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Friday, May 19, 2017


Cast your ballot in Chemistry’s New Elements Contest

Images of the new elements for Chemistry's Periodic Table project.

The Department of Chemistry and Chem 13 News want your help on selecting which student-designed tiles will be added to the University of Waterloo Periodic Table Project.  

Last year, four new elements were added to the bottom row of the periodic table – nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og). Three of the four elements are named after places that are significant to their synthesis and the fourth is named after a Russian nuclear physicist – Yuri Oganessian.

Chem 13 News magazine held a contest asking students to artistically create tiles representing some aspect of the new element. The response was outstanding. The New Elements Contest received over 200 submissions from more than 40 schools.

The University of Waterloo New Elements Team then selected the top ten submissions for each element. Next, the Chem 13 News stakeholders were asked to vote and narrow the field down to the final four. Even scientist Yuri Oganessian helped judge the element oganesson, which was named after him.

“It was very nice to get acquainted with the drawings of young people. It was interesting to see how they perceive new elements. It seemed to me that they should have an abstract perception. In fact, each of them puts their own specific vision,” commented Oganessian.

Now it’s down to the final four designs. Please take 5 minutes to vote for your favourite tile. Choose an element and cast your ballot.

The final tiles chosen will be added to the periodic table wall mural located in EIT, the periodic table poster and the free mobile app (Apple, Blackberry, Android).

Dam it: reservoirs act as major carbon sinks, study finds

An aerial view of a dam and reservoir.

Water reservoirs created by damming rivers could have significant impacts on the world’s carbon cycle and climate system that aren’t being accounted for, a new study concludes.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Université libre de Bruxelles, appears in Nature Communications. If found that man-made dam reservoirs trap nearly one-fifth of the organic carbon moving from land to ocean via the world’s rivers.

While they can act as a significant source or sink for carbon dioxide, reservoirs are poorly represented in current climate change models.

“Dams don’t just have local environmental impacts. It’s clear they play a key role in the global carbon cycle and therefore the Earth’s climate,” said Philippe Van Cappellen, a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology at Waterloo and the study’s co-author. “For more accurate climate predictions, we need to better understand the impact of reservoirs.”

There are currently in excess of 70,000 large dams worldwide. With the continuing construction of new dams, more than 90 per cent of the world’s rivers will be fragmented by at least one dam within the next 15 years.

The study’s researchers used a novel method to determine what happens to organic carbon traveling down rivers and were able to capture the impact of more than 70 per cent of the world’s man-made reservoirs by volume. Their model links known physical parameters such as water flow and reservoir size with processes that determine the fate of organic carbon in impounded rivers.

“With the model used in this study, we can better quantify and predict how dams affect carbon exchanges on a global scale,” said Van Cappellen, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

In similar recent studies, the group of researchers also found that ongoing dam construction impedes the transport of nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon through river networks. The changes in nutrient flow have global impacts on the quality of water delivered to wetlands, lakes, floodplains and coastal marine areas downstream.

“We’re essentially increasing the number of artificial lakes every time we build a dam,” said Taylor Maavara, lead author and PhD student. “This changes the flow of water and the materials it carries, including nutrients and carbon.”

Gender Equity Research Grant deadline approaching

The application deadline for the Gender Equity Research Grants is June 15.

The grants were established in 2016 as part of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative.

Individual grants of up to $10,000 will be funded to support research that investigates and addresses gender equity with preference given to projects that advance Waterloo’s three IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments or of demonstrated relevance to the University.

For more information and to review the guidelines, visit the Gender Equity Research Grants website.

What's open and closed this long weekend; other notes

The unofficial start to the summer season is upon us as our community prepares to celebrate the Victoria Day long weekend. Summer weather got a bit of a head start on the holiday this week, with temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday topping 28 degrees.

Victoria Day honours Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, and is a statutory holiday. As such, most University operations will take an extra day's break. For example:

No lectures will be held on Monday.

The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield will be closed on Sunday, May 21 and Monday, May 22.

Retail Services operations will be closed from Saturday, May 20 to Monday, May 22, reopening Tuesday, May 23. Check the Retail Services website for more details.

Food Services locations that will be closed over the long weekend include:

Bon Appetit, Browser's Café, Brubakers, the CEIT Café, Liquid Assets, Pastry Plus - Needles Hall, South Side Marketplace, Starbucks - AHS, Starbucks - STC, Subway, Tim Hortons - Davis Centre and Davis Centre Express, Tim Hortons - Modern Languages, Tim Hortons - South Campus Hall, Tim Hortons - Student Life Centre, the University Club, and Williams Fresh Café.

Food Services locations that will be open on Monday, May 22 include Mudie's, open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Several other locations, including Eye Opener, FRSH, H3 Café, PAS Lounge, REVelation and Tim Hortons - UWP, closed up shop for the summer in April and will reopen in September.

The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday and from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 22.

In case of emergency, UW Police will be available at 519-888-4911 (ext. 22222 on campus). The Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre will be open as always, and the maintenance emergencies folks will be around as well at ext. 33793.

Today is the 17th annual UWaterloo Blooms event, which takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre's Multipurpose room.

Bring your plants and garden items to the event, which is a great place to find new plants for your own garden in advance of the long weekend, when many a garden trowel will be dug into many a flower bed.

The seed giveaway is a popular part of this event, and you may even find some herbs there. All are welcome.  

Occupational Health closed Thursday and Friday

Occupational Health will be closed Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19 as it moves to its new location in the COM.

If you have questions/concerns regarding sick leave during the closure, please contact Nellie Gomes, Disability Advisor in Human Resources at extension 32926.

Occupational Health will reopen for business on Tuesday, May 23.

Link of the day

90 years ago: Lucky Lindy takes flight

When and where

German Language Film Festival, May 17, 24, 31, 7:00 p.m., Princess Cinemas. Waterloo Centre for German Studies for more information.

NEW - UWaterloo Blooms, Friday, May 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room.

WISE Public Lecture Series featuring Matthew Peloso, "Post-Net Metering for a Sustainable City," Friday, May 19, 10:30 a.m., DC 1302.

Symbolic Computation Group seminar, “Computing canonical bases of modules of univariate relations,” Xuan Thi Vu, ENS-Lyon, Lyon, France, Friday, May 19, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 1304. DC 1331. Please note the new location.

Electrical and Computer Engineering seminar featuring Professor Arvind Easwaran, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, "Design and Analysis for Real-Time Mixed-Criticality Scheduling," Friday, May 19, 11:00 a.m., DC 1304.

Victoria Day, Monday, May 22, most University operations closed.

PhD seminar, “Reading garden: a case study of an in-classroom motivational game,” Diane Watson, PhD candidate, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Wednesday, May 24, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., DC 2310.

Understanding our brand, Thursday, May 25, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., EC5 1111.

A conversation on leading a non-profit organization, Thursday, May 25, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Community Room.

Global Prominence and Internationalization Mini Town Hall, Friday, May 26, 12:30 p.m., QNC 0101.

Games Institute G.I. Jam, Friday, May 26 to Sunday, May 28, QNC 2502.

Menstrual Hygiene Day, Friday, May 26, 11:30 a.m., Science Teaching Complex foyer.

Retirement Celebration for Lynn Hoyles, Biology Greenhouse Manager after 39 years of service, Friday, May 26, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EIT 3142.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 27.

SHARCNET Summer School, Monday, May 29 to Friday, June 4, Mathematics & Computer Building (MC) 3003 and 3027.

Retail Services Spring into Summer Sale, Monday, May 29 and Tuesday, May 30, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall Concourse. 

Special screening of Hidden Figures, Monday, May 29, 6:00 p.m., AHS Expansion Rm. 1689.

Working with our brand guidelines, Tuesday, May 30, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

NEW - Retirement Celebration for Larry Marks after 47 years of service, Tuesday, May 30, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Federation Hall.

Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays: “Mysteries of the Prime Numbers” lunchtime talk, Wednesday, May 31, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Grad House.

Velocity Start: Ain’t No Model Like A Business Model, “Learn how to create a lean business model canvas”,Wednesday, May 31, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Keystone Picnic, Friday, June 2, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., DC quad.

NEW - Eye Talks: Your Vision is Our Vision public education event and open house, Saturday, June 3, 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., School of Optometry & Vision Science. Registration required.

NEW - Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, June 6, 1:30 p.m.,  NH 3407.

Velocity Start: Setup Your Business Like A Boss, “Legal and accounting considerations that will affect your startup,” Wednesday, June 7, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

NEW - Problem Pitch Competition, Thursday, June 8, 7:00 p.m., Quantum-Nano Centre Room 0101.

NEW - LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Friday, June 9, 9:00 a.m., NH 3318.

NEW - Spring Convocation, Tuesday, June 13 to Saturday, June 17.

NEW - Distinguished Lecture Series, “Algorand, a new public ledger,” Silvio Micali, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Tuesday, June 13, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 1302.

NEW - Banting postdoctoral fellowship preliminary applications due, Wednesday, June 14.

NEW - Biology presents a public lecture by Steven Scherer, "Decoding 10,000 Whole Genome Sequences Towards Understanding Autism," Wednesday, June 14, 3:00 p.m., STC 0060.

NEW - Cryptography, Security, and Privacy Colloquium, “Average-case fine-grained hardness, and what to do with it,” Prashant Nalini Vasudevan, PhD candidate, MIT, Friday, June 16, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., DC 2585.

NEW - Senate meeting, Monday, June 19, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

NEW - Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Lecture featuring Professor Göran Andersson, "Research Challenges of the Future Electric Power System," Monday, June 19, 2:00 p.m., EIT 3142. 

PhD seminar, A biologically constrained model of semantic memory search,” Ivana Kajić, PhD candidate, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Tuesday, June 20, 11:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m., DC 2310. Note the corrected date.