Thursday, May 28, 2009

  • Sound in the Lands widens horizons
  • Revamped Quest is on the way
  • Brain food for all (and a party)
  • PhD oral defences
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Grade 9 girls at Think About Math Conference

Tackling a statistics problem are two participants in the "Think About Math" conference for Grade 9 students, hosted earlier this year by UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. About 40 girls took part. Photo by Mary Joy Aitken, Faculty of Mathematics.

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Sound in the Lands widens horizons

Conrad Grebel University College

This festival/conference of Mennonites and Music, scheduled for June 4 - 8 at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, will explore Mennonite music across borders and boundaries.

The sequel to the highly successful Sound in the Land 2004, Sound in the Lands II is both festival with multiple concerts, performances, and workshops, and an academic conference with papers and presentations that address issues of Mennonite-rooted peoples and their music-making, locally and globally.

Sound in the Lands 2009 logoIn harmony with Mennonite World Conference in Paraguay (July, 2009), Sound in the Lands II seeks to expand musical horizons, integrating global, cross-cultural and newer fusion of music with more familiar Mennonite traditions.

As voices converge we may find vibrant exchanges which help redefine Mennonite music today. The sense of "borders" in music refers not only to geographical and cultural borders but also to those of style, genre, aesthetics, and various other diversities within Mennonite people today.

Emphasis will be placed on musical and cultural dialogue, including a wide array of musical genres and exchanges between and among all Mennonite-rooted, Mennonite-affiliated persons, both globally and locally. As well, we will sing together in four parts and more, a cappella and with all manner of instruments!

In concerts and workshops, Sound in the Lands II will feature music by Mennonite composers, songwriters and musicians in all forms of classical, experimental, multimedia, jazz, vernacular, folk, popular, alternative, and world music genres. And in conference sessions, papers and presentations will explore a wide variety of Mennonite music-related themes.

We also welcome Mennonite writers and other artists (visual artists, dancers) to Sound in the Lands II, allowing for sessions where collaborative works can be showcased between musicians and these artists.

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Revamped Quest is on the way

"Quest is changing!" says the announcement that went out to faculty and staff this week from the Quest Upgrade Team. The new version of Quest will go live on Monday, June 15, with a backup date of Tuesday, June 16.

Faculty and staff who use Quest will see improvements to the navigation and the reports generated by the system, including administrative activities related to undergraduate and graduate students, such as student admissions, student advisement, student record keeping or reporting, student awards, student finances, and distance education.

Here are some highlights:

  • For instructors: A new "Faculty Center" brings together tools and information concerning teaching, class rosters, grade submission and scheduling information.
  • For advisors: The format of the new unofficial undergraduate transcript has been significantly improved. The new transcript consolidates all relevant student information.
  • For advisors and students: Averages on the new unofficial undergraduate transcript are recalculated and date-stamped. This helps reflect any grade revisions made during the term.
  • For everyone: Navigation is streamlined. You will also be able to store bookmark favourites.

During the changeover the system will be unavailable from about 4 p.m. on June 4 for up to 24 hours. Go here for updates. More information will be coming by email.

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Brain food for all (and a party)

Andrew HessellAll are welcome at a public talk by author and biologist Andrew Hessel (left), on "Why Synthetic Biology is so Disruptive and Where it is Going to Take Us," this Friday, 10-11:30 a.m., in Coutts Hall (RCH) room 301. The talk is the keynote address at the first-ever conference for Ontario iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) teams, being hosted by the University of Waterloo iGEM Team. The gathering will give student team members a chance to take a break from designing projects in medicine, alternative fuel, or environmental remediation to discuss the present and future of synthetic biology, a fusion of biology and engineering. The event also aims to strengthen Ontario’s contribution in the worldwide iGEM competition.

Author Jane Buchan, of Hardwick Area Transition Towns in Vermont, speaks on "Transition Town Culture: The Next Step for Building Sustainable Communities," on Friday, 3-4:30 p.m., in Environment II room 2002. "Transition towns" are "an accessible and easily adaptable model for rural and urban relocalization that involves building resilience into local communities by 'powering down' and 'skilling up'. Transition town culture fosters the assessment of local and regional vulnerabilities and suggests initiatives that will lessen the impact of climate extremes, fossil fuel energy adversity, and global economic instability." More information here, or contact Raj Gill, WPIRG, at or 519-888-4882.

balloonsHildegard Marsden Nursery will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with a family-oriented fundraiser this Sunday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., outdoors at the nursery, off Frank Tompa Drive in the UW R+T Park. Enjoy a family walk, entertainment, face painting, games, crafts, a jumpy castle, bike decorating, prizes, and refreshments. "Invite your friends, family, neighbours and alumni." Organizers ask you to register at 519-888-4567, ext. 35437. Cost: $25 per family of five, or $5 per adult.

Procurement and Contract Services is hosting a two-day trade show, June 2 and 3, "to help the university community discover the resources available to them through our suppliers," says Simone James of that department. "Our theme this year is 'Go Green,' with our suppliers showcasing some of their environmentally friendly products." The show takes place in the Davis Centre room 1301, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Day one focuses on computers and audio visual, with many industry suppliers on hand as well as the UW Campus Tech Shop. Day two features Staples Advantage (Corporate Express) and several of their suppliers.

Anthony LeggettA series of one-hour public Lectures in Quantum Information by Anthony Leggett (right), Institute for Quantum Computing, begins next Thursday, June 4, and continues on June 9, 16, 18, 23, 25, and 30, and July 2. Leggett, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics, will speak on "The Physics of Topological Quantum Computing." After recapping the substance of his lecture series last year, "I address various questions related to the physical (as distinct from the algorithmic) aspects of the effort to build a topologically protected quantum computer." All talks will be at 2 p.m. in the Research Advancement Centre (475 Wes Graham Way), room 2009.

Craig EislerThis year's winner of the J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation is Craig Eisler (left), corporate vice-president, entertainment client software, in Microsoft Corporation. Eisler, who holds a UW joint degree in applied math and computer science (BMath ’89) will speak on "Software and Innovation: A 20-Year Perspective" at the Graham Medal seminar on June 11, 2 - 3:30 p.m, in Davis Centre room 1302, followed by a reception. The talk "will look at different types of innovation and the sorts of challenges firms of all sizes have sparking, harnessing and maintaining innovation. Eisler will draw on anecdotes from a number of real-world examples, including the building of the first few versions of DirectX, the early days of Windows Media, the formation and scaling of Action Engine, the creation of AOL Wireless, and shipping Office 2008 for Mac." Pre-registering to reserve your seat is recommended. Email or phone 519-888-4567, ext. 37747.

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PhD oral defences

School of Planning. Elke Meyfarth O’Hara, “Moving from Landscape Connectivity Theory to Land Use Planning Practice: Ontario as a Case Study.” Supervisor, Paul Eagles. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV-I room 335. Oral defence Wednesday, June 10, 2 p.m., EV-II room 1001.

Physics and astronomy. Yidun Wan, “Emergent Theory of Quantum Geometry.” Supervisors, Lee Smolin and Jeff Z-T Chen. On display in the Faculty of Science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, June 11, 2 p.m., Physics building room 352.

School of Accounting and Finance. Christy MacDonald, “Multi-Jurisdictional Tax Incentives and the Location of Innovative Activities.” Supervisor, Ken Klassen. On display in the Faculty of Arts, PAS 2419. Oral defence Friday, June 19, 1 p.m., Hagey Hall room 2104.

Recreation and leisure studies. Rebecca Genoe, “Living With Hope in the Midst of Change: The Meaning of Leisure Within the Context of Dementia.” Supervisor, Sherry Dupuis. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Monday, June 22, 10 a.m., Lyle Hallman Institute room 3701.

Health Studies and Gerontology. Kitti Sranacharoenpong, “Application of Learning Technologies to Support Community-Based Health Care Workers and Build Capacity in Chronic Disease Prevention in Thailand.” Supervisor, Rhona Hanning. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, June 26, 10 a.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Cecilia Lam, “Thermal Characterization of a Pool Fire in Crosswind With and Without a Large Downwind Blocking Object.” Supervisor, Elizabeth Weckman. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, June 29, 2 p.m., Engineering III room 4117.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Dionne quints born 1934

When and where

‘Learning from Ontario’s Best Lecturers’ workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Relaxation sessions presented by the Employee Assistance Program. The healing light, Thursday, 12:15-12:45, Math and Computing room 5136.

Surplus sale of UW furnishings and equipment Thursday, 12:30 to 2 p.m., East Campus Hall.

International Spouses “Grow Your Own Herb Garden” presentation by Samm McKay, Thursday, May 28, 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre. Details.

‘University-Industry Connection: Win-Win Strategies’ sponsored by engineering research office, Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Library workshop: “Google Earth 5.0” Thursday, 2 p.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Career workshops Thursday: “Are You Thinking About an International Experience?” 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208; “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 3:30 p.m., Tatham room 2218; “Basics of Starting a Business” 4:30, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, gala awards night Thursday, 6 p.m., Waterloo Inn. Details.

Engineering Society Genius Bowl Trivia Competition, Thursday, 7 - 10 p.m. Sign up outside the EngSoc Office door (CPH room 1327) or email with your team name and members.

Health and Healing lecture series launches with talk by Pharmacy director Jake Thiessen, "Building a Healthier Future: Discovery and Innovation at the Health Sciences Campus." Thursday, 7 pm, School of Pharmacy, 10 Victoria Street South, Kitchener. Free. RSVP by email or 519-888-4499

Final day for fee arrangements for spring term, Friday, May 29.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Retirement party for Marie Schmidt of Finance, after 31 years at UW. Friday, 3 - 5 p.m., presentation at 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301. RSVP by May 26.

Waterloo Space Society general meeting Friday, 5 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 306. Robert McNees, department of physics and astronomy, speaks on string theory.

‘Black Holes: A Ninety-Year Journey’ International Year of Astronomy lecture by Laura Ferrarese, University of Victoria, Friday, 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015. Observatory tour follows.

Bombshelter Pub concert: “Inward Eye” Friday, doors open 9 p.m., $10 at door.

9/11 Research Group presents Annie Machon, “MI5 Whistleblower Speaks Out”, Sunday, May 31, 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Commuter Challenge 2009 encourages any mode of travel except driving a car alone to work. Register here as an individual or as part of the university. Challenge takes place May 31 - June 6.

Co-op employer interviews (main group) June 1-18.

President’s Golf Tournament in support of athletic scholarships, Monday, June 1, Westmount Golf and Country Club. Details.

Math alumni in Vancouver: lunch at Sage Bistro, University of British Columbia, Monday, June 1. Details.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” Monday, June 1, 3:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Co-op pharmacy students job ranking opens Monday, June 1, 4:30 p.m., match results June 5, 4:00 p.m.

Social work seminar: "Social Work Practice in an International Context." Monday, June 1, 4:30 to 6 p.m., Chapel Lounge, Renison University College. Free. Details.

Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute Distinguished Lecture: Brian Schmidt, Australian National University, “Observational Evidence for Dark Energy” Tuesday, June 2, 4:00, Perimeter Institute.

Keystone Karnival, annual outdoor event celebrating the Keystone Campaign for faculty, staff and retirees, Wednesday, June 3, 11:30 to 1:30, Matthews Hall green, with evening event 10 p.m., South Campus Hall.

‘Canada 3.0: Defining Canada’s Digital Future’ conference for industry leaders, policy-makers and researchers, sponsored by UW Stratford Institute, Open Text, and Canadian Digital Media Network, June 8-9, Rotary Complex, Stratford. Details.

Lebold Endowment Fundraising Banquet at Conrad Grebel University College, Thursday, June 11, 6:30 p.m., speaker Ron Mathies, “Becoming a Global Community of Faith”, information ext. 24223.

ACM-style programming contest to help select UW’s teams for next year’s international competition, Saturday, June 13. Details.

Brubacher House Museum 30th anniversary celebration, with speaker Ken McLaughlin, UW historian, “Saving the John E. Brubacher House: Giving the Past a Future”, Saturday, June 13, 1:30, Conrad Grebel University College great hall.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and guests, Monday, June 15, 12:00 noon, Grand Valley Golf Course. Registration closes May 29. Details.

UW Book Club. Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Wednesday, June 17, 12:05 p.m., Dana Porter Library room 407. Details on UWRC webpage.

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