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Friday, February 17, 2012

  • CERC chairholders do some fast talking...
  • ...while Laflamme talks quantum leadership
  • What's on in Vancouver this long weekend
  • Treat-a-Gram results are in
  • Family Day kicks off Reading Week
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Phillipe van Cappellen and David Cory at the CERC event on Wednesday. CERC chairholders do some fast talking...

by Stacey Ash, Communications Officer

Watersheds and quantum mechanics were the focus of five-minute Pecha Kucha-style lectures by Faculty of Science professors Philippe Van Cappellen (left) and David Cory (right). The pair, two of only 18 Canada Excellence Research Chairs, were among a group of 13 scientists participating in the quick, informal lecture series at the University of British Columbia-Robson Square in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday, in advance of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting that is running until Sunday, February 20.

Attracting the world’s best and brightest researchers to Canadian universities was the goal of the Canadian government when it announced the Canada Excellence Research Chairs in 2008, and named its first chairs in 2010, said Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institute for Health Research.

Two years into the program, he said, Canada’s reputation as a global leader in research and innovation has already improved.

“The topics discussed here today actually reflect the emerging challenges faced by our society,” Alain Beaudet said.

Climate change and human impacts are having a very real effect on watersheds around the world, said Van Cappellen, who holds the chair for ecohydrology. combining the science of living systems and the science of water.

“I don’t think it’s possible to overemphasize the importance of water for humans… but it’s important to realize we’re not the only ones who need water.”

His research aims in part to balance the need for clean water with protecting vulnerable ecosystems. Studies range from those done at a molecular level in University of Waterloo laboratories, to larger-scale ecosystem research. The Grand River watershed offers an ideal living laboratory, where researchers can study real human impact and extreme hydrological events.

Cory, who holds the chair for quantum information processing, is also seeing the results in his research that aims to bring quantum computing from tightly-controlled laboratory settings into more practical use.

“When we can engineer devices to operate uniquely by the laws of quantum mechanics, then we reach the highest efficiencies possible,” he said.

“Today, it’s not quite out of the lab, but it’s getting very close.”

Beaudet said 10 additional Canada Excellence Research Chairs are to be announced this fall. Three will be in the area of digital economy – an area where Waterloo is a national leader.

Photo by Brittany Stacey

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...while Laflamme talks quantum leadership

by Stacey Ash, Communications Officer

Dr. Raymond Laflamme.Dr. Raymond Laflamme (left), director of the Institute for Quantum Computing, appeared later at the same venue, speaking about the state of quantum computing in Canada as part of a dialogue series sponsored by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Waterloo is recognized as Canada’s quantum leader, Laflamme said in his Vancouver lecture Wednesday.

Asked what led to Waterloo’s dominance in the field, the IQC director credited RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis for first having the vision, and then putting in place the people and the infrastructure to make quantum research a priority.

Like classical computing in the 1940s and ‘50s, the world is just beginning to understand quantum computing, Laflamme said.

“I think it is something that is changing the way that we will perceive and understand reality,” he said.

Mastering quantum mechanics will change the way the world works, the same way harnessing elements like fire led to massive social change, he said.

“By harnessing curiosity and focusing it on certain things we can get ahead and do things better.”

He invited those attending the lecture to see Waterloo’s research excellence first-hand, at the grand opening of the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre in September.

Laflamme is scheduled to take part in two panel discussions at the AAAS over the weekend, and will be named a fellow of the academy at an event on Saturday.

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What's on in Vancouver this weekend

The AAAS annual meeting continues with events over the weekend.

Raymond Laflamme will be receiving an AAAS fellowship at the invite-only Fellows Forum breakfast event at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Awarded in five program areas, the fellowships engage scientists and engineers in policy-making. Later in the day he will be giving a lecture entitled Quantum Information Science and Technology: A Global Perspective.

The Waterloo Global Science Initiative's Equinox Blueprint will be launched on Sunday with an afternoon panel discussion entitled "Low-Carbon Innovation for an Electricity-Dependent World". The launch symposium features introductory remarks by Feridun Hamdullahpur and a panel discussion with Jatin Nathwani, executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy and an Ontario Research Chair, Jason Blackstock, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and Lauren Riga of Valparaiso University in Gary, Indiana, with Cosmos Magazine's Wilson da Silva moderating. The document is based on a multinational, interdisciplinary collaboration in June 2011 that brought together pioneering scientists, policy advisors, entrepreneurs and future leaders.

Also on Sunday, Thomas Jennewein of the IQC will participate in a panel discussion called Quantum Information Technologies: A New Era for Global Communication. Raymond Laflamme will moderate.

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Feridun Hamdullahpur with Keystone volunteers.
Treat-a-Gram results are in

by Dipali Batabyal, Development Officer, family campaign and special projects

The 8th annual Treat-a-Gram program hit record highs again this year. The helping hands of more than 100 volunteers made this year’s assembly and delivery of 2596 treats possible, raising $5387.96 for undergraduate and graduate senate scholarships.

Even Waterloo President, Feridun Hamdullahpur, (above, with accounting and financial management student Saveena Atwal and the Centre for Teaching Excellence's Darlene Radicioni) got in on the action, helping to package the treats the morning of February 14th. The Treat-a-Gram promotion is part of the Keystone Campaign, Waterloo’s staff, faculty and retiree annual giving program that raises funds to support student scholarships and special projects on campus, along with strengthening university community spirit.

A big ‘thank you’ goes out to Food Services and Central Stores for their hard work, as well as the University Club and Retail Services for sponsoring the golden ticket prizes. Of course, sincere thanks also go to those amazing volunteers who made the coordination and delivery possible.

Photo by Dipali Batabyal

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Family Day kicks off Reading Week

This weekend is a long one, with the university closed for Family Day on Monday, February 20. In typical holiday fashion, a number of university services will be closed Monday, including Retail Services. The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield will be closed as well. (They’re open from 11 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday, and regular hours from Tuesday on.) The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open normal hours on Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday.

As always, even on holidays, the university police (519-888-4911) will be at work, the Student Life Centre (519–888-4434) will be open, and the central plant will monitor campus buildings (maintenance emergencies, ext. 33793).

Of course, Monday also marks the beginning Reading Week, which means there will be no classes next week. Waterloo's offices and services will be open, more or less as usual, Tuesday through Friday, which are regular working days for university employees. Retail services notes that most of its stores will be open the usual 9-to-5 hours, with the exception of E Smart in South Campus Hall and the Media.doc locations in the Dana Porter Library and EIT. Most food services outlets will be open during reading week, some with modified hours of operation.

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Link of the day

Memorable Day for Libya

When and where

Pension and Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, February 17, 8:30 a.m., NH 3004.

Senate Finance Committee meeting, Friday, February 17, 1:00 p.m., NH 3004.

Sawatsky lecture with Professor Julia Spicher Kasdorf Friday, February 17, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel. Details.

Warrior sports this weekend: Figure skating at OUA Championships Friday, 12:00 p.m., women’s curling at Lakehead Friday, 8:30 a.m., at Queen’s 3:30 p.m., at Guelph Saturday, 12:00 p.m., at McMaster, 7:00 p.m., at Brock Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Men’s curling at Carleton Friday, 12:00 p.m., at Queen’s Saturday, 8:30 a.m., at Trent, 3:30 p.m., at UOIT Sunday, 8:30 a.m. Men’s hockey at Brock Friday, 7:15 p.m., at Brock Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Track at Hal Brown Last Chance Meet Friday, TBD. Women’s Basketball at Brock Saturday, 1:00 p.m. Men’s Basketball at Brock Saturday, 3:00 p.m. Men’s volleyball at Windsor Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Family Day holiday Monday, February 20, university closed.

Reading Week, February 20 to 24.

Deadline for 50 per cent tuition refund, Tuesday, February 21.

Alumni and Friends Reception at the IEEE 2012 ISSCC, Tuesday, February 21, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5:30 p.m.

Global Business and Digital Arts Family Night at the Stratford Campus, Tuesday, February 21, 6:00 p.m., Stratford City Hall Auditorium.

"Your 3-Pound Thinking Machine" featuring professor Jeff Orchard, Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., Mathematics 3 room 1006. Presented by the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

Digital Media Lecture: Blogging Pains, Wednesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Lunch 'N Learn event hosted by the Education Credit Union, featuring Alan Wintrip, Chartered Accountant, Thursday, February 23, 12:05 p.m., DC 1302. Sandwiches and beverages provided.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, February 23, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Chemical Engineering seminar, featuring the University of Ottawa's Marc Dube, "How to Make 'Green' Even 'Greener" - from Biodiesel to Polymer," Thursday, February 23, 3:30 p.m., E6 2024.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "Excel in your career: Senior hiring managers share their secrets," Thursday, February 23, 4:30 p.m., TC 1208. Details.

Alumni event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, Thursday, February 23, 6:30 p.m. Details.

Hagey Bonspiel (40th annual) for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Saturday, February 25, 8:30 to 4:30, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

University of Waterloo Brain Bee, Saturday, February 25, 9:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., LHI 1621.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel U College, “Creating Home” concert February 25 (8 p.m.) and 26 (3 p.m.), St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener. Details.

University senate Monday, February 27, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Project Ploughshares 35th anniversary celebration, Monday, February 27, 7:00 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. W., Waterloo, RSVP and more information: Debbie Hughes, dhughes@, or 519-888-6541 x702.

Mid-Cycle Review Campus Update, Wednesday, February 29, 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Mexican Night at REVelation, Wednesday, February 29, 4:30 p.m.

uWaterloo Sun Life lecture series featuring Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators Group Limited, "Managing Risk in an Increasingly Unmanageable World," Thursday, March 1, 4:30 p.m., SAF Hagey Hall Room 1108.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "Re-frame your retirement," Friday, March 2, 2:00 p.m., TC 2218. Details.

Knowledge Integration Seminar featuring David Goodwin, Research Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), Friday, March 2, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's room 105.

19th Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Helen Longino of Stanford University, "The Sociality of Scientific Knowledge: not just an Academic Question", Friday, March 2, 3:30 p.m., HH 334.

I2E Startathon, Friday, March 2, 5:00 p.m., Mathematics 3. Details.

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