PhysiX: Girls Matter inspires young girls to study science
by Natalie Quinlan.
More than 100 girls took part in the second annual PhysiX: Girls Matter event, a day where Grade 7 and 8 girls had the chance to connect with current Waterloo students and explore what the world of science has to offer.
Hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, attendees chose from a variety of hands-on workshops like creating air-cannons, designing planetary mini-putt, and peering through the observatory’s telescope—a highlight for Grade 7 student Kira.
“I’ve been really interested in space and astronomy for a really long time,” Kira said. “So this just kind of added to my interest level.”
Associate Outreach for the event and fourth-year student Samantha Fowler said that while the sciences remain heavily dominated by males, PhysiX provides girls with a tangible opportunity to truly consider physics and astronomy as a career path.
“We chose to target Grades 7's and 8’s because it’s right before they go to high school and that’s where we find we lose a of girls in science,” Fowler said. “If we can get them really excited about science now, hopefully they’ll continue to take science throughout high school and then hopefully university after that.”
While the day offers the chance for like-minded students to meet role models, hear from mentors and make friends, it also allows them to think about the next big step—their future careers.
“Most of my friends don’t really know what they want to be yet, so maybe they can find what they want to be, here,” Grade 7 student Bi said.
And while some are still figuring it out, others like seventh-grader Tinah, said the day’s made her seriously consider swapping career-paths, pending her dream to become a veterinarian of course.
“People think it’s more of a guy’s job for physics and astronomy, but there’s also girls who can do just as well.”
Multimedia collaboration illuminates Handel's "Messiah"
Imagine a performance of Handel's “Messiah” that is a feast not only for the ears, but also the eyes. The Grand Philharmonic Choir is preparing this seasonal classic for performance on Saturday, December 9 at Kitchener's Centre in the Square.
This performance will be unique aurally and visually, as the audience will experience not only the timelessness of Handel's music, but also projected hand-crafted images from the Saint John's Bible, a copy of which is now in residence at St. Jerome's University.
Commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John's Abbey and by Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, this Bible is one of a very few since the 16th century that has been hand-written and hand-illuminated, using natural handmade inks, hand-ground pigments and gold leaf. The images are created with ancient techniques but offer bold, modern interpretations of the familiar stories, including images from the Hubble Space Telescope and strands of DNA woven into illuminations.
The depiction of the Nativity shows a solid bar of gold (a symbolic representation of the Divine) descending to the stable where the newborn Jesus lay, with the silhouettes of the cattle in sharp relief.
"This is Handel's “Messiah” as you've never seen it before," said the choir's artistic director, Mark Vuorinen. "These images are just stunning, and will bring a whole new dimension to the music."
Vuorinen, who is also professor of music at Conrad Grebel University College, has worked for months with the University's Critical Media Lab to get the images transformed to digital from ink and paper.
“For us, this project is about translating a complex literary text into a moving picture. It's a dance between old and new media, big books and big data projectors,” said Marcel O’Gorman, English professor and director of the Critical Media Lab. “This giant set of handmade books is a very conspicuous and important intrusion in a digital culture ruled by fleeting, disposable digital images. We wanted to capture that idea with our ambient animations."
Christie Digital, Dejero, the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, St. Jerome's University, Conrad Grebel University College and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton are also important partners in this project, which blends 21st-century ideas and technology with traditional music and art.
Soloists for Messiah are Jacqueline Woodley, soprano; Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano; Andrew Haji, tenor; and Russell Braun, baritone. The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony will accompany the choir, with Vuorinen conducting.
The performance, complete with images, will also be live-streamed to Kitchener City Hall's Cark Zehr Square for enjoyment by the public, free of charge.
For those attending the concert, there is a pre-concert talk by Fr. Eric Hollas, who was instrumental in the commissioning of the Saint John's Bible. Copies of the Bible will also be on display in the Centre's lobby for audience members to view and explore. This year is also the choir's 95th anniversary, having operated continuously since 1922.
The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Centre in the Square. Tickets can be purchased online.
Notes as examinations begin
It's beginning to look a lot like exam time, everywhere you go. For students, where they go to write their exams is a bit of an issue during the construction of the SLC/PAC Expansion. Students writing finals in the PAC will be able to enter from the South and West entrances on the Ring Road side. Entrance to the gym will begin 15 minutes prior to the start of each exam. Best of luck navigating the construction site, and of course, navigating your final exams!
The President's Holiday Luncheon takes place tomorrow at Federation Hall beginning at noon. This event, which officially brings the 60th Anniversary celebration to a close, is free and open to all. Remarks will begin at 12:15 p.m.
The Warrior Van will be parked outside of Federation Hall during the luncheon. In the spirit of giving, we encourage our campus community to bring along an unwrapped toy, which will be donated to the Knights of Columbus toy drive.
It was a day to reflect, honour and raise awareness. Wednesday, December 6 marked the 28th anniversary of the École Polytechnique de Montréal tragedy, where 14 women were killed for pursuing their dream of becoming engineers. To commemorate those lives lost, 14 female Waterloo engineering students lined the front of Sedra Student Design Centre, each one holding a candle to represent each life lost. Key participants included President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur, Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan, Professor and Associate Vice-President Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Diana Parry, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo Catherine Fife.