Author Archives: Ghoussoub

Louis Nirenberg (1925-2020)

By Professor Ivar Ekeland, le 17 Avril 2020 Nous sommes nombreux, en ce jour de janvier, à avoir reçu le message : « Louis est mort cette nuit ». On ne parlait pas encore du COVID-19, qui était encore confiné … Continue reading

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UBC: The ill-fated revolt of those who ought to know better

“We the undersigned are writing to express deep concern with the lack of transparency regarding the decision on the renewal of the Provost”. This looks like an ordinary enough preface to a standard petition signed by the usual “rebellious” suspects at a North American university. … Continue reading

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Shiny, happy, oblivious science

by Dr. Jim R. Woodgett The government of Canada released a budget on April 19th, 2021, the first for two years. It was, as anticipated, a high spending, deficit projecting budget that clears the ground for pandemic recovery with its centre … Continue reading

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NSERC has lost its bearings … again

The last time I used this title was in 2012. Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) had grown embarrassed by the dwindling success rate in its postdoctoral fellowship program, the latest having clocked in at 7.8%. So, Suzanne Fortier, … Continue reading

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The Learning & Research of the UBC Board of Governors (II)

(This post is a slightly updated version of an article that appeared on October 10 in The Ubyssey). On September 12, I resigned from the Chair of the Learning and Research (L&R) Committee of the Board. I chose to do … Continue reading

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The Learning & Research committee of the UBC Board: What a difference a year makes (I)

“You had demanded to chair the Learning and Research Committee,” the Chair of the Board proclaimed at last week’s open meeting of a Board’s committee. You bet I did, I replied, “because the reason I ran for the Board one more time … Continue reading

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UBC: Failures in governance are slowing down the pace of academic renewal

I had promised many things to those who elected me to the Board of Governors as a faculty representative for UBC-Vancouver. But as I mentioned in a previous post, a data dump from the faculty association last October opened my eyes … Continue reading

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A research community at the mercy of a leaderless NSERC  

The bureaucrats of a leaderless NSERC have extended the 5-year grants of three research institutes by two years. This amounts to assigning awards exceeding $7,500,000. They have done so without peer review and against the wishes of one of their … Continue reading

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A busy first four months on the UBC Board of Governors

Things are different from my earlier 2008-14 term on the Board of Governors, but I still don’t know exactly why. The 2015-17 “revolt of the faculty” has surely been a factor. The UBClean campaign was triggered by questionable actions of … Continue reading

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Academic publishing in the time of sanctions and boycotts

On December 7th, the academic publisher Taylor & Francis informed two authors that they are unable to publish their mathematical research paper, even though it had been accepted by the editorial board of one of its journals two years after submission … Continue reading

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Maurice Sion: 1927 – 2018

Maurice Sion was a very dear friend and a distinguished colleague in the mathematics department at the University of British Columbia. He died peacefully in his sleep on April 20, 2018. Maurice retired from UBC in 1989, after a career … Continue reading

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Robert M. Miura: 1938 – 2018

I just got word that my friend and colleague, Robert Miura, passed away on November 25th. Robert was born in Selma, California, to an immigrant family from Japan. When he was three years old, he and his family were sent … Continue reading

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When the Walls of Governance Come Crumbling Down

“We are deeply disappointed that Janis Sarra has had to step down as Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies … Like her, we will all work to secure the academic independence of the Institute and its programs, … Continue reading

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Why I am voting against the tuition increases for domestic students

During my previous two terms on the UBC Board of Governors from 2008 to 2014, I always voted in support of the administration’s maximum government-allowable 2% increases in tuition fees for domestic students. But things are different this time. The … Continue reading

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Resignation of the director of the Wall Institute: The reaction

The Board of Trustees of the Wall Institute is trying to reach out to a revolted UBC community by announcing a one-year moratorium on the changes they had dictated, only a week ago, to Director Philippe Tortell. This had led to … Continue reading

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Why I am resigning from the directorship of the Wall institute

By Professor Philippe Tortell Universities are places where imagination and unconstrained thinking converge to produce major advancements in fundamental knowledge.  Intellectual breakthroughs hide in unusual places, and often appear when they are most unexpected.  For this reason, the University must … Continue reading

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Accountability and Governance at UBC: Budget

By Professor Mark Thomson Mac Lean Over the past months I have become increasingly concerned about the disparity between UBC’s growing tuition revenues and enormous budget surpluses, and the struggles that many academic departments face in meeting their teaching and … Continue reading

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NSERC corrects a mistake, but many remain unaddressed

No, I am not talking about the sudden and probably more consequential recent change in NSERC’s leadership, but about an accounting mistake. Yes, it looks minor, but it speaks volume. As I mentioned in a previous post, I resigned last … Continue reading

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Is the BIRS programme multiple disciplinary enough for NSERC?

The programs of the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in Banff and Oaxaca are supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT),  and the … Continue reading

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Calling on #UBC to step up and support our alumni Loujain Al-Hathloul (Arts, 2014)

29 May 2018 Lindsay Gordon, Chancellor, UBC Santa J, Ono, President and vice-Chancellor, UBC Dear Mr Gordon and Dr Ono: “Pursuing excellence in research, learning and engagement to foster global citizenship and advance a sustainable and just society across British … Continue reading

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