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Monday, June 4, 2012

  • A coda for Congress 2012
  • Auto researchers receive funding
  • Commuter challenge underway and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

A coda for Congress 2012

Congress 2012 has come and gone, with hundreds more delegates than expected and a number of events that were jammed with capacity crowds over the eight conference days.

To recap: Congress 2012 kicked off with a major funding announcement from the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology: $70 million for projects funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

The Congress’ marquee events, the “Big Thinking” lectures, featured such notable speakers as Margaret Atwood, Chris Hedges, Don Tapscott, Jane Urquhart, and Thomas Homer-Dixon, and were also streamed live from Congress to hundreds of online viewers. The first Big Thinking lecture was a moving call for more collaboration between universities and communities from His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. Most of the lectures can be viewed on the CFHSS's YouTube channel.

More than 80 exhibitors participated in Congress, as well as nearly 70 associations encompassing the social sciences and humanities—disciplines including literature, theatre, sociology, geography, education, population studies, and much more.

A documentary film crew filmed all aspects of Congress 2012, and interviewed speakers, delegates, organizers and volunteers alike.

“This year’s Congress was a true tour de force,” said Graham Carr, President of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, organizers of Congress. “We couldn’t have done it without the phenomenal hospitality of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, and the people of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, who welcomed Congress delegates for the week.”

And here's a final message from Congress 2012 academic co-convenor, James Skidmore:

"7,500 delegates. 631 volunteers. Two very proud and happy universities, and one ecstatic Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. That’s the net result of Congress 2012, which drew to a close on Saturday.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work of a core group of staff whose jobs – and lives – were taken over by Congress 2012. On behalf of President Feridun Hamdullahpur and Congress Co-Chair and Dean of Arts Doug Peers, I’d like to offer sincere thanks to the following individuals:

To the hundreds of student, staff, and faculty volunteers – an amazing job! Delegate after delegate remarked how kind and helpful everyone was.

To the staff of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences who settled in Waterloo for over a week: Graham Carr, Jean-Marc Mangin, Alison Hebbs, Alison Faulknor, Jessica Gustafson, Mara Juneau, Donna LeLièvre, Ann Miller, Gabrielle Etcheverry, Jessica Clark, Milena Stanoeva, Karen Rees, and all of your other employees. You folks sure know how to put on a wonderful conference.

To Police and Parking Services: Dan Anderson, Sharon Rumpel, Ed Danhousen, Alan Binns, and all the constables who provided security and a friendly welcome at the Beer Tent.

To Food and Conference Services: Lee Elkas, Rex Coffin, Rob Sexton, Daniel Lemay, Roland Lynn, Wilma Balvert, Simon Chan, Mike Carbage, Karen Majaury, Erika Larocque, Nick Fuller, Phil Bland, Susanne Keppler, Carlie Wardell, Shannon Moir, Amanda Reinhart, Brittany Shields, Timothy Bettino, Jacklyn Chung, Tashrif Alam, Katie Rehkopf. The food was first-rate, and everyone who needed a bed got one!

To Plant Operations: Tom Galloway, Nelson Carillos, and the entire staff who made the campus look great, installed all the signs, and cleaned up the garbage.

To Central Stores: Stan "Butch" Shantz and his team who managed all the classroom and venue setups teardowns, and last-minute setup requests, in the process moving countless tables and chairs.

To IST and ITMS: Andrea Chappell, Dwight Schmidt, Tammi Beaulieu, Michael Davenport, Marcel David, Derek Madge, Doug Sutherland, Rick denBroeder, Randy Boehm, Scott Charles, Dianne Naughton, Alan Kirker. You handled crises big and small with aplomb, made sure all of our guests had access to internet services, and did a wonderful job live streaming the Big Thinking lectures held at Waterloo.

To the Registrar’s Office: Ken Lavigne, Charlene Schumm, Tanya Pompilio, and Ann Wendt: without your great work we wouldn’t have had any rooms for the associations to meet!

To Retail Services and its manager, May Yan, for keeping their locations open as a convenience for delegates.

To the Library: Mark Haslett, Susan Routliffe, and especially Nancy Collins, for extending its hours and being a refuge to all delegates during Congress.

To the Waterloo organizers of the Congress Career Corner: Kerry Mahoney, Elisabeth Adrian, Svitlana Taraban-Gordon, Trevor Holmes, Donna Ellis. You and your workshop leaders/panelists helped graduate students gain a little more confidence as they face a tough job market.

To all those from Student Success, the Federation of Students, and Housing involved in coordinating volunteers and special events: Jessica Bondy, Kathryn Christie, Nga Tran, Chinye Osamusali, Samantha Wiebe, Katie Eley, Laura McLellan, Jane Kolb, Gabrielle Smith. The volunteers were amazing, and the Presidents’ Receptions and ConnecTent were enjoyed by all who attended.

To Communications and Public Affairs: Ellen Réthoré, Mellissa McDonald, Stacey Ash, Pamela Smyth, Brittany Stacey, Karen Mason, Julie Millard, Shelley Grandy, Karen Kawawada (now in Environment) Brandon Sweet, and Aaron Miller: You’ve provided fantastic support, great ideas, and wonderful dancing partners throughout this process.

To staff in the Faculty of Arts: Wendy Philpott, Angela Roorda, Sherilee Diebold-Cooze, Lynne Jelokhani-Niaraki, Xing Liao, and Janet Vaughan, and all the volunteers at the Waterloo booth at the Congress Expo: you all helped whenever asked, and you were asked often!

To our partners and counterparts from Wilfrid Laurier University: Ryan Lloyd Craig, Megan Malcolmson, David Playfair, Susan Mackenzie, Gary Wagner, James Emary, Cam Terry, Heather Matlashewski, Yolanta Difelice, Meg Wiles, Lori Chalmers Morrison, Kevin Crowley, Ryan Lannan, Sue Dawson. It was a pleasure getting to know you and work together for a common goal. We should do that more often.

And finally to Congress Central Command, the folks who brought the vision to life: Eleanor Ty, Laura Davey, Chinye Osamusali, Dan Dawson, and Sheldon Pereira. The hundreds of hours were worth it. We did it!"

Congress 2013 will be hosted by the University of Victoria, and returns to Ontario in 2014 when Brock University plays host.

Finally, I received word from David John in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies that I missed announcing one of the awards handed out to Waterloo researchers during the Congress proceedings. James Skidmore, also of Germanic and Slavic Studies, and who has been working crazy hours as Congress academic co-convenor, received the prestigious GO (German Online) Award for his development of German 271/272, an "outstanding example of online teaching design, materials, and effective instruction in our field." So, on top of the congratulations for a Congress well done, congrats on your award, Skid!

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Auto researchers receive funding

with material from the Office of Research

A University of Waterloo researcher’s work developing a device that may help keep impaired drivers off the road got a boost last week with more than $1.2 million in funding.

Eihab Abdel-Rahman of Systems Design Engineering, leads a team working on a system of sensors that will detect, through hand movement on a steering wheel, whether a driver has any alcohol in his or her system. His goal is to create the technology for a product that not only detects the presence of alcohol, but also the driver’s blood-alcohol level. The project will be supported by researchers at universities across Canada, each of whom will also receive part of this funding which includes industry and in-kind contributions.

Three other Waterloo researchers lead projects that are receiving funding and will be supported by researchers at universities across Canada, each of whom will also receive part of the funding. Professor Richard Wells’ project received $225,806 to identify and reduce workplace fatigue among auto-sector workers. Professor Holger Kleinke’s research project into harvesting waste heat from exhaust and turning it into useful energy received $208,092. And Professor Behrad Khamesee’s $175,700 in funding will support his team’s work in the development of energy-harvesting shock absorbers that may improve vehicle comfort, stability and efficiency. The AUTO21 funding to all four projects totals almost $2 million, including industry funding and in-kind contributions.

The funding announced Wednesday, May 30, by The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology is part of a $22 million investment by the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence that includes contributions from Canada's automotive sector, including numerous automakers, parts manufacturers, and material suppliers. It will support 40 automotive R&D projects at Canadian universities for two years in partnership with more than 100 public and private sector companies.

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Commuter Challenge underway and other notes

by Mark Lisetto-Smith, Organization and Human Development (OHD)

As part of our commitment to being a community leader, the University of Waterloo will once again be participating in the 13th Annual Commuter Challenge in Waterloo Region from June 3 to June 9, 2012. This Challenge is a friendly competition between workplaces in Waterloo Region and is part of a greater effort among communities across Canada to reduce pollution and traffic congestion.

In support of this goal, it is the hope that University of Waterloo employees will participate in the Commuter Challenge by taking transit, biking, walking or carpooling to work. By making the switch from driving alone to one of the active and sustainable modes of transportation during the Commuter Challenge, you will be making a contribution to cleaner air and a healthier region. You will also personally benefit from a decrease in commuting costs and stress.

The Commuter Challenge is the perfect time to try new ways of commuting to work. On June 3 to June 9, bus, bike, walk or carpool to work and give our cars a spring vacation. As an added incentive, GRT is offering 2-for-1 Transit Tuesday on June 5, where two passengers can ride for the price of one.

Already do these actions? Great! You can still register and track your activities as part of the campus challenge. Looking for a fellow commuter? Check out Travel Wise Commute. To register, simply visit the Commuter Challenge website and register as an individual. When you register, you will be able to select the University of Waterloo from the list of employers.

If you have questions about this event, please contact Mark Lisetto-Smith, the University of Waterloo Commuter Challenge Co-ordinator.

The Faculty of Engineering has reported that Systems Design Engineering lab instructor Tariq Naqvi died on Tuesday, May 29. Naqvi worked in the Digital Systems lab and is remembered for his impact on students and community members alike.

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Link of the day

CANDU prototype joins electrical grid 50 years ago

Transit of Venus tomorrow

Tomorrow, the planet Venus will pass across the face of the sun, and the University of Waterloo is inviting the public to experience it with professors of physics and astronomy, students, and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

This exciting and rare phenomenon referred to as the transit of Venus last occurred in 2004. After it takes place on June 5, it will not happen again until 2117. The first visible transit is expected to occur at 6:03 p.m., and the second at 6:23 p.m.

Activities are planned from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the B.C. Matthews Hall green at the Waterloo campus. Waterloo physics professor Gretchen Harris will present a free public lecture in Arts and Lecture Hall 116 from 5:00 to 5:45 p.m. entitled, “Observing the Transits of Venus: Why and How Astronomers Risked Their Lives.”

Although the transit of Venus can be seen with an unaided eye, special precautions including the use of transit glasses are necessary to witness the event without injury to the eye from looking directly into the sun. Guests will receive free transit glasses while supplies last. They may also witness the event through solar telescopes and a live video feed. There will also be astronomers among the crowd to field any questions.

There are a limited number of tickets for this event. Please register online.

Although the lecture will take place rain or shine, severe cloud cover or rain may lead to the cancellation of the viewing portion. Please check the registration website after 9 a.m. on June 5 for updates.

For more information on the transit of Venus, please visit the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s transit of Venus site.

When and where

Waterloo Region Commuter Challenge, June 3 to 9. Details.

UWRC event, "Italy: A Journey to Italy with a sneak a peek into Medieval Times," Monday, June 4, 12 noon, NH 1116. Presented by Elena Cecchetto, University of Waterloo.

Math and Business round table discussion, "The Rise and Fall of Worldcom," Monday, June 4, 1:00 p.m., M3 3127. Details.

Senate Executive Committee meeting, Monday June 4, 3:30 p.m., NH 3004.

Board of governors Tuesday, June 5, 2:30 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA).

Transit of Venus viewing event, Tuesday, June 5, 5:00 p.m., BMH green. RSVP online or by emailing scienceevents@ Special transit viewing eyewear required (limited supply).

"Observing the Transits of Venus: Why and How Astronomers Risked Their Lives", Professor Gretchen Harris, Department of Physics & Astronomy, MC 2066, Tuesday, June 5, 5:00-5:45 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy presents Dr. Carlo Adamo, Chair of Theoretical Chemistry
Senior Member of Institute Universitaire de France (IUF), "Computational Chemistry and the Design of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells," Wednesday, June 6, 10:30 a.m., DC 1304.

Keystone Picnic "Waterloo World," Wednesday, June 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Burt Matthews Hall green, lunch served at 11:45 to 1:00 p.m.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) lecture series featuring Dr. S. Murthy Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 6, 5:00 p.m., CPH 4333. Refreshments served.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation brown bag lunch, Wednesday, June 6, 1:30 p.m., Communitech Hub Kitchener, P2P Meeting Room. Register today.

uW Chanchlani India Policy Centre presents Dr. Sucha Singh Gill, Director of the Centre for Rural and Industrial Development in Chandigarh, India, "Functioning of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in India: A Case Study of Punjab," Thursday, June 7, 2:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs room 143.

Chemical Engineering seminar featuring Laura A. Palomares, Insituto de Biotecnologia, Unversidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), “Viral Structural Proteins: From Vaccines to Nanotechnology,” Thursday, June 7, 3:30 p.m., E6-4022.

Keystone picnic event for evening staff, Friday, June 8, 6:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub, Student Life Centre.

22nd Annual Matthews Golf Classic, Monday, June 11, 2012, Grand Valley Golf Course, Cambridge
Volunteers needed for this sold out event. Contact Sheila Hurley at Ext. 33587 for further information.

Science awards luncheon, Tuesday, June 12, 12:00 p.m., University Club.

Master of Digital Experience Innovation student showcase, Tuesday, June 12, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus. Register today.

Chemical Engineering seminar featuring Xingcheng Xiao, Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Laboratory
General Motors Global R&D Center, Warren, MI, “Advanced Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries,” Thursday, June 14, 3:30 p.m., E6-4022. Coffee and donuts will be served at 3:20 p.m.

The Institute for Computer Research presents Professor Amir Khandani, RIM-NSERC Industrial Research Chair, Canada Research Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, “Shaping the Future of Wireless: Two-way Connectivity,” Friday, June 15, 2012, 2:00 p.m. DC 1302.

Friday's Daily Bulletin