Friday, February 1, 2008

  • Storm closes UW and local schools
  • Nano breakthrough is published today
  • Future PM, GSA nominations, and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Calendar is online

The 2008-2009 Undergraduate Calendar is live on the web today, and has a new address ( — users may want to create a new bookmark. To access the 2007-2008 Undergraduate
Calendar (current calendar), navigate to "List of Calendars", which also provides access to past years' calendars.

There are two ways to search within the calendar. The simple search consists of a single text box on the top of the public site in which users can type in one or more words. The advanced search is accessed from the "Advanced Search" link on the main page of the calendar. A form displays and requires the user to enter information that defines a search for a specific calendar.

Link of the day

University of Phoenix Stadium

When and where

Events may be cancelled or rescheduled because of today's storm closing.

Warrior sports: Volleyball vs. Royal Military College today, women 6:00, men 8:00; vs. Queen's Saturday, women 4:00, men 6:00, all at PAC. • Men's hockey vs. Western, 7:30, Icefield; Sunday at Windsor. • Women's hockey at Brock Saturday, at Guelph Sunday. • Curling at Trent, Saturday and Sunday. • Track and field at York Classic, Saturday. • Basketball at Guelph Saturday, women 1:00, men 3:00.

'Alice (Experiments) in Wonderland' drama department multi-point telematic performance for children and adults: Friday morning (10:30); 2:00 matinee Saturday and Sunday; evening (8:00) tonight and Saturday, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 general, $10 students, $5 children, details online.

Conrad Grebel University College Benjamin Eby Lecture: James Reimer, Grebel faculty, on the nature and task of Christian theology in the 21st century, 7:30, Grebel chapel, admission free.

Mock Law School Admission Test at no charge, Saturday 9 a.m., details online.

Superbowl party Sunday at REVelation cafeteria, Ron Eydt Village (open until 10 p.m.).

Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Week February 4-8, details online.

Gradfest 2008 presentations and exhibitors about services offered to soon-to-be UW graduates, Monday 10:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre; reception from 4:30 p.m., Bombshelter pub, details online.

Engineering alumni in San Francisco reception at 2008 International Solid State Circuits conference, Monday 5:30 to 7:30, San Francisco Marriott, details online.

Louise Fréchette, former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, now at Centre for International Governance Innovation, speaks Monday 7:30 p.m., Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University, admission free.

Exchange opportunities for engineering students, information session Tuesday, February 5, 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 207, details online.

Biology brown bag seminar: UW International Genetically Engineered Machines Team, Tuesday 12:30 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 305.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30, CEIT room 3142.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Sven Biscop, Royal Institute for International Relations, Belgium, “The EU and the European Security Strategy”, Tuesday 7:00, 57 Erb Street West.

Job Fair hosted by UW and three other institutions, Wednesday 10:00 to 3:00, RIM Park, Waterloo, details online.

'Differ/End: The Caledonia Project' researched and relived by UW drama department students, February 7-9 and 14-16 at 7:00, Studio 180, Humanities building, tickets $12 (students $10) at Humanities box office.

FASS 2008: "Global Warming: Kiss Your FASS Goodbye" February 7 and 9 at 8:00, February 8 at 7:00 and 10:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $7 Thursday, $9 Friday and Saturday from Humanities box office, 519-888-4908.

Ski and snowboard trip to Blue Mountain, sponsored by Federation of Students and other groups, Friday, February 8, tickets from athletics office, Physical Activities Complex.

Employee Assistance Program brown-bag lunch: “Quitting Smoking, Useful Guidance for the Serious, Curious and Furious”, with Paul McDonald, health studies and gerontology, Tuesday, February 12, 12:00 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Class enrolment appointments for spring term undergraduate courses February 11-16; open enrolment begins February 19.

K-W Symphony Intersections series concert: “21st Century Violin with Gilles Apap” Thursday, February 14, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets 519-578-1570.

Loving to Learn Day, "an opportunity for everyone and anyone to share their reflections about their love of learning", February 15, details online.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day at Warrior men’s basketball game vs. Windsor Lancers, Saturday, February 16, 3:00, Physical Activities Complex, prizes, admission free with preregistration.

Family Day holiday February 18 (Monday of reading week). UW offices and services closed (libraries open 12:00 to 6:00).

37th annual Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, retirees and friends, Saturday, February 23, Ayr Curling Club, registration online (deadline February 1).

UW alumni night at Toronto Raptors game Friday, March 7, 7:00 p.m.. Tickets $35 (including bus transportation from UW to Air Canada Centre and back) from alumni affairs office, details online.

Storm closes UW and local schools

The university is closed today because of a heavy snowstorm that started in the early hours and is expected to continue all day. Following procedure, UW automatically closes when the Waterloo Region District School Board shuts all its schools. News of that decision by the school board came a little before 6:00 this morning, and a UW announcement was sent to local radio stations and posted on the main web site and the telephone switchboard.

The closing means that there will be no classes today, staff get a paid day off, libraries are closed, and everybody gets a 24-hour extension on assignments. A few essential services, including policing, the Student Life Centre, and residence cafeterias, continue regardless of an emergency closing.

Closing the campus (as well as UW's outlying units, architecture in Cambridge and distance education in Kitchener) means staff, faculty and students who have kids will be able to stay home with them. It also keeps thousands of people off the streets. And it gives the plant operations grounds crew — who don't get the day off — more room for the plows, salters and sanders to work on campus roads and parking lots. UW police said about 8:15 that road conditions on campus are pretty good so far, and that things are "quiet" with most people staying safely home.

A memo from registrar Ken Lavigne notes that "Class make-up protocol allows for the rescheduling of classes on the next available day on which classes are not scheduled. It would be very difficult for instructors to communicate with students that classes missed today are rescheduled for tomorrow.

"Instructors can reschedule classes that were cancelled today on Saturday, February 9, at the same time as today's missed class. Instructors will have to confirm with the Scheduling Office that the room normally used on Friday is available on February 9. For those Faculties, departments or schools that have classes in discrete cohorts, instructors are free to reschedule during the week of February 4-8 or after if space is available and care is taken not to create a conflict with an already-scheduled class.

"Assignments or reports that were due today are now due at the same time and location on Monday, February 4. Students should contact their instructors regarding the rescheduled date for term tests that were scheduled for today."

Today was to be the first day of employer interviews for the spring co-op work term. Fatima Mitchell of the co-op education department says 47 interviews were scheduled, but she isn't anticipating too much confusion because Tatham Centre staff knew a storm was possible today and sent word to employers last night to check the situation before coming to campus. Rescheduled interviews will be listed on JobMine in the usual way.

There is, just by coincidence, a slightly amended version of UW's storm closing rules to announce. The new document was approved by Executive Council last week and has been posted online by the university secretariat. Its provisions are pretty much the same as in the previous guidelines, with some new words recognizing the likelihood that weather conditions can vary from one place to another in what's now a three-campus university.

Here's the first and most important paragraph: "UW (and its Federated University and Affiliated Colleges) will 'close' because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students, staff and faculty, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes. Such a decision will be made by the Provost in consultation with as many of the following as can be reached: the Director of Police & Parking Services, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Director of Custodial & Grounds Services. UW campuses in the K-W area (including Cambridge) will close automatically when the Waterloo Region District School Board closes all its schools."

And: "'Closed' means classes are not held; meetings and other scheduled events are cancelled; scheduled examinations are cancelled, to be rescheduled; deadlines for assignments and other submissions are postponed until the same hour on the next business day on which UW is not 'closed'; staff, other than those providing 'essential services,' are not expected to be at work, but are paid for a normal day."

The deadline for Distinguished Teacher Award nominations, which was to be today, is moved to Monday. • Organizers are hoping the weather will let up so they can go ahead with a day-long training program for student orientation leaders that's scheduled for tomorrow. • Workshops for senior engineering students involved in some of the PDEng professional development courses are scheduled for tomorrow, but an announcement that they're postponed could come this morning.

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Nano breakthrough is published today

from the UW media relations office

A University of Waterloo physics and astronomy research team, in a paper to be published today in Science magazine, shows how some solids behave like liquids on the nanoscale.

[Fakhraai][Forrest]The UW researchers are professor James Forrest (right) and Zahra Fakhraai (left), who finished her PhD last spring and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. Their work takes a major step forward in discovering how to measure polymer substances using nanoscale technology. They explore the properties of the large class of natural and synthetic materials on the nanoscale in an article, appearing in the February 1 issue of the prestigious international journal of original research, entitled “Measuring the Surface Dynamics of Glassy Polymers”.

Nanoscale technology involves techniques used to manipulate matter at the scale of atoms and molecules. A nanometre (nm) equals one billionth of a metre. In comparison, one human hair is about 80,000 nm thick.

"We are examining the question of what are the properties of materials on the nanoscale," says Forrest, an expert on the physics of soft materials and polymer thin films. "As technology pushes further and further into the nano domain, this question becomes increasingly important."

In other words, scientists know the bulk properties of materials, such as gold or polystyrene (a strong plastic used to make Styrofoam). But it does not mean that if they measure a nanometre-sized sample, or examine with a technique capable of nanometre resolution, they will see the same thing.

The UW paper explores the first few nanometres of a polystyrene surface. The researchers have developed a technique to look at the dynamical properties of this near surface region with nanometre resolution. They found that even when the bulk of the material becomes solid, the surface behaves essentially liquid-like. This discovery has huge implications in polymer processing or in any application (such as nanolithography), where very thin polymer films are used.

"The cute thing about the technique is that the actual ideas behind it are almost 500 years old, and even though this has been an outstanding problem and studied in detail for over a decade without resolution, no one had yet thought of this very simple experiment," Forrest says.

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Future PM, GSA nominations, and more

[Royal leans over from hockey bench]Kevin Royal, the president of UW's Federation of Students, already looks the part (that's him at left, posing politician-like at the Columbia Icefield) and is now one of ten semifinalists for the title of "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister". The contest, for Canadians aged 18 to 25, is sponsored each year by the CBC. He'll be off to Toronto tomorrow for a so-called "boot camp" that will lead to the selection of four finalists, and they in turn will take part in a debate that will be taped later this month for broadcast March 23. Royal got this far in the competition, which started with 144 entrants, based on his video submission and a conference call interview by a panel of judges. The eventual winner of the competition stands to come home with a $50,000 prize, and a credential that ought to look pretty good on the political resumé.

A warning went out at mid-morning yesterday that UW's telephone system was about to fail — not because of weather (the sun was shining bravely out of a clear blue sky) but thanks to an electrical problem. A broken window led to flooding in the Physics building, which knocked out transformer equipment that powers the phones. The system ran on emergency power for a while, starting in mid-morning, and the IST department put out a request for people to go easy on telephone use to prolong the life of the batteries. Replacement equipment arrived from Bell Canada in time, Elaine Martin of IST was able to report with relief during the noon hour.

And now a word from Douglas Stebila, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, and chief returning officer for the Graduate Student Association: "Nominations are now open for the following GSA Executive positions: President, Vice-President (Operations & Finance), Vice-President (Student Affairs), Vice-President (Communications & Organization). The term of office is May 1, 2008, to April 30, 2009. Nominees must be full-time or part-time graduate students of the University of Waterloo. Nomination forms and further information about the positions are available online. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, February 15, 2008, at 4:30 p.m."

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin got some dates wrong for "Leadership for Results" sessions that are offered to staff this winter; a full list of correct dates is on the Organizational and Human Development web site. • The Daily Bulletin published a photo by Scott Spidell the other day and said he worked for the UW theatre centre; in fact he's in the department of drama and speech communication.• Applications for 2009 admission to UW's school of pharmacy were to close yesterday, but the registrar's office says there is a last-minute extension, so that applications will be received until February 15.


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