Friday, October 19, 2007

  • Forecast for Saturday: 1,500 degrees
  • Lecturers discuss oceans and cities
  • Digital art, creativity and kites
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs


The parking services office will be closed today because of staff illness, reopening Monday.

Plant operations staff will be painting various areas of Needles Hall during the weeks of October 22 and 29, and warns that "the odour of latex paint will be in the building."

Applications are still being accepted (through November 2) for spring 2008 positions as dons in the UW residences.

Link of the day

Sunday is Trafalgar Day

When and where

'City/Campus' fall conference of Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Friday-Saturday, Architecture building, 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge, details online.

Beehive Design Collective demonstration sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, 2:30 to 4:30, Student Life Centre.

Ian Campbell, principal emeritus of Renison College, funeral service 3 p.m., Erb & Good funeral home.

Warrior sports: Football vs. Western, Saturday 1 p.m., Stadium. • Men’s rugby vs. McMaster, Saturday 1 p.m., Columbia Fields. • Men’s hockey at Lakehead tonight and Saturday. • Women’s rugby, OUA semi-finals at Trent, today. • Men’s volleyball at Royal Military College tonight, at Queen’s Saturday. • Badminton at Toronto Saturday. • Women’s basketball at Alberta tournament Saturday. • Men’s basketball at Sheridan College Saturday night. • Cross-country at Brock open, Saturday. • Field hockey in tournament at London, Saturday. • Women’s hockey at York, Saturday. • Soccer (men and women) at Western Saturday, at Windsor Sunday. • Swimming at Sudbury dual meet, Saturday and Sunday.

Tequila tasting and live music by Instromanix tonight at the Graduate House; free for grad students, $5 cover for others.

[Warrior Weekends logo]
Warrior Weekend
activities in Student Life Centre tonight and Saturday evening, including movies (tonight "Rise of the Silver Surfer" 9:00, "Order of the Phoenix" 10:30; Saturday "Transformers" 10:45), pumpkin carving, drag queen show and manhunt, details online.

Bioinformatics: From Quaternary to Binary symposium hosted by Bioinformatics Club, Saturday, Arts Lecture Hall room 116, details online.

UW weather station tour for faculty, staff and retirees, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Saturday 9:30 a.m., register by e-mail uwrc@admmail.

Worship Diversity concert Saturday 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Green Energy Conference for young people Sunday, arts Lecture Hall, details online.

GeoTime Trail opening of installation by earth sciences professor Alan Morgan, Sunday 1 p.m., Westside Trails beside Munich Circle, west of Erbsville Road.

Open enrolment for winter 2008 undergraduate courses begins Monday on Quest.

Employee Wellness Fair: Monday morning "Personal Resiliency" workshop; Monday 12 noon Wellness Walk, meet on ring road outside Davis Centre; Monday 3:30, "Core Stability" workshop; Tuesday "Passport to Health" exposition in Davis Centre lounge 10:00 to 2:00; other events and details online.

Master of Social Work information session on programs at six universities, Monday 12:15, Renison College chapel lounge.

UW Energy Days October 23-25, including "Ontario's Energy Future", Tuesday 7 p.m., at Centre for International Governance Innovation; Energy Days open house Wednesday 6 to 9 p.m., Davis Centre foyer; "Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge" Thursday 7:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 116; details online.

Smarter Health Seminar: Peter Norton, University of Calgary, "Why Not Safer Health Care Right Now?" Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302, live webcast.

Federation of Students annual general meeting Wednesday 4 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall; agenda includes annual financial statements and bylaw changes.

'Thinking about Optometry' briefing on application and interview process Wednesday 5:30, Tatham Centre room 2218.

Intelligent Waterloo Conference on use of broadband technology, October 25, details online.

High-voltage laboratory, electrical and computer engineering, grand reopening October 25, 11:30 a.m., reception by invitation.

Novelist Trevor Cole reads at St. Jerome's University Thursday 4:00, SJU room 3012.

'Shake Hands with the Devil' film on Rwanda genocide, Thursday 7:30, CEIT room 1015.

Keystone Run for Excellence walk or run around the ring road Friday, October 26, start time 12:15, entry fee $10, registration online.

Application deadline for winter term admission to UW is October 31; deadlines for September 2008 admission vary (January 9 for current Ontario secondary school students applying to most programs)

'The Nightmare Before Christmas' Hallowe'en party to benefit the United Way, sponsored by Campus Recreation, October 31, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex room 2021, tickets $5 with costume or $8 without, information ext. 36340.

Trick-or-Eat Hallowe'en canvassing on behalf of Food Bank, October 31, volunteers sign up now online.

Fall open house for prospective students and their families (formerly known as UW Day) Saturday, November 3, details online.

Waterloo Conference on Social Entrepreneurship November 17-18, details online.

Forecast for Saturday: 1,500 degrees

Close to 1,500 students will celebrate the successful completion of their studies as UW holds its fall Convocation in two ceremonies tomorrow. A total of 934 undergraduate and 555 graduate students will receive degrees and diplomas at events in the Physical Activities Complex.

"Convocation marks the end of a long journey filled with hard work," says UW registrar Ken Lavigne in a news release issued this week. "This is a proud moment for both the graduates and their families."

[Gold medal in case]It'll be a proud day also for two graduate students who received their degrees last spring, but who will be given Alumni Gold Medals (left) tomorrow to recognize them for "outstanding academic performance".

Receiving a medal as top PhD student of the year is Lara Katherine Varpio, who was supervised by Catherine Schryer and Lorelei Lingard of the English department as she wrote her thesis on "Mapping the Genres of Healthcare Information Work". It's described by the chair of the department as "the most important dissertation to come out of the UW department of English . . . having a significant impact upon relevant fields in both Humanities and Medicine. . . . Most importantly, her work has been taken very seriously in the healthcare practitioner community, earning her a faculty position at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine."

The medal for top master's student of the year goes to Reid Charles Kerr, whose MMath thesis was supervised by Robin Cohen of the school of computer science. Kerr "was able," says Cohen, "to absorb and integrate key approaches from a variety of computer science endeavours in his exploration of the topic area of modeling trust and reputation multiagent electronic marketplaces." He's now a student in the PhD program in CS.

During the morning Convocation ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m., the university will confer degrees on 473 undergraduates, 205 master's degree students and 10 doctoral candidates in the faculties of applied health sciences and arts.

Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn, among Canada's most celebrated political commentators and biographers, will receive a Doctor of Letters degree and address the graduands. The university will also bestow honorary degrees on Annie Wong Leung Kit Wah, a Chinese artist and philanthropist; John A. Pollock, Electrohome executive and UW benefactor; and Bob Hunter, a facility executive of such venues as Ontario Place and Air Canada Centre. As well, Donald Iverson, a health researcher and founding director of UW's Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, will receive a Doctor of Science degree.

In the afternoon, the university will award degrees or diplomas to 461 undergraduate students, 269 master's degree students and 71 doctoral candidates in the faculties of engineering, environmental studies, mathematics and science. (The afternoon ceremony begins at 2:30, rather than the traditional 2:00, because the morning event is expected to run long.)

Eminent earth scientist Christopher Barnes will receive a doctor of science degree and address the convocation ceremony, beginning at 2:30 p.m. A former chair of UW's earth sciences department, Barnes leads Neptune Canada, which is developing the world's largest cable-linked sea floor observatory off North America's west coast. UW will bestow three other honorary doctorates in the afternoon ceremony, on engineering inventor Wai-Cheung Tang, energy researcher Angus Bruneau, and computer scientist Richard Karp.

The university is also honoring Michael Howard, a retired professor of economics and a key figure in launching UW's doctoral program in applied economics, naming him Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

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Lecturers discuss oceans and cities

Two major lectures are scheduled for tonight on campus, when audiences can choose to hear about oceans (in the Humanities Theatre) or cities (in Siegfried Hall). Admission to both talks is free.

The Humanities talk (starting at 7 p.m.) is by Christopher Barnes, former chair of UW’s earth sciences department and now director of the Neptune Canada project. That’s Canada's $82-million section of an international venture, the world's first regional cabled ocean observatory, which will allow researchers to better understand tsunamis, earthquakes and other phenomena in the Pacific Ocean.

"The Canadian portion, led by Dr. Barnes, will transform ocean research," says Alan Morgan, a UW professor of earth and environmental sciences. "For the first time, anyone interested will be able to access events as they occur beneath the ocean." Neptune (North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments) is based at the University of Victoria and collaborates with an American partner group.

Barnes says Neptune will offer a revolutionary approach to ocean science. It will provide a high-bandwidth communication network of sensors, robotics and observatories in the deep ocean, covering much of the North-east Pacific — more than 200,000 square kilometres. Its initial phase will be operational in late 2008.

"Many results will be of great practical importance," Barnes says, noting that seismic and tsunami hazards are significant on the west coast. "Researchers investigating gas hydrates will be better able to assess their potential as an energy resource and a climate threat." As well, long-term data will help define the effects of natural ocean and climate variability on fish stocks. Research on deep sea-floor ecosystems will also assist in future decisions on disposal of wastes in the ocean.

Barnes has also served as director of the school of earth and ocean sciences at the University of Victoria. He has also been president of the Geological Association of Canada, the Canadian Geoscience Council, and the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1996, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. His talk on “The Neptune Project: Understanding Earth and Ocean on an Ailing Planet” is part of the faculty of science's celebration of the university's 50th anniversary this year.

Meanwhile, the event in Siegfried Hall at St. Jerome’s University is this year’s Somerville Lecture in Christianity and Communications, to be given by John Bentley Mays under the title “ The Creative City: The Future of Christian Urbanism”. The lecture starts at 7:30.

“In recent years,” says a news release from St. Jerome’s, “the world has witnessed a remarkable upsurge of popular interest in cities. Architects, planners and myriad ordinary citizens are talking, as never before, about what makes cities work and what can be done to make them work better.

“Despite cities being one of the most serious issues in contemporary life, many Catholics are silent on these issues. This lecture engages the tasks lying before Christian urbanism in the present moment, including the development of new religious understandings of how cities work and why they work, and new appreciations of the roles played by architecture, art and urban planning in the task of city-building. The discussion is framed by the Christian critical thought about urban culture that developed in the wake of Harvey Cox's The Secular City (1965), and that has been addressed more recently—especially in the writings of Pier Giorgio di Cicco — by the debate about the ‘creative city’.

“John Bentley Mays is an award-winning Toronto writer on architecture, visual art and design, and general topics in contemporary culture. He is architecture columnist for the real estate section of the Globe and Mail , and a frequent contributor to Azure , Canadian Architect , Canadian Art and other periodicals, including the Catholic Register , where he has a regular column. He is currently at work on a book that profiles key shapers of modern Toronto 's culture and public life.”

And the procession of noted lecturers just keeps coming. Organizers have announced that this year's Pascal Lecturer on "Christianity and the University" will be Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She'll be at UW to speak on "Building Machines with Emotional Ability — Building People?" next Thursday at 8 p.m. in Siegfried Hall. The following day she'll lead a student-oriented seminar on "Emotionally Oriented Technology" (Friday 2:00 in Davis Centre room 1304).

The 2007 Hagey Lecturer, joining a series of annual speakers in what's considered UW's premier lecture series, will be Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar. She will speak Wednesday, November 14, at 8:00 in the Humanities Theatre. Title: "What Space Medicine Teaches Canadians about Life on Earth".

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[Two people stand among luminous . . . somethings]
Digital art, creativity and kites

Work by architecture professor Philip Beesley, in collaboration with Robert Gorbet of electrical and computer engineering, is featured in a major installation that runs at Montréal's Beaux-Arts Museum until December 9. "Hylozoic Soil" (pictured) is one in a series of Beesley's works that explore the newest digital fabrication techniques and materials to develop what he calls "a kind of responsive architecture".

The materials and components in the room produce a reactive environment able to detect the presence of visitors. Dozens of sensors are embedded throughout an environment composed of tens of thousands of individual digitally fabricated acrylic parts. The sensors trigger tiny mechanisms assembled into an organic network of “breathing pores” that move gentle waves of air as visitors pass. The work uses ultrasonic proximity sensors and shape-memory alloy actuator mechanisms controlled by distributed networks of microprocessors. These systems were developed at UW's Integrated Centre for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing.

Approximately 40,000 visitors are expected for the exhibition, which La Presse called "fascinating", while the Treehugger site has dubbed Beesley "our model for the architect of the future". His work is supported by the Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, back on campus, the exhibition "Neutrinos They Are Very Small" is winding up this weekend at Render, the UW gallery in East Campus Hall. To celebrate, an "art laboratory and science fair" is being held tonight, 7:00 to 9:00, under the title "Creativity at the Intersection of Art and Science". The neutrino artists and a real live neutrino scientist will be on hand, there's a panel discussion at 8:00 on "The Process of Inquiry", and two other art projects will be happening: something called "Schrödinger's Cat Balloon Station" and the "Bell Kite Project" by visiting artist Amos Latteier. The whole thing is thoroughly interdisciplinary, in other words, and naturally it's co-sponsored by Waterloo Unlimited.

Earlier on this warm, damp day, Latteier will be on the Columbia playing fields, east of the lake, getting "his homage to Alexander Graham Bell's cellular kite experiments" airborne. Everybody's welcome to drop by between 2:00 and 4:00.


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