Science TLDR: This week on campus


Nov. 10

The University of Waterloo was one of three schools in the Waterloo region to receive funding dedicated to developing programming centred around the environment and skilled trades. The $3.5 million investment is part of the RBC Foundation’s Future Launch program, which aims to empower students and prepare them for diverse careers in a changing workforce. UW will receive $2 million of the funds over five years, with the remainder divided between Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. The university says the money will be used to support the new bachelor of sustainability and finance management program — the first of its kind in Canada.

Source: City News Kitchener

Nov. 10

A team of students from the University of Waterloo has been selected to compete in a challenge to engineer the next-generation of battery electric and autonomous vehicles. The EcoCar challenge will take place over the next four years and is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, MathWorks and General Motors (GM). GM will provide the students with an electric vehicle, and it is their job to find ways to enhance its propulsion system capabilities. The UW students will compete against students from 15 other North American universities, including a team from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. At the end of the competition, teams will drive their test vehicles from Yuma to Phoenix, Arizona — a distance just under 300 kilometres. Their design must be energy efficient, meet current decarbonization standards and be customer-friendly. Participating universities will also receive a portion of $6 million USD in funding to support recruitment and retention of diverse students and faculty in STEM programs.  

Source: Electric Autonomy Canada

Nov. 14

Three UW programmers placed 17th at the International Collegiate Programming contest held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Nov. 6–11. Wesley Leung (BSE 2022), Jason Yuen (BMath CS 2022) and Ildar Gainullin (BMath) participated in the five-hour contest, which is the most prestigious and well-known algorithmic competition for university students. The challenge involved solving 12 real-world algorithmic programming problems, and the team completed seven to become the top team from Canada and third in North America. The contest had been postponed since May 2021 due to the pandemic and involved 137 teams of university students from 69 countries. 

Source: UW Daily Bulletin

Nov. 15

UW professor Donna Strickland received the Order of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa last week. Strickland received the Nobel Prize in 2018 for her work in laser physics and is one of only three women to ever win the physics award. Strickland’s groundbreaking work laid the foundation for a technique called chirped-pulse amplification (CPA) used to create the most intense laser beams ever made by humans. The technology is used to manufacture cell phone screens and for corrective eye surgery.

Strickland was born in Guelph, Ont., and received her undergraduate degree from McMaster University in Hamilton and completed her doctorate at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Strickland has been an associate professor in the UW physics department since 1997.

Source: The Toronto Star

Nov. 15

A UW chemical engineering professor is the winner of this year’s En-Hui Yang Engineering Research Innovation Award. Costas Tzoganakis developed a chemical-free way to break down old tires and turn them into Tire Derived Polymer (TDP), a rubber compound used in tires, molding, conveyors and other applications. Tzoganakis’ research has led to advanced sustainability in the tire industry and led to practical uses for old tires that would otherwise be burned. The award is bestowed by the UW engineering department to outstanding faculty each year.

Source: UW Engineering