Cast your ballot in Chemistry’s New Elements Contest
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.
Dam it: reservoirs act as major carbon sinks, study finds
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.