Monday, October 4, 2010

  • Official opening of energy building
  • R&T Park's annual magazine wins award
  • Johnston's installation, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Official opening of energy building

Government and corporate dignitaries as well as university officials will gather this morning for the “official opening” of the Energy Research Centre — a building that’s actually been in partial use for some two years, but is now ready for celebrating.

[Brick and glass building]Located between Matthews Hall and the powerhouse smokestack, the ERC (right) was originally to be known as the Photovoltaic Research Centre, but was assigned the broader name when it was expanded to include other labs for energy and related research. In its final form it provides a focal point for energy research groups in the faculty of engineering at Waterloo.

The Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems occupies the first floor of the building, providing space for technology development in all aspects of PV energy conversion, from base materials synthesis to modules.

Three floors overhead, the building provides a rooftop test platform for research in wind turbine acoustics and for the Solar Thermal Research Laboratory. And in between, the ERC has laboratory space for studies of advanced glazing systems, numerical simulation, and fuel cell development and green energy.

Today’s event will also celebrate the first appointee to the Hydro One Chair in Power Engineering, announced last year. The chair was awarded to Waterloo for research in smart grid power distribution and management, alternative energy and sustainability projects, as well as graduate student research.

Announced participants at today’s opening include Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener- Waterloo; Manon Harvey, vice-president, finance and corporate services, Canada Foundation for Innovation; Laura Formusa, president and CEO, Hydro One Inc.; Jatin Nathwani, executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy; and Claudio Cañizares, professor of electrical and computer engineering, as well as senior officials of the university.

The event starts at 10:30 a.m. in a tent on the Matthews Hall green beside the building.

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R&T Park's annual magazine wins award

The annual magazine published by the University of Waterloo Research and Technology Park has been honoured as part of a program of awards for “the world’s best economic development programs”.

The honour comes from the International Economic Development Council, and was presented last week during IEDC’s annual conference in Columbus, Ohio. The Excellence in Economic Development Awards are given in 28 categories, including magazines, other marketing materials, and “the year’s most influential leaders”.

Says William Best, IEDC’s chair: “Our awards honour organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in communities. The University of Waterloo Research + Technology Park are showing that they are at the forefront of the economic development profession and are using innovative and effective practices that can be replicated in other communities.”

The magazine, called Watch, “was developed to create a dynamic marketing tool that captures the spirit and energy” of the park, says a citation from the IEDC. It adds some background: “Reflecting the enterprising spirit of the Waterloo Region, the park ensures continued support for pure and applied research, and innovation throughout Canada. The University of Waterloo Research + Technology Park is growing and nurturing new technology, generating thousands of high-quality jobs, and contributing to environmental excellence and the well-being of the community.”

Waterloo’s research park is one of 26 research parks in Canada. Says IEDC: “This combined network of parks (AURP Canada) contributes $3.8 billion annually to the Canadian economy while housing over 1,000 tech companies employing 40,000 knowledge workers.”

[Magazine cover]Watch is edited by Carol Stewart, marketing manager for the R&T Park and vice-president of the national association. “Our 2010 issue,” she writes in her latest editorial letter, “celebrates thinking ideas differently. We take a closer look at the individuals and organizations at the Research Park who have taken knowledge and powered it up with imagination.”

She mentions some of them: “Accelerator Centre graduate, Primal Fusion CTO Peter Sweeney, who has imagined the next iteration of the web; Google work colleagues, Sharvil Nanavati and Casey Ho, who have imagined a new way to search the web; father and daughter Eugene and Krystina Roman, who imagined Waterloo to be the perfect place to nurture and grow their passion for technology.”

All the occupants of the R&T Park are featured in this year’s 48-page issue, as well as one firm that isn’t even there yet: Agfa HealthCare, through an interview with vice-president Jeff Nesbitt, talking about the Agfa HealthCare Institute that was announced last year.

The magazine also gives space to Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the chief executives of Research In Motion; to Arthur Carty, executive director of UW’s Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology; to Ray Laflamme, who heads the Institute for Quantum Computing; and to Norm Susanna, manager of the TechTown Café at 340 Hagey Boulevard, among others.

And there’s an interview with Aimée Morrison of the department of English language and literature, talking about digital media: “The fact that interactions occur via machine does not mean they become less complicated, or any less human.…  There will always be a need to get bored enough to be alone with your thoughts.”

Several pages are taken up with a “directory” of the park, thumbnail descriptions of no fewer than 51 companies and agencies, among them the Accelerator Centre, the Canadian Water Network, the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, the Education Credit Union, Google,, Open Text, and TechTown Dentistry. The magazine concludes with a double-page interview with David Johnston, president of the university as the park was developed, and the man whose name will appear on the park’s signs.

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Johnston's installation, and other notes

[Senate chamber in rich reds]You just knew that, as David Johnston was installed as Governor General of Canada on Friday morning (CBC screen capture, right), he’d touch on some of his favourite topics in his speech, even if they weren’t exactly scripted. Barn-raising? Check. Harvard hockey? Check. The role of teachers? Check. His audience, well beyond the elegant red Senate chamber on Parliament Hill, included television viewers throughout the country. And among them, it seemed, were about half the Waterloo campus, with knots of people in every building following the proceedings by live-streaming from the CBC. “We want to be the smart and caring nation," Johnston said in his address, “a society that innovates, embraces its talent and uses the knowledge of each of its citizens to improve the human condition for all.”

As part of Friday’s pomp, Johnston’s new coat of arms was made public. It includes such features as a string of ones and zeroes, a pair of astrolabes to symbolize research, books for knowledge and law, and the motto “Contemplare meliora”, a Latin riff on the most characteristic Johnstonism of them all, George Bernard Shaw’s line “I dream things that never were, and I say, why not?” And I heard a voice from a nearby office, as the ceremony drew to a close: “Now he’s Canada’s — he’s not Waterloo’s any more.”

A select, though not small, group of Warrior athletes were honoured Thursday night at the annual reception for “athlete-academic honour roll recipients”. Traditionally this event is hosted by the university’s president; this year both departing and incoming presidents were in Ottawa for the national festivities, but the reception was still sponsored by the Office of the President, the athletics department notes. Says its news release: “The honour recognizes students who have maintained an average of 80% and higher while competing for an interuniversity sport. This year, 138 athletes were honoured for their accomplishment which makes up 25% of the student-athlete population at uWaterloo. The 2009-10 athlete-academic honour roll saw a 13% increase in number of recipients compared to a year ago (123 recipients). The proud athletes received their awards in front of their teammates, influential professors, coaches and distinguished individuals at the University of Waterloo. The top academic honours for the women went to Leanne Stuive.  Leanne is a fourth year student-athlete who competed in her first year of eligibility with the cross country team last season. Leanne studies operations research in the faculty of math. Derek Hartman, a fourth-year student, earned top honours on the men’s side. Derek competed in his fourth year with the nordic ski team last season and excelled in his academics, studying mechanical engineering.”

Caution: drive, bike and walk carefully around the Columbia Street entrance to the main campus over the next day or two. The plant operations department says work has to be done on the "exit" side of the dual carriageway ("paving stone and base material will be removed and new stone installed"). Traffic can enter the campus from Columbia in the usual way, but vehicles wanting to exit must use the roadway through the Village residences, or head south to the University Avenue entrance instead. Work is scheduled to start at 7:30 Tuesday morning.

And . . . there's someone new at the helm, as of today, in the office of Communications and Public Affairs, which is responsible for this Daily Bulletin — as well as media relations, creative graphic design, the central web site, and many other services for the university. As announced in August, Ellen Réthoré is arriving as associate vice-president to head the department. She's most recently been an executive of Kids Help Phone, and before that was at the University of Toronto. As editor of the Daily Bulletin, I'll be reporting to this new associate VP.

The previous director of CPA, Martin Van Nierop, is moving a short distance down the hall to take on the new position of senior director of government relations for the university. He's been the head of this department for more than two decades, and is probably best known to the public for his standup appearances on local television when the university makes the news for good or ill. On this day I want to acknowledge just how much he has contributed to the creation, growth and effectiveness of the Daily Bulletin over the past seventeen years, and to steering the editor in the right direction time after time. I, and the readers, owe him a great deal.


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Comments wanted about the Daily Bulletin

What do you think of the Daily Bulletin? We in the office of communications and public affairs invited online feedback for a few days in the spring term. The invitation is open again now for those who missed it then: Please take a few moments to fill out our confidential and anonymous feedback form. A report on the results will appear here in due course.

Link of the day

World Habitat Day

When and where

Imaginus poster sale Monday-Thursday 10 to 8, Friday 10 to 5, Student Life Centre.

Faculty of education talks today 10:30 to 5:00, Tatham Centre room 2218. Workshops: “Applying to Teacher Education Programs” 12:30, “Check Out Your On-Campus Options” 1:30. More talks Tuesday 10:30 to 4:00, Tatham 2218. Details.

Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change presents Annett Bartsch, Vienna University of Technology, “The European Space Agency’s ENVISAT ASAR Instrument” 12:00, Environment I room 221.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Library workshop: “Building Digital Elevation Models in ArcGIS” 4:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Computer Science Club presents Ian Seyler, Return Infinity, “BareMetal OS”, 4:30, Math and Computer room 4021.

Chinese Drama Club presents “Love Without Reason” 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Math and Computer building electrical power shut down Tuesday 6:00 to 7:00 a.m.

Library workshop: “Better Searching, Better Marks” Tuesday 10:00 and Thursday 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

WRISQ seminar: Steven Vanduffel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, “Bounds on Insurance Prices” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Grand River Cruising” Wednesday, details 519-885-6719.

PDEng presentation: “Mentoring the Mentors: Creating High Quality Co-op Experiences” Wednesday 11:30, Davis Centre room 1568.

University college alumni reception Wednesday 5:00, at the new Waterloo Region Museum, presentation by architect Brian Rudy and education coordinator David Neufeld, tickets $10. Details.

Perimeter Institute lecture: William R. Newman, Indiana University, “Why Did Isaac Newton Believe in Alchemy?” Wednesday 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

‘Navigating the University Admissions Process’ brown-bag lunch for staff or faculty with future students in the family, Thursday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Thanksgiving Day holiday Monday, October 11, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Class enrolment appointments for winter 2011 undergraduate courses, October 11-16.

Go Eng Girl open house for grade 7-10 girls, hosted by Women in Engineering Committee, October 16, 9:00 to 3:00. Details.

Engineering 5 building grand opening October 19, 10 a.m.

Principles of Inclusivity launch and lecture by diversity consultant Sondra Thiederman, hosted by organizational and human development, October 20, 9 a.m., Humanities Theatre; afternoon workshop follows. Details.

Friday's Daily Bulletin