Tuesday, April 21, 2009

  • Nature notes: the flames, the feline
  • Pressure or pleasure? Family and work
  • Ex-director tells Perimeter's story
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Tending low flames with rake]Nature notes: the flames, the feline

Environment student Maggie Janik (left) was part of a crew that got experience with a “prescribed burn” of prairie vegetation Friday morning at a site on Kitchener’s Gage Avenue. • As Staff Appreciation Week continues, so do special lunches at the University Club; today’s menu features chicken and black bean gumbo, crispy fried red snapper, and stir-fried vegetables. • Said a note over the weekend on one of my favourite blog sites: “I saw a sign posted on a telephone pole that said some people had found a lost cat around Village 1. It had a picture of the cat and a description. The cat was an opossum.”

And so we move through the final few days of winter term exams. The last scheduled examinations will happen Friday evening, and by that time most students will have moved out of the residences, the libraries will bring their extended exam-time hours to an end, and cafeterias will be closed. Even Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre will close at midnight Friday, not to reopen until the spring term begins on Monday, May 4. Unofficial winter term grades will appear in Quest beginning April 27, and grades become official May 25.

The 2009 world finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest ended a few minutes ago, and final results are awaited. The event is being held in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, this year, and daytime hours there translate to predawn here: the competition began at 4 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. UW is represented in the contest this year by Andy Kong, Konstantin Lopyrev, and Malcolm Sharpe, who won a regional contest a few months back to earn a berth in Stockholm. They’re coached by Ondrej Lhotak and Richard Peng of the school of computer science. With an hour to go in the event, the semi-official online scoreboard showed UW's team in 8th place among 91 teams. Still earlier, Lhotak had e-mailed that the UW entry was leading, as the first team to have solved three problems (out of 11)

Two training sessions about the QPR suicide prevention program that were to be held this winter term, sponsored by UW’s counselling services, were cancelled — the second one on Monday of this week — but organizers say they’ll try again in the fall term. Meanwhile, groups of 10 to 20 people who would like to hear the presentation can make arrangements by calling Lorraine Nesbitt in counselling, ext. 33528. “QPR is designed,” a memo notes, “to help you save someone who may be considering suicide. QPR consists of three life-saving skills: how to Question a person about suicide, Persuade the person to get help, and Refer the person to the appropriate resource.”

A long-time benefit of membership in UW’s staff association is a “discount club list” of local businesses — more than 90 of them at last count. “We are currently updating our list,” says a memo from Gail Spencer, executive manager of the association, who adds that the new list should be available online shortly. “We will also have the regular summer discount ticket sales available,” she said, “such as African Lion Safari and Canada’s Wonderland.” And this: “GoodLife Fitness is offering a Corporate membership rate of up to 55% off regular individual memberships. This opportunity is available to all our members and spouses. One-year term membership rates are dependent on the number of employees interested.” She asked for anyone who might be interested to send word by April 23, “as we would like to start the program in May.”

Deaths of several retired staff members are reported by the human resources department. Martha Kliwer, who was a food services assistant in Ron Eydt Village from 1977 to her retirement in March 1987, died March 28. William J. (Jack) Sargent, who was known as the “factotum” in the optometry school from 1974 to his retirement in June 1987, died April 12. And Jessie Fayle, who was a housekeeper at St. Paul’s United College from 1986 to her retirement in May 1999, died April 18.

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Pressure or pleasure? Family and work

A British academic, whose expertise is sought after by European countries, will explore how people can balance family life with work during a public talk tomorrow.

Tess Kay, deputy director of the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, England, will give a lecture entitled “Pressure Zone or Pleasure Zone? How Family Life Impacts Work-Life Balance”. It starts at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in room 1621 of the Hallman Institute; admission is free. The talk is part of the Hallman Visiting Professorship Lecture Series on Work and Health.

"As work expands, many of us struggle to reconcile work and family life. This, along with a loss of leisure and time to relax, puts our health and well-being at risk," said Sue Shaw, professor of recreation and leisure studies. "Dr. Tess Kay has made important contributions to the research on work-life 'stress,' 'imbalance' and 'mismatch.' "

In her talk, Kay will review how government policies allow men and women some flexibility in their work hours, discourage a long-hours culture and make some provision for parental leave to be taken for occasional family emergencies.

She will discuss whether it is sufficient to address 'imbalance' by focusing only on the 'work' side of the equation. An analysis of work-life issues must include a more critical look at family life, separating its stressful and recuperative impacts, she says. Interactions and negotiations within the home can help achieve a greater 'balance.'

Kay, who has served on social policy networks for the European Commission, is respected for extensive research into work, leisure and family life. She has conducted research for policy-makers who seek to change work and family life conditions throughout Europe.

At the institute, Kay heads a program of international research into the use of sport in developing countries to encourage healthy lifestyles. She has done work in Zambia, India and Brazil for government, voluntary and independent organizations.

Kay is managing editor of Leisure Studies journal and editor of The Fathering Game: Fathering through sport and leisure, an international collection of research to be published in May.

There’s one more lecture in the work and health series, hosted by UW's faculty of applied health sciences. On May 13, Barbara Silverstein, research director, SHARP Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, will speak on “Occupational Health: Research to Practice to Policy and Back Again”. To reserve seats for either lecture, call ext. 32010 or e-mail carchiba@ healthy.uwaterloo.ca.

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Ex-director tells Perimeter's story

A book that tells the “surprisingly humorous” story of Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, written by the institute’s founding director, will be published next week by Toronto’s Key Porter Books.

[Book cover]First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science is written by Howard Burton, who was executive director of the institute for its first decade, leaving in 2007. It has a foreword by noted physicist Roger Penrose, and will be published April 24 with a cover price of $24.95.

Says a news release from Key Porter: “In First Principles Howard Burton recounts the unlikely tale of building Perimeter Institute — Waterloo, Ontario’s world-class institute devoted to theoretical physics. It is a true story, as Sir Roger Penrose cleverly writes in his Foreword, that is definitely considerably stranger than fiction.

“In 1999 Howard Burton was a freshly-minted physics PhD from the University of Waterloo staring down the barrel of a career on Wall Street. Not satisfied with his prospects, Howard made a bold decision. He would make a last-ditch effort to find a different direction in life. He couldn’t simply add his resume to the mountainous piles of paper in human resources departments. He needed to go straight to the CEOs of Canadian business. A trip to the library brought a curious corporation to his attention: Research In Motion, creators of a fledgling personal communication device known as the BlackBerry.

“An email from Mike Lazaridis, one of Research in Motion’s two CEOs, led to a clandestine meeting in a Brampton parking lot with the charismatic billionaire and ultimately to a job offer. The job carried no title and Howard’s salary was scribbled on a napkin in a dimly-lit Italian restaurant, but his mission was clear: Howard’s job was simply to think.

“That thinking led him around the world, meeting with top scientific minds hoping to find a roster of qualified physicists to join the different sort of research institute he was imagining. Instead of him asking them for a job, he would be interviewing the world’s most celebrated physicists asking them if they wanted to work for him.

“Finding himself suddenly executive director of a multi-million dollar physics research institute presented a unique set of challenges for the young physicist. From squabbles with the local community over the proposed demolition of a hockey arena, to navigating the foreign worlds of public funding practices and the politicization of scientific research, Howard Burton successfully piloted PI to become a leading international centre of scientific research.

“That is, until his abrupt departure in 2007.

“For many in the scientific community Howard’s immediate departure from PI has remained a mystery. The truth, revealed for the first time in First Principles, is as curious and dramatic as the journey that created Perimeter Institute.

“Told in Howard’s witty, self-effacing style, First Principles is more than a biography of an innovative and highly successful Canadian institute, it is a lively rumination on the worlds of research, politics, money, philanthropy and management and an exploration of the profoundly human aspects of the business of science.”

Burton will be on campus April 28 to give two public talks: at 1:30 in Davis Centre room 1350, as part of the Graduate Student Research Conference, and at 7 p.m. in the Festival Room of South Campus Hall. The news release notes that he "was the founding executive director of the Perimeter Institute until his retirement in 2007. In his role as director he appeared many times on CBC Radio and Television, CTV News, and TVO, in addition to international media, including CNN International. He has lectured widely to scientific, government and community groups around the world.

“Howard was a director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and has been involved in a host of other community initiatives. In addition to his scientific interests, he is passionate about music and literature. He currently lives in France.”


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Link of the day

The Queen's birthday

When and where

Walking yoga free trial session sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00 noon, start at CEIT building foyer.

Feng shui and stress management group, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Alumni in London, Ontario: networking event 6:00, Aroma Mediterranean Restaurant. Details.

Live and Learn lecture: Marcel O’Gorman, English, “Necromedia”, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

Terpsichore dance performances Wednesday-Thursday, Humanities Theatre.

UW Retirees Association spring luncheon Wednesday 11:30 a.m., Luther Village, speaker (new) Ron Schlegel, retirement community executive and gerontology researcher, tickets $25, information 519-885-4758.

Earth Day energy showcase co-sponsored by UW Faculty of Environment and the Residential Energy Efficiency Project, information for homeowners, Wednesday 11:30 to 7:00, Kitchener city hall rotunda.

‘Your American Income Taxes’ new faculty lunch-and-learn session with Ken Klasen and Stan Laiken, school of accounting and finance, for US citizens on the UW faculty, Wednesday 11:45 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004. Details.

Smarter health seminar: Neil Gardner, Saskatchewan Health, “Advancing Health Informatics as a Profession” Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Columbia Lake Health Club “lifestyle learning” session: “Get Ready for Golf”, Wednesday 5:30 p.m., 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Alumni in Windsor: reception with leaders of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) and student Alternative Fuels Team, Wednesday 6:00, The Keg Riverside, Windsor, Ontario.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Beyond the Barriers: A Community Forum on Healthcare in a Multicultural City”, Wednesday 7:00 p.m., St. Mary’s Hospital.

Public forum on the Middle East Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall.

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents Swami Maheshanand Saraswati, “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali”, Wednesday 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

Staff association pension, benefits and compensation subcommittee meets Thursday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1351, association members welcome.

Alumni in London, UK: networking reception Thursday 6:00 p.m., Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “Succession Stories” Friday 7 a.m., Waterloo Inn. Details.

Used book sale sponsored by local chapter of 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; drop off books at the church Wednesday-Thursday.

Chinese competition: Ontario University Students Chinese Proficiency Competition, hosted by Renison University College, Friday 1:30 p.m. Details.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry, annual general meeting, Friday 1:00 p.m., University of Guelph Thornbrough building room 1200; seminar, Tong Leung of UW, “Surface Science of Some Nano Stuff”, 3:00; graduate student poster session and awards presentation follow, Peter Clark Hall, U of G.

Bike for AIDS fund-raiser sponsored by World University Services of Canada, Sunday 12:00 to 4:00, Columbia Icefield. Details.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term: April 27 (cheque, money order or fee arrangements), April 30 (bank transfer). Details.

Renison University College book launch for Bold and Courageous Dreams: A History of Renison University College 1959-2009 by Gail Cuthbert Brandt, hosted by UW bookstore, April 28, 4:00, Dana Porter Library first floor, RSVP k4king@ uwaterloo.ca.

Ontario Water Works Association student chapter, based in civil and environmental engineering, free tour of Walkerton Clean Water Centre demonstration facility with carpool from campus, May 1, e-mail kmsuperi@engmail to make arrangements.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 4.

Presidents’ Colloquium on Teaching and Learning, speaker Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, “But Will That Be on the Test? Encouraging Deeper Learning” May 4, 2:00, Humanities Theatre, reception follows.

Faculty workshops on teaching with Gary Poole, University of British Columbia, May 5: “Using Door-Opening Concepts in Our Teaching” 9:00, “We Can Promote Deeper Learning” 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

A Research Conference on Teaching and Learning, sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, May 6. Details.

Herschel Space Observatory launch event with live video and remarks about UW’s involvement, May 6, postponed.

Summer Camp Fair with more than 40 children’s camps represented, May 6, 5:00 to 7:00, University Stadium, Wilfrid Laurier University. Details.

E-waste Green Day sponsored by UW central stores and Greentec Recycling Services: drop off electronic items (on approved list) for free recycling, May 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., East Campus Hall.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term courses posted in Quest May 11; appointments June 22-27 for continuing students, July 13-26 for new students; open enrolment begins July 27.

UW Blooms annual exchange of seeds, seedlings and garden supplies, May 11, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

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