Tuesday, April 15, 2008

  • Math contests under way today
  • Former president of India to speak
  • Students seek 'buzz' for Cambridge
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Eight gentlemen and a lady]

The Paul and Paula Plummer Award is given to fourth-year students "who have contributed to the Engineering Society in such a manner to be outstanding and commendable". This year's winners were introduced at the Grad Ball in late March, and can look forward to seeing their names on a plaque in the EngSoc office in Carl Pollock Hall. Left to right: Evan Thor, Greg FitzGerald, René Marchand, Ruth-Anne Vanderwater, Adam Neale, Todd Radigan, Evan Murphy, Jason Shirtliff, Bahman Hadji.

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Math contests under way today

from the UW media relations office

More than 27,000 students from hundreds of high schools across Canada and around the world will test their skills in mathematics this week, participating in one of four international competitions run by UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. These students are competing for a pure love of mathematics — and the chance to see how their skills compare with their peers.

CEMC administers the contests to help students develop their skills and knowledge. The centre, which offers the country's largest youth outreach program in mathematics and computer science, provides enrichment activities, including global contests and school visits.

"These contests are an excellent way to feed students' love for and interest in mathematics and provide a way of competing with other students," says Tom Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics. "They encourage a large number of students to think outside the box and use the curriculum skills that they have learned to solve unusual problems."

"I firmly believe that all students benefit from becoming involved in mathematics competitions," adds James K. Nakamoto, a high school math teacher in Vancouver. "The average student is often surprised that he can successfully tackle many, supposedly difficult, contest problems. The range of problems also challenges the better students, and meeting each challenge gives them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment."

One of the centre's math contests is being written today — the Euclid competition, designed for grade 12 students, though there are many younger students who write it. The Euclid competition scores are considered when students apply for admission and scholarships to study mathematics at UW. Three more contests come tomorrow: the Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10) and Hypatia (grade 11). The Gauss contest for grades 7 and 8 will follow on May 14.

Students are required to produce full-written solutions, emphasizing mathematical content and the process of writing and explaining solutions. Their papers are then marked by volunteer high school teachers and university professors.

"Skills in mathematics and computer science are crucial to so many areas of society," says Ian VanderBurgh, director of the CEMC. "Our centre works to raise the profile of and interest in these subjects in the hopes that more students will pursue further study and careers in mathematics and computer science."

The contests are being held at a time of mounting public concern about the decline in interest of young people in the fields of mathematics and computer science at universities across North America. The most recent Statistics Canada figures show that the number of students enrolled in undergraduate programs in math, computer science and information sciences dropped by 8.7 per cent between 2000-01 and 2004-05. The significant decline occurred while total undergraduate enrolment soared by 21.6 per cent over the same period.

More than 25,000 high school students across Canada, along with about 2,600 students from the United States, China and several other countries, write the math contests every spring. This year's results should be posted by the Victoria Day weekend.

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Former president of India to speak

Former Indian president Abdul Kalam, often referred to as the Missile Man of India, will share his insights Thursday about the growing ties between his country and Canada in furthering global development.

Kalam, widely regarded as one of the country's greatest presidents and popularly known as the People's President, will give a public lecture entitled "Canada and India — Partnership in Global Development". The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building. Admission is free but audience members are asked to register.

An aeronautical engineer, Kalam is considered one of the most distinguished scientists of India. He played a key role as project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). The satellite successfully injected the Rohini satellite in orbit in July 1980, making India a member of the exclusive global space club. He later served as scientific adviser to the country's defence minister and secretary of the department of defence research and development.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear from Dr. Kalam, who is recognized as one of India's most progressive mentors, innovators and visionaries for his scientific and humanitarian work," says Adel Sedra, UW's dean of engineering.

As chair of a national technology council, Kalam with the help of 500 experts drew up a road map, Technology Vision 2020, to transform India from a developing country into a developed one. He has served as the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India and was responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for development applications.

In 2001, Kalam became a professor of technology and societal transformation at Anna University, one of India's premier engineering schools. The author of four books — Wings of Fire, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey and Ignited Minds — Kalam has long sought to engage young people in the country's national development. As the 11th president of India, from 2002 to 2007, Kalam made it a top priority to focus on changing India into a developed nation by 2020.

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Students seek 'buzz' for Cambridge

“An urban design intervention” by UW students is taking shape this week and will open Friday night at a former drugstore in central Cambridge near the School of Architecture.

“Synergy” is the creation of a group of master’s students from the school, who are taking over an empty storefront at the corner of Main and Ainslie Streets.

They’re addressing some significant questions, says an announcement of their project: “How would you make Cambridge a better place to live? What would give it more of that buzz shared by successful cities all over the world? What possibilities do you see here?”

In empty storefront that was formerly a Shoppers Drug Mart and Right House department store, they’ll window installations, a projection and a series of silhouette figures. The students promise to “present an exciting vision of Cambridge’s future potential, as inspired by their own work and community contributions”.

“Synergy” is the final assignment of Architecture 684: Mid-size City Beautiful — Urban Design and Revitalization”. In this course, students learned about developing strategies that support downtown revitalization such as multi-functionality and pedestrian-based activities, localized and small-scale developments, adaptive re-use of old buildings, niche marketing, and leadership. “To reflect the increasingly collaborative role of architects in society,” say the announcement, “students also responded to an impact study conducted by the School of Architecture in 2006, in which Cambridge citizens presented suggestions for an improved physical environment and quality of life in their city.”

Opening events will be held at the site on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. (with refreshments donated by the Melville Café, the restaurant that’s in the Architecture building on nearby Melville Street) and again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The exhibition itself continues until May 4.

The students behind Synergy are Nadine Beaulieu, Victoria Beltrano, Matt Bolen, Jessica Cheung, Carrie Hunter, Allison Janes, Joseph Lo, Camille Mitchell, Erin Shnier, Kristin Speth, Michael Trussell, and Michelle Van Eyk. Their course instructor is Jeff Lederer, and many other faculty and staff in the school have been involved in making the project a reality.


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Link of the day

RMS Titanic

When and where

Winter term examinations continue through April 24; schedule is online. Unofficial grades for winter term courses begin appearing on Quest April 25; grades become official May 26.

UW Shop “please don’t make me count this” pre-inventory sale (clothing and gifts), through Friday, South Campus Hall.

Inventory Clearance Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, Tuesday-Wednesday.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon 11:30 a.m., great hall, Luther Village, 139 Father David Bauer Drive, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758..

Staff salary system and settlement information sessions, 12:30 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113, repeated April 23, same time and room.

Applied health sciences public lecture: Timothy Hewett, University of Cincinnati, “Effects of Sex on Young Athletes: Why Girls’ Knees are More Trouble than Boys’”, 3:30, Lyle Hallman Institute room 1621.

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research workshops: “eHealthRisk-Opportunity” Tuesday-Wednesday, “Health Privacy” Wednesday-Thursday, details online.

Dance auditions for new initiative to be filmed in early May, Wednesday 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. and Thursday 10:30 to 11:30 p.m., Village I great hall, information e-mail housing@uwaterloo.ca.

[Cunningham]Pat Cunningham, faculty of mathematics (right), retirement party Wednesday 3:00 to 5:00, Davis Centre lounge, RSVP kmcglynn@ uwaterloo.ca.

‘Common Exercise Mistakes’ lunch-and-learn session Wednesday 5:30 p.m., boardroom at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Healthy Communities Knowledge Exchange Forum April 17-18, keynote address by Trevor Hancock, British Columbia ministry of health, “It’s the People, Stupid”, Thursday 3:00, CEIT room 1015, details online.

International spouses group potluck lunch Thursday 12:45 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre, bring food and utensils, information e-mail lighthousenm@gmail.com.

‘Communication in Creative Leadership’ workshop at Conrad Grebel University College, Thursday, 8:30 to 4:30, details online.

Chemical engineering seminar: Allan Hatton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles for Chemical and Biochemical Processing”, Thursday 11:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

‘Are You Following Me?’ Employee Assistance Program presents workshop on “profiling stalkers, Internet dating and safety”, Thursday 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

44th annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, Friday (9:00 to 9:00) and Saturday (9:00 to 1:00), First United Church, King and William Streets; book dropoff information online.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 21-24, details online. Seminar for students preparing postdoctoral applications, Monday, April 21, 10:00, Davis Centre room 1351. Keynote talk by Thomas Homer-Dixon (energy and climate change, “the ingenuity gap”, social change) Monday, April 21, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $2 at Humanities box office.

Permanent residence in Canada: speaker from Canada’s Consulate-General in Buffalo, sponsored by new faculty recruitment office and Waterloo International, Thursday, April 24, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116, register online.

UW alumni in Hamilton networking reception Thursday, April 24, 6:30 to 8:30, Canadian Warplane Heritage, details online.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term is April 28 (cheque, money order, promissory note) or May 1 (bank payment or international wire transfer), details online.

UW Alternative Fuels Team “Ride Green, Drive Clean” demonstration Wednesday, April 30, 9:00 to 6:00, Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto, keynote speakers 11:00, opportunity to drive AFT vehicle on a test track, details online.

Spring Convocation: applied health sciences and environmental studies, Wednesday, June 11, 10:00; science, June 11, 2:30, arts (some programs), Thursday, June 12, 10:00; arts (some programs), June 12, 2:30; mathematics, Friday, June 13, 10:00; computer science, June 13, 2:30; engineering (some programs), Saturday, June 14, 10:00; engineering (some programs), June 14, 2:30, details online.

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