Friday, November 28, 2008

  • Hawking is coming; heritage honour
  • Warriors in pink for a good cause
  • Other notes to wind up November
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Hawking is coming; heritage honour

Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University, probably the world's best-known physicist, has been named a "Distinguished Research Chair" at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and will be spending time in Waterloo regularly, with the first visit scheduled for next summer. "I am honoured to accept the first Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute," says a statement from Hawking, the wheelchair-bound but cosmic-minded author of A Brief History of Time. "The Institute's twin focus, on quantum theory and gravity, is very close to my heart and central to explaining the origin of the Universe. I look forward to building a growing partnership between PI and our Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, at Cambridge. Our research endeavour is global, and by combining forces I believe we will reap rich rewards." In announcing that Hawking will visit for extended periods each year, Perimeter director Neil Turok said:"The appointment marks a new phase in our recruitment that will see leading scientists from around the world establish a second research home at Perimeter Institute. I am delighted that Stephen has agreed to accept the first of a projected 40 such visiting Chairs. We look forward to hosting Stephen, to benefiting from his wise mentorship and guidance which has been so successful in Cambridge, and to the many stimulating scientific collaborations which will undoubtedly emerge."

This year's winner of a major award from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario is a retired — but still active — Waterloo geography professor, Gordon Nelson, who served as UW's dean of environmental studies, 1975-83. The Eric Arthur Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at a dinner November 21, where Nelson's wife, Shirley, accepted it on his behalf since the geographer himself was in the United Arab Emirates on business. Nelson is an ecologist, a geographer, a planner and a policy maker who has researched and published in the area of natural and cultural heritage. In 1984, he established the Heritage Resources Centre at UW, in conjunction with Parks Canada. He successfully obtained a heritage designation for the Grand River, one of 35 designated rivers in Canada, and is the editor of Towards a Grand Sense of Place on the history and geography of the Grand River watershed. Nelson has contributed time and expertise to many heritage-related organizations including the ACO itself as well as Community Heritage Ontario, Grand River Conservation Authority, and government and academic committees.

[Book cover]Sabbaticals 101: A Practical Guide for Academics & Their Families will be launched tomorrow at 2:00 at the UW bookstore in South Campus Hall. The author: Nancy Matthews, wife of UW statistics professor David Matthews and the organizer of the International Spouses group. "After the professional arrangements have been made," the publisher's web site promises, "Sabbaticals 101 will guide you through the nuts and bolts of planning and enjoying an academic leave. Issues such as housing, finances, and the settling-in blues are addressed with humour and understanding. A veteran of five overseas sabbaticals and exchanges with her family, Nancy Matthews has learned what works and what doesn’t. She has supplemented this personal experience with interviews of forty other sabbatical veterans, as well as research on cross-cultural adjustment, travelling with children, living abroad, and returning home." The book, it adds, "is filled with anecdotes, lists, and advice gleaned from adventures with the author’s husband and their two sons".

The Employee Assistance Program Committee will be hosting a highly topical brown-bag presentation on Wednesday, says Glenda Rutledge of UW's human resources department. "In light of the fiscal restraints facing our community and upcoming holiday season," she says, "the committee felt this was a timely topic to offer our staff and faculty." The theme? "Improving Your Financial Health". Heather Cudmore of Catholic Family Counselling Centre is the speaker, and "will discuss the warning signs of financial difficulties. She will discuss good money management habits to help you avoid these warning signs and if you already have recognized these signs, strategies to get your finances back on track. Come prepared to improve your finances." The event is scheduled for December 3 at 12:00 noon in Davis Centre room 1302.

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Warriors in pink for a good cause

[Pink volleyball and hockey uniforms]Warrior athletes will think pink this last weekend of the fall term — and some of them will even dress in pink (left) — as part of a promotion aimed at drawing support for breast cancer research.

Proceeds from the weekend, sponsored by the Waterloo Region Record newspaper, will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Ontario Chapter.

"Our student-athletes are very socially conscious, as are a lot of students these days," says athletics director Bob Copeland, as quoted in the Record. "We all know people who have been affected by this disease in our lives, so we are happy to take part." Jenny Mackay of athletics was interviewed about the project yesterday on radio station Dave FM, and the interview is available online.

Think Pink will involve eight varsity games and the Campus Recreation "Waterloo’s Got Talent" dance show, as well as a number of fundraising activities and promotions. Says a news release: "Don’t miss out on events such as our Warrior Chuck-A-Puck or the return of Mascot Basketball. In addition, check your daily Waterloo Region Record for a ballot to win a trip. Simply fill out the ballot and return it at any of the weekend’s games."

Events for today: Women's basketball vs. Ottawa, 6:00, and men's basketball, 8:00, Physical Activities Complex; men's hockey vs. UOIT, 7:30, Icefield, with the "Chuck-a-Puck for Breast Cancer".

For Saturday: Women's volleyball vs. Brock, 1:30, PAC; "We Are Warriors Party Zone", 5 p.m., Blue Activity Area, PAC, featuring games and activities; women's basketball vs. Carleton, 6:00, PAC; men's basketball vs. Carleton, 8:00, PAC (mascot basketball at half-time).

For Sunday: men's hockey vs. York, 2:00, Icefield (one student will have the chance to "Shoot for Tuition" plus Varsity Shooting Competition); "Waterloo’s Got Talent" dance show, 6:00 PAC; women's hockey vs. York, 7:30, Icefield (Chuck-a-Puck again).

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Other notes to wind up November

From the UW library's e-newsletter: "Over the past year, the Library has received significant support from student organizations to assist with the purchase of resources and materials for students. Student support has included donations from the Arts, Engineering, and Math Endowment Funds. The Arts Endowment Fund recently equipped the Dana Porter Library with 10 new study carrels and chairs, a donation totaling $13,099.97. In the words of Allan Babor, Arts Student Union President, 'the study carrels not only bring forth an ergonomic workspace, but contribute to the overall appeal of the library as a social and study space and will benefit the greater UW community for the next five to ten years.' The Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund (WEEF) provided $5,000 to help the Library purchase first-year engineering textbooks to be held on reserve at the Davis Centre Library. The Math Endowment Fund (MEF) donated $14,040 to enable the purchase of study carrels and chairs for the Davis Centre Library. This gift was preceded by a $6,750 donation the previous year for the same purpose."

"Recent events have shone the light on two denizens of LHN 1719," writes Steve Manske of the Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation (LHN being the north wing of the Lyle Hallman Institute, where CBRPE makes its home). "First, PhD student Erin Hobin received both the provincial and national awards for Young Education Professional at the Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) conference in October. Of six awards presented that evening, Erin received two. They honour her various contributions. She has continued as an occasional teacher even while studying. She has organized trips to the Caribbean and Central America to train physical and health educators. Erin wrote a successful CIHR application to collect baseline data in a Manitoba of a new provincial physical education policy. Her talent had previously been recognized through a CIHR Doctoral award."

And more from LHN: "Second, Wiworn (Peter) Sae Yang has been working with us this term, funded by an OTRU studentship. For his 4th year honours thesis, he is conducting regression analyses of YSS data. Peter submitted a poster to the recent OTRU conference based on his analyses of the relation of smoking status and smoking susceptibility to exposure to smoking in the home and cars. His poster placed first in the student competition. In fact, it was a Waterloo sweep of the poster awards. Paul McDonald has invited Peter to overview his work to the health studies and gerontology department meeting."

The engineering faculty’s e-newsletter reports that the former head of the UW Underwater Technology Team is using her fluids expertise to dive into another student team project. As interim leader of the nine-member UW Nanorobotics Group, Julianne Kline is making sure work continues on "the world's smallest radio frequency-controlled robot", which will measure the width of just three human hairs. With other key members currently scattered across North America on co-op terms, Kline keeps in touch with the team through online phone meetings. The team, which believes it's Ontario's first student-led undergraduate research group, will put its robot to the test in the 2009 Robocup Nanogram Soccer Competition to be held in Graz, Austria. Kline, a mechatronics engineering student, is designing a microfluidic propulsion system to give the robot an edge in the competition, which will require it to manoeuvre around pylons and do a happy dance when it scores a goal. Previous competitors have used a scratch/crawl or step mechanism drive to move their robots around. "Microfluidics has the potential to allow us to move much faster," Kline adds. Although the WEEF-supported team intends to achieve more lofty goals, including targeted drug delivery and wireless power, its focus right now is on the robocup competition. "We intend to win," says Kline.

It's the second and final day of this year's staff association craft sale, being held in Davis Centre room 1302, with enticements that range from stained glass to ceramics and knits. • Flyers are advertising a couple of "great stocking stuffers" from UW's food services: a "curvy, ergonomic" stainless steel water bottle for $11.95 and an acrylic-and-steel refillable mug for $9.95. • The Engineering Society will be holding its long-awaited EOT (end of term) pub tonight, and if you're invited, you probably know the details already.


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[Santa hat as she works on poster]

Elf at work: It's Kriselle Fernandez, a don in Beck Hall, UW Place, working on the holiday decorations that the dons group recently put in place. "Rather than celebrating Christmas or other specific religious events," I'm told, "we are celebrating a strong end to the academic term."

Link of the day

Maize Day

When and where

Blood donor clinic 9:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre, book appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

myHRinfo system unavailable because of maintenance, Friday at 12:00 noon until Monday at noon.

Philosophy colloquium: Denis Walsh, University of Toronto, “Statistical Laws, Ensemble Explanations” 3:30 p.m., Humanities room 334.

Comic City Film Series linked to “Dominion City” exhibition in Render (UW art gallery): “Persepolis” (2007), 6:00, East Campus Hall gallery.

Salon des Refusés sponsored by The New Quarterly: readings, panel discussion, wine, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $5, RSVP ext. 28290.

Warrior Weekend activities in Student Life Centre, Friday and Saturday evenings. Details.

X-rated hypnotist Tony Lee performs at Bombshelter pub tonight, doors open 9:00 p.m., tickets $10 at Federation of Students office, $12 at door.

Explore Engineering at Waterloo Region Children’s Museum, Saturday 10:00 to 5:00, with volunteers from engineer-in-residence program including some from UW.

Out-of-town Warrior sports: Women’s hockey at Toronto Saturday. • Track and field (men and women) season opener at Western Saturday.

Badminton tournament sponsored by HAPN (Healthy Active Promotion Network club), mixed doubles, prizes, Saturday 1:00 to 4:00, Columbia Icefield.

UW Chamber Choir concert, “It Can’t Be Christmas Yet”, Saturday 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts (tickets $12, students $10); Sunday 7:30 p.m., Three Willows United Church, Guelph (tickets $15, students $12).

Engineering Jazz Band (“With Respect to Time”) charity concert Saturday 8 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC great hall, tickets $10 at the door, proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

UW Stage Band concert, “Swing’s the Thing”, Sunday 2:00, Conrad Grebel UC great hall, admission $8 (students $5).

Staff association town hall meeting Monday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

UW Planning Alumni of Toronto 18th annual gala dinner Monday, reception 5:00, dinner 7:00, Royal York Hotel. Details.

UW Instrumental Chamber Ensembles end-of-term concert Monday 7:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel, free admission.

WatITis 2008 one-day conference for information technology staff, “Making the Future”, Tuesday. Details.

Faculty association fall general meeting Tuesday 2:00 p.m., Math and Computer room 4020.

John Ralston Saul, “Three Radical Truths About Canada”, Tuesday 7:00 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West. Registration.

International TA and professor relationships, workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Wednesday 11:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Christmas at the Davis Centre: UW Chamber Choir and Chapel Choir annual concert, concluding with carol sing-along, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre great hall.

Alumni dinner in Hong Kong Wednesday 6:30, Craigengower Cricket Club, speaker David Li (PhD 1995), China International Capital Corporation. Details.

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Indian Institutes of Technology may enjoy broader role
Architects' journal celebrates UW designs (pages 22, 27)
Hard times at Johns HopkinsDukeNorth CarolinaMinnesotaCornellHarvard
Co-op in a time of economic downturn (Globe)
UW psychologist quoted about the roots of religion
Canada's Most Powerful Women, Top 100
'Why is education associated positively with the sense of personal control?'

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