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Friday, March 25, 2011

  • Student art, nano devices on display
  • Alzheimer forum will break new ground
  • Hockey note and a busy weekend
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Sculpture towers over viewer]Student art, nano devices on display

That's Kristina Foster, a fourth-year fine arts student, checking out a work by one of her classmates, Raine Shen. The sculpture is called "Stratus 2", and was just completed for the annual show of work by graduating students, which opened last night in the East Campus Hall gallery. Under the title "Yes", the exhibition continues through April 9.

Student work of a very different kind will be on display today and Monday in the great hall of the Davis Centre. Engineering Design Symposium Week is continuing, with nearly 700 senior engineering students presenting more than 150 design projects, posters and prototypes. "Engineering Design Symposium Week is a tremendous opportunity to view first-hand the work of our talented engineering students as they near graduation," says engineering dean Adel Sedra. "The inventive design projects on display represent months of hard work and effort by our students."

Today, from 9:30 to 6:00, it’s the turn of students graduating from nanotechnology engineering and software engineering, showing off projects in such areas as nanofluidics and nano-biotechnology, nanophotonics and electronics, nano-functional materials, software systems for mobile devices, desktop computers, embedded systems and cloud computing.

One of today’s nano projects is a sensor for toxin detection. As the students who created it explain, ensuring that everyday environments are free of harmful toxins requires a variety of time-consuming tests, each looking for a different type of toxin. What if all of these tests could be combined into one simple measurement? The project examines a biochemical sensing technique in which each toxin generates its own "fingerprint" based on interactions between gold nanoparticles and fluorescent molecules.

Another project deals with counterfeit detection: “Imagine two luxury products placed side by side. One is authentic and one is fake, but they look almost exactly the same. How to tell which one is authentic? The project provides an innovative counterfeit detection feature by using colour combinations of quantum dots, identifiable under UV light, which can be used to authenticate the real product.”

One of the software engineering projects is a retinoscopy simulator: “A retinoscope is an instrument that allows optometrists to obtain an objective measurement of the refractive error of the eyes of a patient. Retinoscopy, the use of a retinoscope, is subject to human error. In the project, a simulator for retinoscopy is developed. The simulator is designed to help students overcome the steep learning curve of using a retinoscope and assess their performance. The project aims to improve on current teaching methods of retinoscopy by using an interactive, all-in-one, software system.”

Software engineering students will have their turn at the display space in Davis on Monday, from 10:30 to 5:00, with projects that include an autonomous robot to collect tennis balls, a hardware accelerated equity trading system optimized for a cross market strategy and an adaptive feed-forward controlled electro-acoustic system to reduce noise emanating from a range hood.

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[SUV on the berm]

That was the aftermath of a spectacular road accident during Wednesday morning's rush hour at the corner of University Avenue and Seagram Drive, the main entrance to campus. (The photo is by Giles Malet.) Dan Anderson, director of police and parking services, says the snowstorm that was in progress was likely a factor — but the not infrequent crashes at University and Seagram have other causes as well, including traffic congestion, vehicle speed, and pedestrians who can't be bothered to follow red and green signals. Any redesign of the intersection isn't likely to be considered until after municipal authorities make a decision about a possible Light Rapid Transit line near campus, he added.

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Alzheimer forum will break new ground

a news release from the media relations office

People with dementia will break the silence and talk candidly about the fear, stigma, challenges and triumphs of living with memory loss at an interactive forum being held in conjunction with the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Toronto this weekend.

A Changing Melody brings together people with early stage dementia, their families, friends, health care professionals and other care partners to share and learn with and from each other. The forum tomorrow provides resources and support for making informed decisions about how to better live with dementia. Session topics include coping with stigma and fear; adapting to change so as to enhance well-being; enabling persons with dementia; creating strong partnerships in dementia care.

"Seeing how people respond to what they hear and learn from others is incredibly satisfying," said Lynn Jackson, a planning committee member who is living with dementia. "In the past some have decided to become advocates themselves for the cause. This is so inspirational — a true testament to what a person can do even with a diagnosis of early dementia."

A Changing Melody is hosted by the university’s Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program, in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Alzheimer Societies in Ontario, and the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International.

The Kenneth G. Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program is a major division of Waterloo’s Schlegel-UW Research Institute of Aging. Based in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, MAREP is an innovative program that “adopts an authentic partnership approach and integrates research and educational activities in an effort to improve dementia care practices in Canada and beyond. Its goal is to enhance the ability of all involved in dementia care, including persons with dementia, their family partners in care, and professional care partners, to respond to the needs of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and ultimately improve the quality of life of all those experiencing dementia.”

"People with dementia, family members and professionals experience personal transformations by interacting together at the forum. It is that powerful," said Sherry Dupuis, director of MAREP. "We are all changed people when we leave the event."

A Changing Melody will involve presenters and participants from across Canada and around the globe. Featured speakers include Australian author Christine Bryden, who was just 46 and a single mother of three when she was diagnosed with dementia. She will share her insights about the 16-year roller coaster of her life since diagnosis and her continuing struggle to live well with the disease. Also on the day’s agenda is a theatre performance, "You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello," that addresses the negative stereotypes about the disease and recasts the long goodbye of Alzheimer's as the long hello of profound and new understandings.

A Changing Melody will be broadcast live for people who can’t attend. There’s more information online about tomorrow’s symposium and about the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International — an international federation of more than 70 Alzheimer associations.

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[Ray on the ice]Hockey note and a busy weekend

Warrior men's hockey captain Chris Ray (right) is this year’s recipient of the R.W. Pugh Award as the nation’s most sportsmanlike hockey player, Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Wednesday. Ray was also named a second-team all-Canadian for the second straight season; teammate Kyle Sonnenburg also earned a second-team spot. Ray becomes the first Warrior to receive the Pugh Award since its inception in 1986. In his fourth season with the Warriors, Ray led Waterloo in scoring for the third consecutive year while racking up only 18 penalty minutes. He also helped Canada claim a bronze medal at the Winter Universiade in Turkey. The environment and business student has earned Academic All-Canadian status every year since he joined the Warriors after winning the 2004 Memorial Cup with the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. Ray has attended NHL camps with Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Phoenix. "Chris plays a pivotal role in all situations,” says Warrior head coach Brian Bourque. “He is our captain and competes as hard as any player in the league, game in and game out, which has made him an outstanding leader for our younger players." The announcement came as the national hockey championship tournament began in Fredericton, with six teams, not including the Warriors, vying for medals.

Excitement will be at fever pitch in the Physical Activities Complex today and tomorrow, as 29 high school teams compete in a regional contest of the FIRST Robotics Competition, and audiences cheer them on — it’s great family entertainment. "Through FIRST, kids realize that building a robot can be fun and cool,” said Rob Gorbet, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “It gives them very real role models, from outside the worlds of professional sports and entertainment.” The high-tech competition involves brainstorming, teamwork and mentoring. Referees oversee the contest and judges give awards for design, technology, sportsmanship and commitment. This year's game, called LOGO Motion, is played with inflatable tubes in square, triangular, and circular shapes — the shapes of the FIRST logo. In teams of three, each robot will try to organize the shapes into the FIRST logo in order to score points. At the end of the two-minute match, robots will deploy an independent pole-climbing "mini-robot" and will get bonus points for mini-robots which reach the top of the pole. In spite of a lack of weapons, games are fast-paced and competitive. Winners will go on to the world finals in St. Louis in late April.

The much-publicized Earth Hour, when people are urged to stop using electricity, is scheduled for Saturday night, and the student-run UW Sustainability Project has big plans, according to a memo from organizer Cheryll Paranaque: “Please join UWSP and Warrior Weekends on Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 12 midnight in the Student Life Centre for an evening of fun and games while raising awareness for change. The hour of darkness will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. It will continue to be a call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world — a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the global journey to a sustainable future. Events include performances (improv, hip-hop, acoustic singers, drummers and more), bake sale, hennas, arts and crafts, tie-dye, face painting, movies and more! Sign up for our Eco Scavenger Hunt (up to 5 students) to win amazing prizes. It’s going to be a great night — a great way to come together and to show UW’s united commitment to protecting the environment while raising awareness of environmental issues all across the globe. Turn off your lights for one hour and make a difference!”

The effects and impact of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami will be explored by a panel of experts in a public talk Monday evening. The program, entitled The Great 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, will focus on various aspects of the disaster and will be presented by dean of arts Ken Coates (“Earthquakes and tsunamis in Japanese history and culture”); Alan Morgan, earth and environmental sciences professor (“Why is Japan so prone to earthquakes and tsunamis?”); Steve Evans, earth and environmental sciences(“Overview of the 2011 disaster”); Carin Holroyd, political science (“Economic and political impact”); Richard Kelly, geography and environmental management (“Satellite observations of the disaster”); and Jatin Nathwani, civil and environmental engineering (“Nuclear safety issues”). "It is wonderful to see that the University of Waterloo is engaging in discussions about the crisis," says Mamiko Noguchi, an applied health sciences student who is from Japan. "This lecture will help educate the public on details surrounding one of the worst disasters in recent Japanese history." The event starts at 7:00 Monday evening in CEIT building room 1015; registration is by e-mail, scienceevents@, or phone ext. 31083.

And . . . here's a reminder that nomination deadlines are approaching for a number of positions in the complicated governance of this university:

  • Staff representatives on the nominating committees for the next dean of science and dean of engineering (deadline April 1).
  • A total of 12 faculty seats and two graduate student seats on the university senate.
  • A staff representative on the board of governors.

Details are on the secretariat's web site.


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Link of the day

Feast of the Annunciation

When and where

Student Conference on International Development: “Taking More than Pictures: Conversations About Volunteerism” 10:00 to 4:00, St. Paul’s U College, keynote speaker Christal Earle of Absolute Leadership Development Inc., free. Register.

Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks on “Ontario’s Plan for Jobs and Growth” at luncheon sponsored by Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce and Waterloo Stratford campus, 11:30, Festival Inn, Stratford, tickets 519-273-5250.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Yogendra Yadav, New Delhi, “The Rise of State-Nations” 12:30, 57 Erb Street West.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Darren Meister, University of Western Ontario, “How Integrative Thinking Gets You in Trouble and Valued” 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002.

Philosophy colloquium: Monique Deveaux, University of Guelph, “When Is Sufficiency Not Enough?” 3:30, Humanities room 373.

St. Jerome's University Gala ("dinner, dancing and dedications"), 6:00, Three Bridges Banquet Hall, tickets from students' union.

A cappella end-of-term concerts featuring AcaBellas, Unaccompanied Minors, Water Boys, UW Ensemble, tonight and Saturday 7:30, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $5 at Federation of Students office or at the door.

Southern Ontario Student  Chemistry Conference Saturday at Waterloo. Details.

Library extended hours during exam season: March 27 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.

CPR-a-thon organized by Campus Response Team, Monday 11:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre great hall, fund-raiser for Doctors Without Borders.

End-of-term barbecue sponsored by Federation of Students, free burgers and hot dogs, Monday-Tuesday 12:00, Student Life Centre courtyard.

Career workshop: “Successfully Negotiating Academic Job Offers” Monday 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Details.

Recitals by music students Monday-Wednesday 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, free admission.

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

Women and engineering forum Monday 5:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 112.

‘Iron Will’ stage play about Canadian students in Haiti, presented by Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Monday 7:30, Humanities Theatre. Details.

Grand River Transit open house about service improvements, Tuesday 4 to 8 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301. Details.

Hug Me fund-raiser for Sick Children’s Hospital (attempt to break world record for most hugs in an hour) March 31, 12:00, Student Life Centre.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting March 31, 5:00, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo spring concert, “Jupiter & Co.”, music by Dvorak, Bartok, Wagner, March 31, 8:00, Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Poet and songwriter Dawud Wharnsby live concert, “bridging nations and tribes”, presented by Studies in Islam program, April 1, 8:00, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $10 (students $5) at Humanities box office.

Last day of classes for the winter term Monday, April 4.

Board of governors April 5, 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Annual staff conference April 6-7, Humanities Theatre and nearby classrooms. Details.

‘52 Jobs in 52 Weeks’ author Sean Aiken speaks on “Discover Your Passion” April 6, 2:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Town hall meeting for faculty and staff with president and vice-presidents, April 11, 3:00, Humanities Theatre; submit questions by e-mail to townhall@

One click away

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Leader named for regional arts and culture organization
Prof writes in Globe and Mail about ‘our nuclear narrative’
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‘(Liberal) Academic Self-Selection’

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