Friday, June 11, 2010

  • Clowns on campus; what else is new
  • 8 Indian students join research teams
  • Corn dogs, fireworks in Canada Day plans
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Clowns on campus; what else is new

A national event that’s frequently described as “Canada’s National Festival of Contemporary Canadian Theatre in English” is under way in Kitchener-Waterloo, with a number of events spilling onto the Waterloo campus. The Magnetic North Theatre Festival alternates between Ottawa and a different Canadian city each year, bringing performances from artists and theatre companies from across the nation. [Magnetic North logo]This year it’s K-W, and the festival runs for 11 days, through June 19. This week’s performance on campus — in the Theatre of the Arts — is “Mump & Smoot Cracked” (“these are not the clowns from your seventh birthday party” — tonight at 9, Saturday at 7, Sunday at 2). The two clowns will be giving a “gibberish workshop” today at 12:30 (it’s sold out). Next week brings “Elephant Wake”, about the marginalized existence of francophones on the prairies, with performances at 8:00 Monday, 7:00 Tuesday-Friday, 2:00 Saturday the 19th. The festival also includes a directing class with Joey Tremblay, the man behind “Elephant Walk”, on Friday afternoon, June 18. Passes and tickets for the festival are on sale through the Centre In The Square box office at 519-578-1570.

"The Department of Organizational and Human Development would like to invite you," says a memo from OHD's Mark Lisetto-Smith, "to the launch of their new The Speaker Series initiative on June 21, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the Humanities Theatre of Hagey Hall. The inaugural keynote speaker is Garry Watanabe, speaking on the topic The Inside Edge: Mental Fitness Skills for High Performance”. Attendees will learn how versatile skills used by high achievers — in the boardroom and in sports — can generate exceptional results on a daily basis in high-pressure situations. With five years in corporate law, a master's degree in sport psychology, and ten years spent coaching, Garry Watanabe brings a tremendous diversity of experience to every speech he delivers. The Speaker Series is funded jointly by OHD and the Staff Excellence fund, and will continue throughout 2010-11 to provide Waterloo staff with continuous learning and development opportunities. Stay, meet, and mingle with Garry Watanabe and your colleagues at a wine and cheese reception directly following the keynote. For more information or to register, visit our web site."

Students in Political Science 387, "Globalization", ran a three-hour simulation of the G20 summit of world leaders during class time yesterday, organized by political science professor Eric Helleiner. • FIFA World Cup soccer games will be on the big screen at the Bombshelter pub in the Student Life Centre over the days ahead, with the place opening half an hour before the start of morning games ("paying customers only"). • Renovations are under way on the main floor of Matthews Hall, aimed at creating offices, graduate and undergraduate student lounges, classrooms, and "a much better introduction to the faculty" for visitors, says dean of applied health sciences Roger Mannell.

Gwen Lipke, who was well known across campus for her work in the "personnel department" (now human resources) from 1968 to retirement in 1994, died June 9. The funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly. • Manuel Machado, a staff member in the plant operations department from 1974 to retirement in 2005, died May 5. • Gladys May Bell, a cashier in the bookstore from 1967 to retirement in 1985, died May 21.

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8 Indian students join research teams

Some 47 top university students from India are in Ontario this summer — including eight at Waterloo — to apply their skills to complex research projects and interact with industry as part of a program called MITACS Globalink. It’s being launched, a news release says, “to attract international undergraduate students to our country and promote the benefits of a Canadian education to those pursuing graduate degrees.”

MITACS (the initials stand for Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) is one of the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence. “Every year,” says scientific director Arvind Gupta, “tens of thousands of future entrepreneurs and scientists from India travel abroad to countries like the US or UK for graduate studies. Our message to international students is that Canada has world-class universities that provide superior education and innovative collaborative research opportunities. We also have some great companies interested in working with these students.”

The eight students visiting Waterloo — most of whom are from the elite Indian Institutes of Technology — are working on a range of research projects, from creating new ways to debug software (a process which consumes up to 50 per cent of development costs) to the effectiveness of virus removal techniques as part of drinking water treatment.

MITACS developed this one-of-a-kind program, says the news release, with the support of the government of Ontario, which has announced $500,000 in new funding over two years. “In an increasingly global economy, it is vital that Ontario provides its students with learning opportunities abroad while opening our doors to the world as a destination of choice for postsecondary education,” said universities minister John Milloy. Globalink was launched following a successful pilot last year that saw 17 Indian students spend three months at British Columbia universities.

George Dixon, Waterloo’s vice-president (university research), comments that “Research is about creating and sharing knowledge. By initiating relationships through the Globalink program, an opportunity is created for the students travelling abroad as well as Canadian university students to take the first steps in building international relationships that will stretch throughout their research careers.” Across Ontario, this year’s 47 students are visiting from May through July and are placed at one of ten universities.

Among the visitors to Waterloo is Sakshi Jain, a student at IIT Bombay (in the city now called Mumbai). She is working with Ashwin Nayak of the department of combinatorics and optimization and the Institute for Quantum Computing.

“One of the spooky predictions of quantum mechanics,” says Nayak, “is that the result of an experiment we do in our lab, say in Waterloo, can affect the result of an experiment a colleague does in, Mumbai. This can happen even if we orchestrate our experiments so that they are conducted at precisely the same point in time. This kind of ‘non-local’, ‘action at a distance’ is a feature that sets quantum physics apart from classical physics, and has confounded physicists since it was first proposed. We are investigating extensions to quantum theory, which predict potentially more powerful non-local effects, and trying to determine whether they are self-consistent.”

Other visitors: Deepak Kumar (IIT Guwahati), working with Sebastian Fischmeister, electrical and computer engineering; Ankur Agrawal (IIT Kanpur), working with Amir Khajepour, mechanical and mechatronics engineering; Debajit Bhattacharya (IIT Kharagpur), working with Manoj Sachdev, ECE; Ashwin Carvalho (IIT Bombay), working with John McPhee, systems design engineering; Vishal Luniya (IIT Bombay), working with Peter Huck, civil and environmental engineering; Nagarajan Rajagopal (Anna University), working with Leonardo Simon, chemical engineering; Arnab Bhattacharya (IIT Kharagpur), working with Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam, systems design.

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Corn dogs, fireworks in Canada Day plans

UW’s biggest public event of the year will be happening three weeks from now, as tens of thousands of people converge on the north campus for music, kids’ games, crafts and fireworks in honour of Canada Day. Things will run from 2 to 11 p.m. on the national holiday, Thursday, July 1.

“We need volunteers!” says a memo from Anna Merkoulovitch and Savie Persaud, two of the students on the organizing committee for this 26th annual celebration of Canada’s birthday. “There are many different volunteer opportunities to choose from,” they add, mentioning security, children’s face-painting, the information tent, setup and take-down, food sales, stage operation and glowstick sales.

Battalions of volunteers will be coming from the Math Society and Engineering Society, which have undertaken to run children’s activities, from the sponge toss to an EngSoc dunk tank. (Engineering will also provide its popular Jazz Band, performing on one of two outdoor stages, and there are hints that the Tool mascot may put in an appearance.)

This year’s Canada Day event is under the leadership of two recreation and leisure studies students, Sally Litchfield (event manager) and Lisa Willan (administrative coordinator). There’s support from the university itself through Nancy Heide of the communications and public affairs office.

Organizers expect that more than 60,000 people will help the university celebrate Canada's 143rd birthday at the Columbia Lake fields, beside Columbia Street West. Willan says some details are still being worked out, but she’s able to provide a multi-page list of groups and agencies that will be taking part in one way or another. For example:

• “K-W Terry Fox Run is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and they want to celebrate it with you! Canadian humanitarian, cancer research activist, and athlete, Terry Fox, has touched the lives of many supporters worldwide through his Marathon of Hope journey three decades ago. Put your brain to the test through word scrambles, crosswords, and puzzles and check out a map of Terry Fox's route across Canada.”

• “Learn about vegetarian and vegan diets with CALM Action as you colour and make paper animal crafts! This organization is a decentralized network of activists fighting for the liberation of all animals and teaches children about various eating alternatives.”

• “The Waterloo Space Society will give children the opportunity to look into space — they will have a telescope on hand (weather dependent), have a crater formation demonstration and give away tattoos!”

Food vendors will have cotton candy and corn dogs, the sort of thing you might expect at a summertime fair, but also fresh-made Chinese dishes, southern pulled pork, smoothies, cornmeal cakes and quite a bit more.

Performers on the “children’s stage” will include the Engineering Jazz Band, the Water Boys (“students and alumni who all share a passion for a cappella music . . . a repertoire of genres including: traditional, barbershop, rock, top forty, contemporary, jazz,and more”), the Unaccompanied Minors, the UW Hip-Hop Club, a student duo called the Sinking Feeling Dancers, and other performers.

Willan says the listing of main stage performers isn’t quite ready to announce, but she did promise that “the Water Boys will be singing O Canada at both the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as Happy Birthday right before the cupcakes are distributed.” Mm, cupcakes.

Details about how to sign up for volunteer duties are on the Canada Day website. Otherwise, the thing to do right now is count on mild, dry weather for July 1, and plan to head for the north campus. UW parking lots will be free for the day, and participation in most Canada Day activities is free too, though visitors will want funds for refreshments and the arts-and-crafts fair.


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[Sculpture of head]

Lucid Dreaming is an exhibition of work by fine arts faculty member Bruce Taylor that will run until September in the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery on Caroline Street in central Waterloo. The opening reception is set for Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m., with an artist talk at 1:00.

Link of the day

Stadium of the day

When and where

Lloyd Auckland Invitational Mathematics Seminar for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, through Saturday.

Class enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses, through Saturday; see appointment times in Quest.

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, through July 12.

Agile Coach Camp “open space conference” June 11-12. “Unkeynote” event open to all: “Interactive Agile Games” led by Gerry Kirk, Friday 5:30 p.m., Davis Centre lounge. Details.

Star Performance Academy recital 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Dance Adventure recital Saturday 1:00 and 7:00, Sunday 1:00, Humanities Theatre.

Co-op job rankings for pharmacy students open Monday, match results Tuesday.

Biology II chilled water and air conditioning out of service Monday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Senate graduate and research council Monday 10:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Media conference to discuss Waterloo football team and tests for banned substances, Monday 11:00, information mstrickl@

Matthews Golf Classic for staff, faculty, retirees and friends, Monday, Grand Valley Golf Course, 12:00 noon, includes dinner. Details.

Alumni networking event at CBC headquarters, Toronto, guest Denise Donlon of CBC radio, Monday 6:00. Details.

Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition by Sasha Nelson, “Instruments”, opening reception Monday 7 p.m., UW art gallery, East Campus Hall; show continues through July 9.

Maxwell’s Made-to-Measure Clothing one-day promotion Tuesday at Columbia Lake Health Club, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Institute for Computer Research presents Sam Lightstone, “Making It Big in Software” Tuesday 11:30, Math and Computer room 4021.

New faculty workshop: “Kick-Starting Your Grant Application” Tuesday 11:45, Rod Coutts Hall room 207. Details.

‘Yoga on the Green’ led by Sandra Gibson, health services, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, Tuesday 12:00, outside Graduate House.

Centre for Extended Learning (formerly distance and continuing education) open house and name change celebration, Tuesday 3:30 to 5:30, 335 Gage Avenue, Kitchener, RSVP jmoser@

Music book launch: Helen Martens, Conrad Grebel UC, Felix Mendelssohn: Out of the Depths of His Heart launch event Tuesday 4:30, Toews Atrium at Grebel.

100th Convocation June 16-19, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details. Special session Sunday, June 20, 9:45 a.m., Perimeter Institute, for MSc (physics) graduates.

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