Friday, May 14, 2010

  • Construction warnings, and a new building
  • Science lectures set for next week
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[On stage in front of logo]

Canada 3.0, held Monday and Tuesday with sponsorship from UW’s Stratford campus and the Canadian Digital Media Network, formally ended with 15 “action plans”, including “a national repository of co-op programs and internships for students and recent graduates”. But the conversation is still going on, including a stream of comments on Twitter, as well as blogs and other postings. The photo (courtesy of Jonah Hu) shows the master of ceremonies for 3.0, Kevin Newman of Global National, chatting with Joseph Iuso and Brian Crozier of UseMyBank during one of the Tuesday sessions.

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Construction warnings, and a new building

We're in for another summer with significant disruptions along the ring road, the plant operations department has announced. From June 10 to July 12, a memo says, the ring road will be closed between Needles Hall and the PAS building parking lot. It's the result of construction on the Environment 3 building, which is already well under way. "Fencing will be erected to allow truss assembly on the road," says the memo. "Several cranes and long trailers will be on site. Pedestrians will be re-directed. Building egress will be maintained from the west side of EV2, along sidewalks to PAS driveway. Signage will be erected on the ring road in advance to notify staff, students and delivery companies." Grand River Transit buses that normally use the west side of the ring road will use the east side, past the Davis Centre, instead, the announcement says.

As the EV3 job progresses, the existing Environment 2 building will be at ground zero — much of the new construction is actually on top of it. Once the big cranes get to work, people can't be inside, plant operations says. "As per Ministry of Labour regulations, no one is allowed inside the building while overhead work is ongoing. Each morning the building will be cleared by UW Police and a representative from Cooper Construction. Access will be allowed after construction stops for the day or if weather makes overhead work unsafe." That will allow researchers to make use of their labs in EV2 during the evening, says Joanne Holzinger, executive assistant for the environment faculty, who’s coordinating arrangements. The lockdown will likely start at the beginning of July and run for no more than a month, she says. New locations have been found for classes that would have been scheduled in EV2 this term, and the MAD unit, the Environment faculty’s computing experts, is moving in to temporary space in EV1. The closed building also contains offices for the department of environment and resource studies: “Most of the faculty members will likely work from home,” says Holzinger. She’s looking ahead to the time when people are safely moved into EV3 and renovations can start in the two older buildings

Construction work is also scheduled at the Dana Porter Library, where the main entrance will be closed (tentatively starting next Wednesday) while the walkway along the building’s arcade is replaced. “The current walkway has a weak foundation that has resulted in frequent leaks in the library’s special collections department on the first floor,” the library web site says. While that’s being fixed, railings are also being replaced and a new accessibility ramp installed, as well as an “air curtain” to help keep winter winds from blowing in whenever the front door opens. The arches — a landmark feature of Porter since it was built in 1965 — will be unchanged. For about three months, library staff and users will have to go in and out through a temporary entrance on the west side of the building, facing Needles Hall, just as they did during interior renovations in the summer of 2008. This year, though, no work is being done inside the building, and no services will be closed or displaced.

Finally, the university’s newest building will be open for use next week. It’s Research Advancement Centre 2, a virtual clone of the nearby RAC1, which was built in 2008. Like the original, it has three storeys and about 70,000 square feet of space. The double building is at 475 Wes Graham Way in the north campus research and technology park. The UW board of governors gave approval last spring for “phase 2” of the project, which has been built by Cooper Construction. The $11 million cost was paid by private developers, and they’ll own the building after the university occupies it for six years, says vice-president (administration and finance) Dennis Huber. Like RAC1, it’s intended as a staging site for research activities that need space temporarily and will eventually be moving into other quarters — such as the Quantum-Nano Centre, now under construction on the central campus.

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Science lectures set for next week

Two special public lectures, in widely differing areas of science, are scheduled for next week, according to releases from the university’s media relations office. Admission is free. Here are the details.

Nobel Prize winner Richard Schrock will speak on the latest breakthroughs in chemistry as part of the Arthur J. Carty Lectureship. His talk is set for Tuesday at 3:00, in Davis Centre room 1350.

Schrock, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shared the 2005 Nobel in chemistry for his work in the area of olefin metathesis, a technique that has become very important in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and polymers. Title of his lecture is “The Third Generation: Thousands of New Catalysts for Olefin Metathesis”.

Schrock was the first to explain the structure and mechanism of the so-called "black box" olefin metathesis catalysts. His work at MIT has led to a detailed understanding of a group of molybdenum alkylidenes and alkylidynes, which are active olefin and alkyne metathesis catalysts, respectively.

The Arthur J. Carty Lectureship was established by distinguished professor emeritus Francis W. Karasek to honour Arthur J. Carty, a former chair of the Waterloo chemistry department and the current executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

"We are very pleased to welcome Nobel laureate Richard Schrock to the University of Waterloo where he will share his advanced knowledge of catalytic chemistry with faculty, staff and students," says Carty. "Now in its fourth year, the lectureship continues to attract outstanding individuals who are world leaders in a variety of scientific fields."

Then on Thursday, award-winning earth scientist Alan Morgan will share his vivid experiences at Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption, which grounded airplanes in Europe last month. Seismic activity started at the end of 2009 and led to a volcanic eruption in March 2010. In April, the plume of ash from another eruption led to widespread disruption of air travel between Europe and North America.

Morgan, a recently retired professor of earth and environmental sciences, had the opportunity to work with a colleague at the University of Iceland during the most active phase of the eruption in April. He was one of the few who witnessed the Markarfljot floods (jokulhlaups) and flew over the volcano during one of its most active days, getting some unique images of the ash plume that was causing air travel disruption.

On Thursday at 6:30, in Math and Computer room 2065, Morgan will give a talk entitled “Eyja-what? Ash from Iceland — A Geological Journey”. The event coincides with the “You @ Waterloo” open house for high school students who are considering offers of admission from Waterloo for next September.

"In this illustrated lecture I will review the history of some recent Icelandic eruptions and talk specifically about the most current eruption that happened in March and April," Morgan says.

Morgan also recently received the 2010 3M National Teaching Fellowship, considered to be Canada's most prestigious award for excellence in teaching. Morgan is only the third person at Waterloo to have won the award since it was established in 1986. "We are so proud that professor Morgan has been recognized for his dedication to teaching with this esteemed 3M award," said Barry Warner, chair of earth and environmental sciences. "He has an outstanding ability to communicate science to students and the public and draws from personal experience to bring his classes and lectures to life."

RSVPs for either lecture should go by e-mail to scienceevents@


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Scam warning (again)

"The phishers are getting better," says Jason Testart, security manager in the information systems and technology department. He cites an e-mail message that was hitting campus inboxes yesterday: "Waterloo Email/Nexus accounts has been compromised by spammers . . . We intend upgrading our Email Security Server for better online
services. It is strongly recommended you send to this office your account information immediately." Fake, fake. IST staff don't, and won't, ask users for account and password information. In fact, says Testart, "Don't share your password with anyone, period."

Link of the day

Expo 2010 Shanghai

When and where

Clubs, Services and Societies Days with opportunities for students to get involved, final day, 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends today.

Ontario Olympic Youth Academy for students in grades 10-12, co-sponsored by department of recreation and leisure studies, May 14-16. Details.

Wilfrid Laurier University “Development Day” for alumni and others, keynote by Peter Mansbridge of the CBC, today, Bricker Academic Building. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop for teaching assistants: “Building Credibility in a Teaching Role” 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Chemistry seminar: Steven Rafferty, Trent University, “Examination of Dimer Interface Mutants of S. Aureus Nitric Oxide Synthase” 10:00, Chemistry II room 361.

Staff career workshop: “Exploring Your Personality Type” today 1:00 (and second session May 21), Tatham Centre. Details.

Library workshop: “Intro to Map Making in ArcGIS” 1:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Department of psychology Ziva Kunda Memorial Lecture: John Dovidio, Yale University, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Suppression of Stereotypes but the Perpetuation of Bias” 3:00, MacKirdy Hall, St. Paul’s University College.

Library workshop: “Introduction to Spatial Analysis: Buffers” 3:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Dance Canada recitals today from 3:00, Saturday 8:30, Sunday 9:00, Humanities Theatre.

Waterloo Space Society lecture by Reggie MacIntosh, school of architecture, “Civilization Beyond the Solar System” 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 305.

K-W Musical Productions presents the romantic comedy “I Love You Because” Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $30 (students $20) 519-578-1570. Details.

Co-op job postings for fall work term open Saturday (main group and pharmacy students). Employer interviews begin May 26 (pharmacy), May 27 (main group).

School of Architecture open house for students who have received offers of admission, Saturday 10:00 to 5:00, Architecture building, Cambridge. Details.

Provincial Straw Bale Home Tour includes student-built Grand House in Cambridge, Saturday 10:00 to 4:00. Details.

Waterloo Unlimited “Vision” program for grade 10 students, May 17-22. Details.

Library workshop: “New Faculty and Grad Students, Research Tools and Library Services” Monday 10:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Library workshop: “Primo: Finding Books and More” Monday at 1:30 or May 19 at 10:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

University senate monthly meeting Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

President David Johnston Run for Mental Health Tuesday 5:00, start at Student Life Centre. Details.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Waterloo tweets

• "Apparently now there is a pink tie mascot suit. You can now walk around and hug the pink tie, and it will hug you back."

• "So it appears that my family is suuuuper hyped that I got into UW... and I don't know if that's a good thing =/ sighh."

• "Innovation you'll see from #uwaterloo Engineering at OCE Discovery: Thin Film Flexible Solar Cells. Drop by Booth 941 May 17-18."

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