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Thursday, October 6, 2005

  • Planning under way for UW's 50th
  • Midnight Sun record is official
  • Dress-down day tomorrow for United Way
  • Grad students will defend theses
Chris Redmond

Ig Nobel Prizes tonight | Nobels

[Inspecting exhibits on the balcony]

EinsteinFest continues at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in central Waterloo. Tonight at 7:00: Sandra Witelson of McMaster University speaks on "An Exploration of the Exceptional Brain of Albert Einstein". Displays and exhibits (the photo is from the opening last weekend) continue today and right through the Thanksgiving weekend, and there are family concerts and other special events -- details online.

Planning under way for UW's 50th

A year-long series of special events and the publication of a book about UW's history will be important features of UW's 50th anniversary, to be celebrated all through the year 2007.

A campus-wide committee met Monday to talk about broad directions for the celebration, and check a list of subcommittees that will get to work on programs, special events, historical commemorations, and other aspects of UW's 50th.

Some departments, such as athletics, are well along in their planning, the meeting heard. Laura Talbot-Allan, UW's vice-president (external affairs), who chairs the committee, said she'd like to encourage -- even "challenge" -- other units, including faculties and academic departments, to make plans for their own reunions and special events. (Units that are considering events are urged to get in touch with the program committee, who will be keeping track of activities across campus. That group is chaired by Lois Claxton, secretary of the university, and Bruce Mitchell, associate provost.)

Activities already scheduled, such as major lectures, will be enhanced to have a 50th anniversary flavour wherever possible.

The general theme of the anniversary is to be "Builders", with tentative plans to honour the many people who have helped make UW what it is over the decades. University historian Ken McLaughlin gave the meeting a quick preview of one project: a web site, based on research he's been coordinating, to tell the story of how computing developed at UW in the early years and helped to build the reputation of the young university. He's also working on a book about UW's history, "strongly interpretive" and rich with pictures, that will be launched in April 2007 at one of the major anniversary events.

A major athletics reunion is scheduled for late June, there will be celebrations in October just as Campaign Waterloo is winding up, and the anniversary will wind up with "Tea with the President" in December. Among other big events, Canada Day on July 1 -- UW's exact birthday -- will be a joint celebration with the city of Waterloo, which is marking its 150th anniversary at the same time.

Planning for the 50th anniversary has been going on behind the scenes for the past two years (actually longer, as there was a preliminary 50th anniversary meeting in 1999, right after the 40th wound up). Monday's meeting, attended by about two dozen people from such areas as development, co-op education and career services, retail services, staff and student organizations, and the faculties, was the third for the campus-wide planning group. A smaller steering committee consists of Talbot-Allan, Claxton, Mitchell, McLaughlin, and UW special collections librarian Susan Bellingham.

A job for a 50th anniversary coordinator is likely to be posted in the next few days.

Sandford Fleming Foundation technical speaker competition for engineering students, faculty-wide competition 10:00, Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Faculty of education talks from Canadian institutions, 10:30 to 5:30, Tatham Centre, information from career services.

'Online resources for new faculty' presentation by Mark Morton, Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, 12:00, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library, registration online.

'Study Skills: Preparing for Midterms' workshop sponsored by counselling services, 12 noon, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Career workshop: "Business Etiquette and Professionalism", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Poverty in Africa discussion at weekly Forum for Independent Thought meeting, 5:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Aboriginal issues lecture: Kathleen Lickers, lawyer in private practice at Six Nations, "Resolving Aboriginal Land Issues in Contemporary Times", 7:00, St. Paul's College.

Warrior women's volleyball vs. St. Francis Xavier, 7:00, Physical Activities Complex. Warrior golfers at the Western Invitational today; men's volleyball Warriors at Western (exhibition).

Math Society movie night: "Independence Day" 7:00, "War of the Worlds" 9;30, $2 for both, Math and Computer room 2065.

Arriscraft lecture, school of architecture: Gilles Saucier of Montréal on his recent work, 7:00, Architecture lecture hall.

Faculty of Arts Lecture: Herb Lefcourt, distinguished professor emeritus, psychology, "What Sense Is There in Having a Sense of Humour?" Friday 12 noon, Theatre of the Arts, free.

Voting closes in the election of a staff representative to the UW board of governors, Friday 3:00.

TVOntario 'Big Ideas' begins broadcasts of the "Best Lecturer Competition" Saturday 1:00; Michael Higgins, St. Jerome's University, appears October 15.

'Competing Against America': Author Michael Alexander "discusses why Canada has fallen behind in the race for talent and wealth", Wednesday, October 12, 7 p.m., Architecture building, sponsored by UW bookstore.

Midnight Sun record is official -- from the UW media relations office

UW's Midnight Sun Solar Race Car Team received an official certificate this week ratifying the team for the Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled by a solar-powered vehicle. The ratification has come almost a year after Midnight Sun VII crossed the finish line outside Carl Pollock Hall, ending its 40-day tour across North America.

"The team's record currently stands at 15,079 km," said Cameron Bruce, current project manager of the Midnight Sun team. "There was a lot effort put into this car from students who helped design, build, maintain and accompany the car, as well as those who cheered us on from home, along with our sponsors and supporters.

"This certificate is a great achievement both for our team and the university and helps demonstrate the true potential of Waterloo students."

The tour began August 7, 2004, when the car and its support vehicles set off from the UW campus travelling through Western Canada to Vancouver, then following the western seaboard of the United States to Blythe, California, where it broke Queen's University's previous record. The car continued along the southern states to Tennessee, where it shifted to a northeastern course, crossing the border into New Brunswick and finally turning around to drive home.

The tour saw the car brave the sun, high and low temperatures, torrential downpours, vast stretches of desert, mountains, plains and a slew of technical issues, all of which the team was able to resolve. Despite these hardships, the tour was an incredible journey for everyone involved, says Bruce, as it gave them an opportunity to travel across North America interacting with the thousands of people who came to see the car.

Even more remarkable was the immense support that the team welcomed from community members, who graciously donated smiles and homes. "No matter where we were, we were welcomed like familiar friends," says Daniel Yum, past project manager of the team.

Bruce added: "This record does a lot in terms of promoting the real potential that lies in the usage of alternate power sources. We have created a car that can circle the continent, but this is just the beginning. There is so much more that can be done to create greener ways of living and our mandate is create awareness of this fact."

Looking ahead, Bruce said: "As we begin working on our next generation car, Midnight Sun IX, we hope to take from MSVII's achievement and MSVIII's recent success at the North American Solar Challenge 2005, and build a car that exceeds all expectations."

Dress-down day tomorrow for United Way

Tomorrow is designated the first "dress-down day" of this year's United Way campaign on campus, a fund-raiser and consciousness-raiser as volunteers work on finding $165,000 in cash and pledges for local agencies.

"Toonie donations" are especially welcome tomorrow. But the heart of the campaign is the pledge forms that were sent to all staff and faculty members over the past few says.

Special events also make their contribution, and today begins the customary "silent auction" in the civil engineering department. "In the auction," department secretary Sandra Machan writes, "are stuffed animals, UW T-shirt, homemade preserves, fall wall hanging, hand made pottery, gift certificates, wine, cheese trays and many other items." Bidding is in Engineering II room 2336, and ends at noon tomorrow.

Machan writes: "We are also selling tickets for a draw for a Fall Colour Flight Tour to the Beaver Valley/Haliburton area. The flight was donated and will be piloted by Professor Bill Annable. The draw takes place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are available from any of the civil engineering administrative staff."

Grad students will defend theses

Here's the latest list of graduate students who are facing the last hurdle before the doctorate -- defending their PhD theses.

Chemical engineering. Mazda Biglari, "Bacterial Oxidation of Sulfide Containing Waste Rock." Supervisors, J. M. Scharer and R. V. Nicholson. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, October 14, 10:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

Planning. Kyle Whitfield, "Health Service Planning with Individuals with Dementia: Toward a Model of Inclusion." Supervisor, Susan Wismer. On display in the faculty of environmental studies, ES 1 room 335. Oral defence Monday, October 17, 10 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Physics. Hideo Imamura, "Minimal Model for the Secondary Structures and Conformational Conversion in Proteins." Supervisor, Z. Y. Chen. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, October 20, 10 a.m., Physics room 352.

Chemistry. Jeffrey Donald Kent, "Synthesis and Chemistry of Indole Derivatives elated to Antitumour Antibiotic FR-900482." Supervisor, G. I. Dmitrienko. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, October 20, 1:30 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Systems design engineering. Andrew Michael Hamilton-Wright, "Transparent Decision Support Using Statistical Evidence." Supervisor, D. Stashuk. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, November 11, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 1307C.


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