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Thursday, April 4, 2013



  • Paul Thagard wins Killam Prize
  • Housing and Residences: Space is the Place
  • The windier, the better for research group


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Paul Thagard wins Killam Prize

Paul Thagard.A University of Waterloo professor who creates computer models of human emotions and consciousness has won a coveted 2013 Killam Prize.

Professor Paul Thagard of the Department of Philosophy is the director of the cognitive science program at Waterloo. His research examines the implications of how feeling influence our decisions.

Thagard joins other international authorities and pioneers in the fields of vaccinology, conflict resolution, computational intelligence, and earth sciences who were named yesterday as recipients of the 2013 Killam Prizes, Canada's leading award for career achievement in the fields of humanities, health sciences, social sciences, engineering, and natural sciences. Every year, one winner from each category is recognized for outstanding career achievement. Thagard's prize is in the humanities category.

"Philosophical questions are really important and must be tied into real-world problems," said Thagard. "With any kind of science or social policy, you have to look at the philosophical issues and be concerned with questions of right and wrong. For example, besides establishing facts about climate change, we must examine why we should care and what we ought to do."

As a feature story on the university's homepage puts it, "with a PhD in philosophy, Thagard believes that better answers to age-old questions about knowledge, reality and morality can be achieved by applying scientific principles to research. Encounters with cognitive scientists at the University of Michigan led him to pursue a Master's degree in computer science, allowing him to build his own computer models of the human brain."

The Killam Prize includes an award of $100,000, which Thagard will reinvest in his work.

"Professor Thagard is a pioneer in his field, blending computer science, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology," said President Feridun Hamdullahpur. "He is a globally recognized leader. The university community appreciates his noteworthy contributions to academic and research excellence and congratulates him on the recognition of his impressive body of work."

Thagard is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Cognitive Science Society, and won the 2007 Canada Council Molson Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities. He teaches graduate and undergraduate students at Waterloo and is a prolific author.

Another one of the winners announced yesterday has a Waterloo connection: Professor John C. McGarry, recognized as "one of the world's top authorities on power-sharing, federalism, and conflict resolution" who won the prize in the social sciences category, was a professor in the University of Waterloo's department of political science in the late 1990s before moving to Queen's University in 2002.

The Canada Council for the Arts administers the prizes, which were established in 1981 with a donation by Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in memory of her husband Izaak Walton Killam.

An awards ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall later this month.

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Housing and Residences: Space is the Place

by Sabrina Hutchinson, Housing and Residences.

As staff working on campus, we know how important our connections with students are. No matter what area on campus you work in, you will connect with and help our students in one way or another.

In some cases, you may even be fortunate enough to interact with them frequently and have some great conversations with them – everything from directions around campus to helping them through milestones. In all cases, it’s important to know the support services and resources available to these students right here on our campus.

One of those great resources is the department of Housing and Residences. This department provides on-campus housing not only for first years, but all upper years, exchange students, graduate students and students with families too – we’ve got them all covered!

In residence, students have access to extensive support such as tutoring and counseling based in the residence buildings, leadership opportunities, Living-Learning Communities, employment options and so much more. Residence isn’t just a first-year experience – it’s a unique, fun, engaging, and supportive environment for all students throughout their university careers.

Right now, Waterloo Residences has the following spaces available and applications online:

The housing services on campus don’t stop there – we also have an Off-Campus Housing Office which provides an online listing service, free lease reviews and all sorts of other off-campus resources such as facilitating landlord or roommate issues.

Next time you are having one of those great conversations with a student and housing comes up; let them know what is right here on campus for them! No matter what the housing situation is, we are here to support all uWaterloo students and our office, located in the lower level of the SLC, should be their first stop for anything housing.

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The windier, the better for research group

The Wind Energy Group's turbine at the regional landfill."The Wind Energy Group in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering is quite happy when we get these windy, wintry days," writes Professor David Johnson. 

That's because they have a large turbine installation on regional land west of the Waterloo Waste Management landfill site on Erb St.  The turbine is connected to the electrical grid and feeds the energy it generates into the grid. 

"The last few days have been quite windy for our area and the turbine has been in peak operation," Johnson says. Over the last few days the research turbine has generated about as much power as a typical single family home uses in one month. 

Some of the research Wind Energy Group is doing includes measuring the acoustic emissions (noise) from turbines, changing the aerodynamics of the blades, increasing the power output of the turbine and monitoring the behaviour of the turbine during gusty, blustery days.

Most of the time, the turbine is visible from the landfill area but when the group is making changes, checking instruments and modifying the turbine, it disappears from view.   The turbine is somewhat unique in that it can be lowered to the ground for these changes to occur.

"Our turbine has a twin in the community of Kasabonika Lake, Ontario a remote fly-in community 600 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay where our research group has been participating in the project," writes Johnson. "The turbine, to be operational this summer, will offset diesel fuel based electrical generation."

Johnson leads the Wind Energy group, and his wind energy research is funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), NSERC and industry partners.

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Link of the day

Lady Be Good

When and where

Reading Series at St. Jerome's featuring Adam Dickinson, Thursday, April 4, 4:30 p.m., STJ 3014. Details.

Aftab Patla Memorial Cup Hockey Game, Thursday, April 4, 5:30 p.m., CIF. Details.

History Speakers Series featuring Phil Monture, "From Each Side of the Grand: The Six Nations of the Grand River and the Haldimand Treaty," Thursday, April 4, 7:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library Flex Lab, 3rd Floor. Details.

Orchestra@uwaterloo performance, "Arabian Nights," Thursday, April 4, 8:00 p.m., Hagey Hall. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence LITE Grant Info and Question/Answer session, Friday, April 5, 9:00 a.m., EV1 353.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Zoltán Mester, Group Leader Chemical Metrology, Institute for National Measurement Standards, NRC, Ottawa, “The role of Reference Materials in Trace Element Speciation”, Friday, April 5, 10:30 a.m., C2-361. Details.

Social Development Studies Research Roundtable featuring Dr. Rich Janzen, "Community Based Research and Social Development," Friday, April 5, 12:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison. Details.

Sakura Japanese School Open House, Saturday, April 6, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Details.

Lectures end Monday, April 8 (which uses a Friday class schedule).

Biomedical Seminar Series featuring Professor Brian Tighe, Aston University, UK, "Hydration and lubrication - Two important challenges for
biomaterials development," Monday, April 8, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Waterloo Brain Day, Tuesday, April 9, all day. Hosted by the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience. Details.

Retirement Open House for Ruth Hawes, Co-operative Education & Career Action. Wednesday, April 10, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tatham Centre, Room 2218. RSVP to Pat Graf, ext. 31927.

On-campus examinations begin Thursday, April 11.

Examination days for online courses, Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Details.

University of Waterloo Drama Department presents Lysistrata [After Dark] by Aristophanes, adapted and directed by Shaw Forgeron, Thursday, April 11 to Saturday, April 13, Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building.

Benjamin Eby Lecture with Leonard Enns, Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge, Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., MC 2017. Details.

WISE Lecture Series featuring Maurice B. Dusseault, Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, "How your energy world has changed...and will continue to change," Monday, April 15, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.

Apple 101, Wednesday, April 17, 12:00 p.m., Stratford Campus. Details.

Waterloo Lecture featuring Juliet's Dresses, Wednesday, April 17, 7:00 p.m., Stratford Public Library.

Retirement celebration for Edie Cardwell, Thursday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., School of Planning, EV3. Details. (PDF)

PhD Oral Defences

Computer Science. Alejandro Salinger, "Models for Parallel Computation in Multi-Core, Heterogenous, and Ultra Wide-World Architectures." Supervisors, Alejandro Lopez-Ortiz, Ian Munro. On display in the Mathematics graduate office, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 15, 9:30 a.m., DC 2585.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Kevin Walker, "Surface Geometry and the Haptic Rendering of Rigid Point." Supervisor, David Wang. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, April 15, 9:30 a.m., EIT 3142.

Computer Science. Carol Fung, "Design and Management of Collaborative Intrusion Detection Networks." Supervisor, Raouf Boutaba. On display in the Mathematics graduate office, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, April 15, 1:00 p.m., DC 2310.

French. Maria Petrescu, "L'image de la prison dans la litterature du 20e siecle en France et au Canada francais." Supervisor, Tara Collington. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2434. Oral defence Monday, April 15, 2:00 p.m., PAS 2438.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Xufang Zhang, "Efficient Computational Methods for Structural Reliability and Global Sensitivity Analyses." Supervisor, Mahesh Pandey. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, April 15, 2:00 p.m., E2 2348.


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