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Friday, April 29, 2011

  • Honk if you love the coming of spring term
  • 'Top 40' honour for quantum physics prof
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Goose showing its tongue]Honk if you love the coming of spring term

First things first: the querulous critter at left, peering through the plate glass of the Student Life Centre, is absolutely not the new president of the Federation of Students, ready to take office as successor to the 2010-11 leader, Brad Moggach. Think of it as poultry in emotion, the nesting goose that has made things lively for passers-by on the SLC patio in recent days. The photo is by fourth-year electrical engineering student Basel Sabbagh.

The new Feds president, Matt Colphon, has better things to do, leading up to the May 1 commencement of his term in office, than stare through the windows of the SLC. Actually he’s been in Montréal, attending a “Youth Summit on Community Engagement” conference. Look for him back in Waterloo next week to take on his full Federation responsibilities, along with vice-presidents Prashant Patel (administration and finance), Natalie Cockburn (education), and Luke Burke (internal).

The Graduate Student Association also gets its new 2011-12 executive as of May 1. Mike Makahnouk takes over the presidency from Hassan Nasir, who will now serve as vice-president (external). Other new VPs of the GSA are Mahdi Safa (internal), Joshua J. Armstrong (communications), and Krista-Lee Mathias (student advocacy).

Meanwhile, today is a damp and quiet morning, when I suspect a number of people are going to be away from work revelling in the royal wedding. (Among the guests of the present Queen and the future King: former Waterloo president, now Governor General of Canada, David Johnston.) Nothing to do with the big wedding, but a number of units on campus (including all retail services stores) will be closed for part or all of the day today, in order to take inventory, a routine as the university's fiscal year comes to an end. Waterloo’s total operating income for the 2010-11 year, which officially ends April 30, is estimated at $490,078,000, according to figures presented by the provost to a recent meeting of the university senate. That doesn’t include research funds, capital funding, or the operations of self-supporting “ancillary” businesses. Total expenses for the year, the provost said, would be $486,857,000. The numbers will be adjusted somewhat in the days ahead, of course, as the finance office processes transactions associated with the last few weeks of the year; final numbers will be in the annual financial statement published next fall.

May 1 begins the new fiscal year, with an approved operating budget of some $518 million. It’s also the day when annual salary adjustments for faculty and staff members go into effect. There are no “scale” increases or rate adjustments this year, but many individuals will be receiving “progress through the ranks” or merit increases based on performance over the past year.

While these transitions are happening, somewhere inside the financial system, it’ll be an unusual weekend at the university, with a quiet Saturday and then a busy Sunday. The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield are closed for the weekend; the Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. No food services outlets will be open, not even the Tim Hortons in the Student Life Centre or Browsers in Dana Porter.

But then students will start to arrive in preparation for the spring term. The residences will allow travellers from far away to move in on Saturday night; otherwise, the move-in day is Sunday, any time after 8:30 a.m. Chris Read, the university housing officer, says about 1,300 students will be living in residence this term. On-campus or off, students face spring term classes that start Monday morning, with such delights as a Chem Eng 291 lab beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The first day of a new term is always a bustling one on campus, and Monday will be doubly so, as it’s also the day of the federal general election. Polling stations for the Kitchener-Waterloo riding will include one at Village I and one at the UW Place residence complex. “All students moving into residence," says Read, "will get a voting reminder card with their keys and information about where to vote. Housing and Residences and the Federation of Students began working with Elections Canada several months ago on a unique arrangement that allows the university to supply documentation, making the registration process less onerous for residence students.” The Federation, meanwhile, continues to remind students that they're entitled to vote just like anybody else: “You may vote in this federal election if you are a Canadian citizen; will be 18 or older on election day; can prove your identity and address.” A recording of the all-candidates’ meeting held in the SLC on Wednesday is available on the Feds’ web site.

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[With optical laboratory apparatus]
'Top 40' honour for quantum physics prof

by Colin Hunter, Institute for Quantum Computing

For his tremendous contributions to science in Canada, faculty member Michele Mosca (above, in laboratory) has been named one of the country’s Top 40 Under 40. The award, announced yesterday in the Globe and Mail, recognizes 40 early-career Canadians whose leadership has made positive differences in their communities and the country.

As one of the founding leaders of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, as well as a founding researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Mosca has helped put Waterloo and Canada at the forefront of research and innovation. "Michele's leadership and vision have helped establish the University of Waterloo as a global leader in quantum research," says president Feridun Hamdullahpur. "His incalculable contributions to science in Canada make him an ideal recipient of the Top 40 Under 40 Award."

Mosca and the other 39 recipients were selected from more than 1,000 nominees by an advisory board made up of 25 business leaders from across Canada. "Dr. Mosca is a deserving recipient of this award because he not only met but exceeded the criteria which our Advisory Board uses to select the Top 40," said Avo Oudabachian, a partner with Caldwell Partners, the founding sponsors of the annual award. Honourees were chosen according to five criteria: vision and leadership, innovation and achievement, impact, community involvement, and strategy for growth.

“I’m very honoured and thankful to be counted among such a prestigious group of Canadians,” says Mosca. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet this remarkable group of people and gain further inspiration and ideas for the future.”

After earning his PhD in mathematics at Oxford, Mosca returned to his native Canada with the vision of establishing a world-class research group to investigate the emerging science of quantum information. He knew his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Waterloo, had the fertile academic soil needed for such an ambitious venture to take root. In 2000, he joined the newly formed Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as a founding researcher and began assembling a core team of quantum information scientists. This convergence of top scientists led Mike Lazaridis, co-founder and co-CEO of Research in Motion, to fund a new research centre devoted specifically to quantum information — the Institute for Quantum Computing.

Through his research and leadership, and his efforts to create Waterloo’s collaborative graduate studies program in quantum information, Mosca has helped build Canada’s reputation as a worldwide epicentre for quantum research.

“Our goal has been to become the ‘Quantum Valley’ of the world,” said Mosca, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Computation. “We have been laying a foundation in Canada, with invaluable support from private, provincial and federal funding. I’d like to us build on that foundation by making major breakthroughs and nurturing the next generation of quantum researchers, to turn the breakthroughs into benefits for society. ”

Mosca says he is grateful to all his peers, mentors and family, as well as the visionaries whose support has allowed Canada to lead the quantum revolution. “This award symbolizes work that I couldn’t have done without the encouragement and guidance of many exceptional people.”


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Link of the day

Walpurgis Night

Employees' time off to vote

The university's human resources department sends along this official memo about the right some employees may have to take time off for voting on May 2: "Under the Canada Elections Act, all employees who are electors — Canadian citizens who are 18 years of age or older as of the date of the election — are entitled to 3 consecutive hours on election day, during voting hours, to cast their votes. For Ontario employers located in the Eastern time zone, voting hours run from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Where an employee’s hours of work prevent him or her from having the 3 consecutive voting hours required by the Act, the employer 'shall allow the time for voting that is necessary to provide those three consecutive hours'. The time off is paid. Where an employee has 3 consecutive hours that fall within the voting hours, but fall outside of his or her work hours, there is no obligation to provide paid time off from work."

When and where

Annual used book sale sponsored by Canadian Federation of University Women, today 9:00 to 9:00, Saturday 9:00 to 1:00, First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

Northern Stars Dance Competition Saturday from 9:00, Humanities Theatre.

Math/Business Double Degree Gala celebrating 10th anniversary, Saturday 6:00, Pavilion Royale, Mississauga. Details.

Benefit concert for Japan: “Trios from the East and West” Saturday 8 p.m., Perimeter Institute. Details.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, concert for the Open Ears Festival, Sunday 3:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener.

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

School of Accounting and Finance Directors’ Gallery ribbon-cutting celebration Monday 3:30.

Retirees Association bus trip to Niagara River wineries, Tuesday, tickets $98, information 519-744-3246.

International student orientation (graduate, undergraduate, exchange; spouses welcome) Wednesday 12:00 to 4:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105, lunch provided. Details.

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

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses posted in Quest, May 10; appointments for continuing students, June 6-11; for first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

Ontario Association of International Educators and Ontario region of Canadian Bureau for International Education, meeting at Waterloo May 10-12, hosted by international student office. Details.

Charity golf tournament sponsored by Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, May 10, 12:00, Whistle Bear Golf Club. Details.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends, May 13.

Discussion group for parents of first-year students (incoming or just finished) May 16, 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116, information e-mail hwestmor@

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