Monthly Archives: November 2010

Way before Preston Manning became the patron saint of Canadian scientists

Back in 1995, and way before Gwyn Morgan took up this role, Reform party MP Randy White, was on a mission to illustrate waste in government by trying to discredit what is now called NSERC’s discovery grant program. His staff … Continue reading

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A paradigm shift in knowledge transfer and graduate training

  UBC has been pro-active in integrating non-academic internships into its academic programs. The Science and Applied Science Faculties, and the Sauder School already have a good track record in this direction, through the traditional Coop programs for undergraduate students. … Continue reading

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National strategies and long term visions ought to be developed by research communities and not bureaucrats

Throughout the scientific enterprise there is a pressing need to create a platform for communities of researchers to jointly articulate a vision for their research efforts, to devise a strategy for achieving this vision, and to be accountable for this … Continue reading

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A Call for the establishment of a North American Research Agency

  The research enterprise is by definition international; if one wants to be a leader in this community, one must be tied in. The European Community has been extremely proactive in promoting collaborative research efforts by supporting European and international … Continue reading

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Doubt is our product

In a recent book, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”, US historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway take on those they say have sown doubt about … Continue reading

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Love in the age of algorithms

  “Is Math replacing independent thought”, screams the front page of today’s Globe and Mail (the title has been mercifully changed since this morning!). It is simply hard to believe that such a silly article can be written and published. … Continue reading

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Committing to a global ambition: Pitfalls and rewards

On Nov. 4, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty wrapped up Ontario’s mission to China by announcing a new Trillium Scholarship program designed to attract the world’s best graduate students to pursue doctoral studies in Ontario: 75 scholarships — each one providing … Continue reading

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The astronaut and the mathematician

President Stephen Toope and his wife Paula Rosen hosted a lovely reception last night at their house in honor of Julie Payette and Louis Nirenberg, this year’s recipients of UBC’s honorary degrees. With her familiar gracious and humorous style, the … Continue reading

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Beware the British Bug

The news for British universities are particularly bad as of late. Higher education will suffer major budget cuts under a recent spending review released by the British government. Excluding research support, which will remain flat, the amount of money going … Continue reading

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Thickening connections?

NY Times’ conservative columnist, David Brooks, writes about what America needs to do to achieve success in the future. “Building that America means doing everything possible to thicken connections: finance research to attract scientists; improve infrastructure to ease travel; fix … Continue reading

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The art of recycling funding announcements

“Canada boosts university research funding,” screams the CBC: a whopping $275.6 million into science and technology research. A closer look shows that all what they are announcing (again) is this year’s installment on what past governments had committed a long … Continue reading

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Why this blog?

I have been scratching my head for a while as to what it means to represent the faculty on the Board of Governors. How can I know the issues that my colleagues care about, and where they stand on them? … Continue reading

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“International students are our classmates and our friends …

They deserve to be treated fairly by our institutions and our government,” said Meaghan Coker, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), which represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, university students at seven Ontario institutions.

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Make up your mind Canada

Do we or don’t we want foreign talent to move to Canada? So many mixed signals.

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A pillar of UBC zoology passes away

David R. Jones, UBC Professor Emeritus,  Member, Order of Canada (2003), Distinguished Scholar, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC (2002),  Flavelle Medal, Royal Society of Canada (2000), Killam UBC Research Prize (1993),  Fry Medallist, Canadian Society of Zoologists, … Continue reading

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Physics Nobel catching up with Nobel for Peace

I thought I was the only one whining about our colleagues not getting the Nobel prize for Physics.Wrong! According to Naturenews, the Nobel prize committee did not do its homework before making the 2010 award for physics.

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Do you want to be a governor? Part II

I blogged about my own experience on UBC’s Board of Governors, and others’ but I did not mention the biggest surprise of all. It was supposed to be a four Board meetings per year affair. The reality was different, and … Continue reading

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From geometry to hedge funds to the theory of computing

  “Mathematical models, miscast as villains in some accounts of the current financial crisis, have been responsible for keeping the hedge funds of at least one carefully watched firm spectacularly profitable. In a classic case of giving back, profits from … Continue reading

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The “binning” of Canadian scientists

I am supposed to participate in a public debate with Isabelle Blain, NSERC’s Vice-President, Research Grants and Fellowships. Topic: Comparison of NSERC Discovery Grant Application Evaluation
 Systems: New and Old Time: Sunday, December 5, 5 PM – 6:20 PM Place: … Continue reading

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The second death of Erwin Schrödinger

The Austrian Ministry of Science informed the Erwin Schrödinger Institute (ESI) on November 8, 2010, that the Institute’s funding would be terminated on January 1, 2011, which essentially coincides with the 50th anniversary of Schrödinger’s death. News spread among the … Continue reading

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