web site yesterday, and had it e-mailed to association members, about some of the things he and his executive will be doing over the summer. “The UWSA will be busy,” he writes, “working on a number of issues as outlined at the AGM, including communication, confidentiality, and constitutional reform.” And as for the key forum in which staff leaders interact with UW administration: “The Staff Relations Committee will address larger staff issues immediately. Members will meet three times over the summer, and a smaller sub-committee will discuss Staff Grievance policy and review job descriptions, USG inconsistencies, and ways to improve communication.”


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