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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

  • Mathies fifth in Putnam; other achievements
  • Notes, including one from Zagreb
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Three smiling faces]

Graduating students from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences enjoyed a golden send-off at the University Club on March 30, says advancement officer Stephanie Johnson: "Faculty, staff and three accomplished alumni — Olympian Heather Moyse, Dr. Cal Keil and Victoria Behune — gathered to celebrate the graduating class’s achievement of completing their degree requirements and to inspire the students to continue on their path to success. The presence of Heather Moyse’s gold medal in women’s bobsleigh from the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver served as reminder to the 130 students in attendance what can be achieved with commitment, passion and a dream."

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Mathies fifth in Putnam; other achievements

Let's talk about some student achievements this morning — starting with a high-ranking finish for the Waterloo team in this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition, held each December for math students across North America. Stephen New of the pure mathematics department, advisor for the Waterloo team this year, says contest results have arrived from the sponsoring organization, the Mathematical Society of America, and the Waterloo entry "did extremely well, finishing in fifth place."

The winning team came from the California Institute of Technology, with MIT, Harvard, Berkeley and Waterloo following. "The next five universities, in alphabetical order, were Duke University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto," New reports.

"Congratulations to the University of Waterloo team members," says his memo, naming them: Steven Karp, Boyu Li, and Malcolm Sharpe, all mathematics undergraduates.

"Congratulations also to the following Waterloo students for their tremendous performance in the competition. The top Waterloo student was Matthew Harrison-Trainor. He was amongst the top 40 of the 4,296 contestants! Our next five students, listed alphabetically,  were all amongst the top 100 contestants: Frank Ban, Steven Karp, Boyu Li, Yangxi Ou, Malcolm Sharpe.

"The following five students, listed alphabetically, were amongst the top 220 contestants: Manuel Candales, Jie Ning (William) Fu, Mihai Nica, Hao Sun, Yuelin (Julian) Sun. The following eight students, listed alphabetically, were amongst the top 400 contestants: Ahmad Abdi, Shalev Ben-David, Guan (Brian) Bi, Cameron Bruggemann, Chen Fei Du, Maysum Panju, Shangsi Wang, Tianyaui (Terry) Zhang."

Next, an achievement reported by chemical engineering professor Marc Aucoin: "As part of their fourth-year design project, Naomi Zimmerman, Sasha Smith, Jamy Kallikaden and Elise Bingeman entered the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium Environmental Design Contest held in New Mexico. We are very proud of this group, who won the best overall award for Innovation in Sustainability. It's the first annual award for this category, sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan and valued at $2,500."

Another chem eng professor, Bill Anderson, gives more detail: "The students' project was related to carbon sequestration for carbon dioxide capture from power plant flue gases. The students developed a technique that mimics aspects of natural oceanic processes. Their system uses sea water, which is electrochemically treated to raise the pH, and this 'alkalized sea water' is then used to capture CO2 in a contacting tower. The captured CO2 is precipitated and sequestered in the form of calcium and magnesium carbonate solids, which can be recovered for use in various by-products.

"In their project, they assembled equipment and demonstrated the feasibility of the technology on a bench-scale process. They also did design and economic calculations to estimate the costs of such a process if used at full scale. Although many technical challenges remain in such as process, the initial results show promise."

And third, the faculty of environment held the annual Jack Rosen Memorial Award competition the other day. The award ("for environmental innovation") is designed "to reward and encourage innovative, ‘outside-the-box’ ideas aimed at solving environmental challenges and issues. A Waterloo entrepreneur, businessman and waste management professional, Mr. Jack Rosen developed and introduced the world's first ‘Blue Box’ recycling program."

Anneliese Burger in the dean of environment office says the judges saw "creativity and hard work… with so many clever ideas it was difficult to choose a winner," so they added a couple of honourable mentions as well as the $2,500 grand prize.

Winners of the $2,500 prize were Alen Palander and Jonathan DeVela for "GLOW, a reflective lighting solution designed to reduce electrical consumption". Honourable mention went to Stephanie Chang and Minh Toan for "Fruit Tags" ("a colour-code sticker designed to visually convey environmental information to the consumer") and to Jess Taylor for the "Peach Bin" ("a redesigned waste bin that incorporates a green bin, blue bin and waste bin in one").

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Notes, including one from Zagreb

More than 3,000 people — a thousand would-be students, plus interested family members — came to campus April 2,  says the school of accounting and finance, as applicants wrote this year’s Accounting and Financial Management Admissions Assignment. (Another 100 applicants wrote the test in distant locations, supervised by proctors.) “We had over 270 student volunteers helping out for the day,” Kelly Millar of SAF reports. It took three buildings to accommodate everybody, she says. “We had an academic student life fair set-up in the SAF atrium as well as a number of student panels taking place in the SAF and Arts Lecture buildings.” The AFMAA is a key step in the decision about which applicants will be admitted to start accounting programs at Waterloo this September. “The goal,” says Millar, “is to admit students who are not only academically strong but have certain skills and attributes which will make them more successful both in the classroom and in the workplace,” including writing skills, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork.

"Ever wonder what it is that foreign academics value about our research at the University of Waterloo?" asks Fraser Easton of the English department. Among the answers, apparently: "Professor Linda Warley of the Department of English Language and Literature is currently spending three months in central Europe addressing students and their professors about Canadian multiculturalism and its relation to the study of Canadian literature. She is teaching an intensive course on the topic to fourth-year students in the Filosofski Fakultet at the University of Zagreb, Croatia — an arrangement that was made possible by a Memorandum of Understanding between Waterloo and Zagreb — as well as consulting with faculty and graduate students about their research on Canadian literary topics. She is also delivering guest lectures at other Croatian universities and academic groups and at universities in neighbouring countries, including the University of Osijek in the Slavonia region of Croatia, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and the University of Graz in Austria. Warley, whose research includes online autobiographical genres as well as Canadian literature and autobiography more generally, is writing a blog about her academic and other experiences and impressions while abroad."

The "winter" issue of Phys 13 News, published by Waterloo's physics and astronomy department for high school science teachers, is guest-edited by faculty member David Hawthorn, and focuses on "100 years of superconductivity". Tracing progress in the field since dramatic experiments in 1911 in a laboratory at Leiden, Hawthorn writes that the condition of a material with no electrical resistance at all is "a fascinating state", with lessons in many branches of physics. Much of the newsletter is then taken up with a description of superconductivity-related research at Waterloo, including work in Hawthorn's own group, which "has been involved in building a new facility for this technique at the Canadian Light Source, the synchrotron in Saskatoon".

And here's news from Maggie Xiaohui Liang on the first floor of Needles Hall: "The international student office, in collaboration with Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College, is hosting the annual conference of the Ontario Association of International Educators and regional meeting of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, May 10 to 12. It is a conference for people working in international education fields or dealing with a lot of international students at work. The presentations cover everything from admission, recruiting, intercultural experience, classroom experience to immigration. We encourage staff, faculty and students to check out the website and take advantage of this great opportunity."


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Link of the day

New year in Sri Lanka

When and where

Library extended hours during exam season: to April 21, Davis Centre library open 24 hours (except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.), Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Winter term examinations April 8-21; unofficial grades begin to appear in Quest, April 22; grades become official, May 24.

Mathematics contests today, sponsored by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing : Fryer (grade 9), Galois (grade 10), Hypatia (grade 11).

Problem Gambling research speaker: Charles Livingstone, Monash University, “Whose responsibility is problem gambling?” 11:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Biomedical Discussion Group: Catharine Winstanley, University of British Columbia, “Rats, Risk and Research” 2:30, CEIT building room 3142. Details.

‘Single and Sexy’ auditions for September performances, 3:30 to 8:30, Humanities Theatre.

Staff career seminar: “Trends in Leadership from UW Recruiters” Thursday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

[E-waste dropoff Saturday]

Birding hike on the Healthy Valley Trail, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , Sunday 2:00.

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

Teaching Excellence Academy for faculty members April 19-21 and 25. Details.

Discovery Days in Health Sciences for high school visitors, Tuesday 8:30 to 3:30, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Retirees Association spring luncheon, speaker Ken Coates, dean of arts, Tuesday, Luther Village great hall, cash bar 11:30, meal 12:00, tickets $25, phone 519-888-0334.

Book launch for Ecclesiastical Repentance by Jeremy Bergen, Tuesday 4:00, Conrad Grebel UC.

UWRC Book Club: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, April 20, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Lunchtime walking meditation sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , April 20, meet 12:05 in front of Needles Hall.

Good Friday, April 22, university closed.

Graduate Student Research Conference April 25-28; keynote speaker, cartoonist Jorge Cham, Monday 3:00, Davis Centre. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions teaching and learning conference sponsored by Teaching Based Research Group, keynote addresses and workshop sessions, April 27-28, Hagey Hall. Details.

Spring term fees due April 25 (certified cheque, money order, promissory note), April 28 (bank transfer).

Germanic and Slavic studies day and evening of 50th anniversary celebrations, April 28, alumni invited. Details.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 2.

Canada 3.0, “Canada’s premier digital media forum” May 2-4, Stratford campus. Details.

Catalyst Conference for young women interested in math and science, hosted by Women in Engineering, May 6-8. Details.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Faculty financial officer — research, dean of arts office, USG 10
• Faculty financial analyst, dean of engineering office, USG 10
• Catering manager, food services (south dining), USG 8

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