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  • richardmitnick 1:58 pm on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Michelle Kunimoto, U British Columbia,   

    From UBC: “UBC astronomy student discovers four new planets” Women in Science 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    May 30, 2016
    No writer credit found

    1
    Michelle Kunimoto

    Michelle Kunimoto’s bachelor degree in physics and astronomy sent her on a journey out of this world—and led to the discovery of four new worlds beyond our solar system.

    The planets, designated “planet candidates” until independently confirmed, are exciting discoveries. Two are the size of Earth, one is Mercury-sized, and one is slightly larger than Neptune. But it’s this last one, the largest of the four, that is of special interest.

    Officially catalogued as KOI (Kepler Object of Interest) 408.05 and located 3,200 light years away from Earth, the planet occupies the habitable zone of its star where the temperature would allow liquid water and maybe life.

    “Like our own Neptune, it’s unlikely to have a rocky surface or oceans,” said Kunimoto, who graduates today from UBC. “The exciting part is that like the large planets in our solar system, it could have large moons and these moons could have liquid water oceans.”

    “Pandora in the movie Avatar was not a planet, but a moon of a giant planet,” said Jaymie Matthews, a UBC professor of astronomy.

    While the possibility of life is enticing, Kunimoto was excited about the discovery for other reasons. As part of a course designed to give astronomy students research and career experience, she spent months sifting through data from NASA’s Kepler satellite, trying to find anything that other scientists overlooked.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope
    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    The Kepler space telescope spent four years staring at about 150,000 stars in our own galaxy, looking for periodic changes in the brightness of stars over time and collecting data known as light curves.

    “A star is just a pinpoint of light so I’m looking for subtle dips in a star’s brightness every time a planet passes in front of it,” said Kunimoto. “These dips are known as transits, and they’re the only way we can know the diameter of a planet outside the solar system.”

    The larger the orbit, the fewer transits you see. Which is why the discovery of this warm Neptune is so rare. It takes 637 days for the planet to orbit its sun. Of the nearly 5,000 planets and planet candidates found by the Kepler satellite, only 20 have longer orbital periods than KOI 408.05.

    Kunimoto and Matthews have submitted their findings to the Astronomical Journal. In September, she’ll be returning to UBC to begin a master’s degree in physics and astronomy, hunting for more planets and investigating whether they could support life.

    In the meantime, the new graduate and Star Trek fan got the chance to meet a real-life star and space explorer. On Saturday, she met William Shatner backstage at the UBC100 What’s Next? event and told him about these possible new destinations for a future Starship Enterprise.

    A video and images can be downloaded from here.


    Access mp4 video here .

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:08 am on January 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dr. Jaymie Matthews, U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “The Next Hundred Years” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    Temp 1
    Feature Story

    We asked researchers to transport themselves into the future.
    Here’s what Dr. Jaymie Matthews from the Physics and Astronomy Department at UBC had to say.

    Q
    If you could transport yourself to the future, what would you be teaching/researching in 100 years?

    Temp 2

    It is hard to imagine a more fundamental discovery for science, for philosophy, for theology, and for culture, than proof that we are not alone in the Universe.

    A: It’s hazardous to predict even a decade into the future, let alone a century. Some of the topics about exoplanets (alien worlds beyond our Solar System) which I shared with UBC students in my ASTR 101 and ASTR 333 courses this year were not even on anybody’s radar a decade ago. The pace of exoplanetary discovery is just that rapid and that dramatic.

    But there are some subjects I’m sure will be on the UBC syllabus in 2115:

    ENGL 3289.76 — Alien Pastoral Poetry

    The concepts of “rural life” depicted in pastoral poems expanded to cosmic horizons in the wake of the discovery of extraterrestrial life in the 2030s, through infrared spectral signatures of microbes on exoplanets found in the early 21st Century.

    APSC N=55107 / PHIL 10800 — Ethics of Mars Terraforming

    Elon Musk III and his company Global Renovations Inc. want to apply engineering on a planetary scale to make Mars livable for humans. But in a few hundred million years, the Habitable Zone of the Solar System will have moved past Earth and will encompass Mars. Could life evolve on Mars in the far future? Do we have the right to transform a planet — even one uninhabited today — to our liking as a species?

    Q
    How will the work you are doing now influence your field in 100 years?

    A: Exoplanets discovered today by me, my students and my colleagues include ones that are in the “Goldilocks Zone” of their stars. Not too close to the star, not too far, but just right for water oceans, and maybe life.

    These will be the targets for concentrated searches for life, and I’m confident that those searches will find aliens in the next two decades or so. Those aliens won’t be Vulcans or Ewoks but microbes, recognized by biogenic signatures in infrared spectra of those distant worlds.

    It is hard to imagine a more fundamental discovery for science, for philosophy, for theology, and for culture, than proof that we are not alone in the Universe.

    Scientists and students at UBC are laying the groundwork for that transformative moment.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on October 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fuel Cells, U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “Fuel cells are the future: UBC expert” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    October 1, 2015

    Public Affairs
    310 – 6251 Cecil Green Park Road
    Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
    Tel 604 822 6397
    Fax 604 822 2684
    Website http://news.ubc.ca
    Email public.affairs@ubc.ca

    Temp 1
    More fuel-cell cars are in development.

    The recall of 11 million Volkswagen diesel vehicles highlights the challenges of reducing emissions from fossil fuel-powered cars. Fortunately, there’s an alternative and it has zero emissions. The fuel-cell car is currently being developed by major automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Hyundai.

    Walter Mérida, director of UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), has been researching fuel-cell technology for more than 15 years. When Mercedes-Benz rolls out its new fuel-cell cars in a few years, they’ll feature Canadian technology.

    What are some of the benefits of fuel cells?

    Fuel cells convert hydrogen and other fuels into electricity quietly, efficiently, and without pollution. A fuel-cell car produces zero emissions. You’ll only see water coming out of the tailpipes. And it’s quickly refueled, unlike battery-powered cars which can take hours to recharge.

    Fuel cells can be used to build a renewable, carbon-free energy system if you produce the hydrogen from renewable sources, such as hydroelectricity. The geopolitical impact can be profound. Countries without fossil fuel sources such as oil or natural gas can generate the energy they need, cleanly.

    How far along is fuel cell adoption?

    Auto manufacturers are investing in fuel cell cars, trucks, and other types of vehicles. Hyundai is already leasing fuel-cell SUVs in Vancouver, while Toyota expects to begin delivery of hydrogen fuel-cell cars in California next year. Mercedes-Benz is expected to introduce its new generation of fuel-cell cars in a few years.

    By 2017, fuel-cell car sales are expected to approximate that of electric cars in their early adoption stage.

    As well, refueling networks are being laid out in places like California, where there are 10 public hydrogen fuel stations, and in Japan, where 23 stations have opened and hundreds more are being planned. Germany recently opened its first hydrogen filling station on the autobahn. There are plans for the rollout of more than 50 stations across Europe over the next few years.

    Fuel cells are already part of the power grid in some cities. New York is an example. You could also have small applications, such as cellphones, because fuel cells can be miniaturized.

    Tell us about your work on fuel cells.

    My group at CERC is working on new techniques to ensure the durability and reliability of fuel cells as they move into mass manufacturing. We collaborate with hydrogen fuel-cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems, based in Burnaby, and with Germany’s Mercedes-Benz.

    British Columbia is seen around the world as the leader in this field, and so when Mercedes-Benz decided to open their own production facility for automotive fuel cells in 2012, they chose to come to B.C.

    Is the internal-combustion engine slated for the trash heap?

    Not quite yet. Right now about 80 per cent of our primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels–coal, oil and gas–and combustion will remain an important technology for many more years.

    The main barriers for fuel-cell technology at the moment are the cost of generating power from it, and the lack of an efficient, extensive refueling network. But I see a future for hydrogen fuel cells as a way out of transportation’s extreme dependence on fossil fuels.

    How does the new program you helped develop at UBC fit into all this?

    We’re at the threshold of a big transition in the way we think about energy. The global investment in renewable energy was more than $200 billion in the last year alone. Engineers and executives should know how clean technology can transform the global economy. The new master of engineering leadership (MEL) in clean energy engineering offered by UBC Applied Science will give them that perspective through a combination of management education and advanced engineering courses.

    Walter Mérida is one of the speakers at UBC’s Innovate 2015, a dialogue that brings applied research to the community. For more information or to book interviews, contact ErinRose Handy at 604.822.1524 or erinrose.handy@ubc.ca.

    Background

    About the Clean Energy Research Centre at UBC
    Established in 2000, CERC develops viable solutions for sustainable energy. It is focused on energy systems that simultaneously minimize environmental impact, promote geopolitical stability, and enable economic diversification. CERC works closely with an extensive scientific network across Canada and around the world, and with a number of industry partners.

    About the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL)
    The new master of engineering leadership is a one-year, full-time degree program offered by UBC Applied Science in collaboration with the Sauder School of Business. There are seven engineering specializations: advanced materials manufacturing, clean energy, dependable software systems, green bio-products, integrated water management, naval architecture and marine engineering, and urban systems. UBC Applied Science also offers a master of health leadership and policy in seniors care through the School of Nursing. All eight programs combine technical instruction with personal leadership development, with the first students starting in January 2016.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:36 pm on October 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “Climate change moves mountains — literally” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    October 1, 2015

    Public Affairs
    310 – 6251 Cecil Green Park Road
    Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
    Tel 604 822 6397
    Fax 604 822 2684
    Website http://news.ubc.ca
    Email public.affairs@ubc.ca

    1
    The Surprise Glacier in Alaska. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr

    Climate change is causing more than just warmer oceans and erratic weather. According to scientists, it also has the capacity to alter the shape of the planet.

    In a five-year study published today in Nature, lead author Michele Koppes, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, compared glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula. She and her team found that glaciers in warmer Patagonia moved faster and caused more erosion than those in Antarctica, as warmer temperatures and melting ice helped lubricate the bed of the glaciers.

    2
    Michele Koppes in Alaska.

    “We found that glaciers erode 100 to 1,000 times faster in Patagonia than they do in Antarctica,” said Koppes. “Antarctica is warming up, and as it moves to temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius, the glaciers are all going to start moving faster. We are already seeing that the ice sheets are starting to move faster and should become more erosive, digging deeper valleys and shedding more sediment into the oceans.”

    The repercussions of this erosion add to the already complex effects of climate change in the polar regions. Faster moving glaciers deposit more sediment in downstream basins and on the continental shelves, potentially impacting fisheries, dams and access to clean freshwater in mountain communities. “The polar continental margins in particular are hotspots of biodiversity,” notes Koppes. “If you’re pumping out that much more sediment into the water, you’re changing the aquatic habitat.”

    The Canadian Arctic, one of the most rapidly warming regions of the world, will feel these effects acutely. With more than four degrees Celsius of warming over the last 50 years, the glaciers are on the brink of a major shift that will see them flowing up to 100 times faster if the climate shifts above zero degrees Celsius.

    The findings by Koppes and coauthors also settle a scientific debate about when glaciers have the greatest impact on shaping landscapes and creating relief, suggesting that they do the most erosive work near the end of each cycle of glaciation, rather than at the peak of ice cover. The last major glacial cycles in the Vancouver region ended approximately 12,500 years ago.

    The study, Observed latitudinal variations in erosion as a function of glacier dynamics, appears in Nature.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:41 pm on September 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “UBC students give bees a chance” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    September 18, 2015
    No Writer Credit

    1
    A group of UBC students is betting probiotics could be the key to protecting bees from death caused by harmful pesticides.

    “We rely heavily on bees for our food. They pollinate more than $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S. every year, but they are dying at alarming rates,” said Yu Qing Du, a second-year engineering physics student. “We wanted to address an important issue with a worldwide impact.”

    Du is part of a team of 20 engineering and science students that spent the summer developing a probiotic for honey bees, which they’ve coined the ‘pro-bee-otic.’

    Many people take probiotics to increase the number of “good bacteria” in their digestive system. For their project, the students identified a species of bacteria that lives only in the gut of honeybees. They spent the summer trying to figure out how to genetically engineer the bacteria to break down neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide that has been linked to bee death and is thought to contribute to colony collapse disorder.

    “Neonicotinoids are the most widely used pesticides because it harms insects but not mammals like people,” said Jeanne Chan, a third year biochemistry student.

    The students are taking their idea to the 2015 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition later this month in Boston. Over 200 teams from more than 30 countries will present new research on biologically engineered organisms. Teams are evaluated on a set of criteria by competition judges.

    “The students find the iGEM experience both empowering in terms of what is possible and humbling in the work required for success,” said Michael Murphy, a professor of microbiology & immunology who is supervising the UBC team along with a number of graduate students. “After attending the competition students appreciate the importance of communication to all stakeholders in science and engineering.”

    2
    Students involved the project are pictured in the lab.

    Students are working with bacteria known as Gilliamella apicola and their biggest challenge is to turn it into a “probeeotic” that helps bees break down the toxic chemicals in pesticides.

    “It’s a difficult process because there’s not much research on the bacteria we’re working with,” said Darren Christy, a third-year biochemistry student. “We’ve been trying different ways to get the genes into the bacteria.”

    If they are successful, commercial beekeepers could one day mix the bacteria into a sucrose-water solution kept near the hives. The bees would ingest the bacteria and take it back to their hives where they would pass it on to the other bees in the colony when they regurgitate food or through social activities like cleaning.

    Bee die-offs and the use of neonicotinoids have been in the spotlight recently. Just last week, a U.S. court overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of a type of neonicotinoid called sulfoxaflor because of its potential risk to bees.

    3
    A bee is pictured inside the lab.

    The student team is concerned about how their solution to this problem might be perceived by others given the concerns about genetically modified organisms.

    “As it stands right now, pesticides are essential for modern agriculture,” said Du. “The European ban on neonicotinoids was recently temporarily suspended for 120 days in England to help farmers protect crops from the cabbage stem flea beetle. We need to keep exploring different avenues to deal with this issue.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:30 pm on September 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “First superconducting graphene created by UBC researchers” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    September 8, 2015
    No Writer Credit

    1
    Researchers add lithium to graphene to create superconductivity. Credit: Andrea Damascelli.

    Graphene, the ultra-thin, ultra-strong material made from a single layer of carbon atoms, just got a little more extreme. UBC physicists have been able to create the first ever superconducting graphene sample by coating it with lithium atoms.

    Although superconductivity has already been observed in intercalated bulk graphite—three-dimensional crystals layered with alkali metal atoms, based on the graphite used in pencils—inducing superconductivity in single-layer graphene has until now eluded scientists.

    2
    Andrea Damascelli

    “This first experimental realization of superconductivity in graphene promises to usher us in a new era of graphene electronics and nanoscale quantum devices,” says Andrea Damascelli, director of UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute and leading scientist of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study outlining the discovery.

    Graphene, roughly 200 times stronger than steel by weight, is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb pattern. Along with studying its extreme physical properties, scientists eventually hope to make very fast transistors, semiconductors, sensors and transparent electrodes using graphene.

    “This is an amazing material,’” says Bart Ludbrook, first author on the PNAS paper and a former PhD researcher in Damascelli’s group at UBC. “Decorating monolayer graphene with a layer of lithium atoms enhances the graphene’s electron–phonon coupling to the point where superconductivity can be stabilized.”

    Given the massive scientific and technological interest, the ability to induce superconductivity in single-layer graphene promises to have significant cross-disciplinary impacts. According to financial reports, the global market for graphene reached $9 million in 2014 with most sales in the semiconductor, electronics, battery, energy, and composites industries.

    The researchers, which include colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research through the joint Max-Planck-UBC Centre for Quantum Materials, prepared the lithium-decorated graphene in ultra-high vacuum conditions and at ultra-low temperatures (-267 degrees Celsius or 5 Kelvin), to achieve this breakthrough.

    UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute

    UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute (QMI) is internationally recognized for its research and discoveries in quantum structures, quantum materials, and applications towards quantum devices. A recent $66.5-million investment from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will broaden the scope of QMI’s research and support the discovery of practical applications for computing, electronics, medicine and sustainable energy technologies.

    Study: Evidence for superconductivity in Li-decorated monolayer graphene in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Tracking number: 2015-10435R

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
    • flowerpoet 3:47 pm on September 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      an amazing breakthrough with ever-increasing possibilities…thanks for sharing this info

      Like

  • richardmitnick 1:12 pm on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “Breakthrough discoveries change how we understand breast cancer” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    8.29.15
    No Writer Credit

    1
    No image credit

    Through a series of major breakthrough studies, scientists at UBC and the BC Cancer Agency have transformed our understanding of breast cancer and set the stage for the development of new treatments.

    It began with a landmark discovery in 2009.

    By decoding—for the first time in history—the three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a patient’s metastatic lobular breast cancer and following its evolution over nine years, Dr. Samuel Aparicio, Dr. Marco Marra and Dr. Sohrab Shah were able to show how this complex cancer mutates and spreads.

    Aparicio is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC and heads the BC Cancer Agency’s Department of Molecular Oncology; Marra directs the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC; and Shah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC, a Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, and Canada Research Chair in Computational Cancer Genomics.

    The research team they led found that of the 32 mutations in the metastatic tumour, only five could have been present in all the cells of the original tumour, thereby identifying them as the suspected cause of the disease getting started in the first place.

    The internationally significant findings were published in the prestigious journal Nature.

    “This is a watershed event in our ability to understand the causes of breast cancer and to develop personalized medicines for our patients,” declared Aparicio at the time.

    In 2012, international research led by Aparicio at the BC Cancer Agency and Dr. Carlos Caldas at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute was able to classify breast cancer into ten subtypes. They then grouped these subtypes by common genetic features, which correlate with survival, to suggest how treatments could be tailored to treat women with better defined types of breast cancer.

    This discovery followed on the heels of Aparicio, Shah and Marra leading the decoding of the most deadly triple-negative breast cancer. This research similarly discovered new genes that had never before been linked to the disease and showed that breast cancer is an umbrella term for what is really a number of unique diseases.

    Aparicio and Shah have since led further research to understand and predict how these complex cancers evolve over time.

    The two researchers used Shah’s statistical modelling software, PyClone, to analyze the billions of pieces of genetic data gathered from the tumour samples. Their findings, published in Nature in 2014, provided a map for how certain breast cancers evolve to become drug resistant over time.

    “By pinpointing which individual cancer cells are the ‘resilient’ ones that are most likely to have an impact on patient survival,” says Shah, “We are paving the way for drug development and treatment practices that will stop these cellular superbugs from taking over.”

    “Because of this research we have a way to identify the cancer ‘super-cells’ and stay one step ahead of disease progression by tailoring effective treatments to individual patients,” adds Aparicio.

    It’s a radical shift in the way we understand cancer—one that is of vital importance to both the global cancer research community and to future drug studies.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:24 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , STEMx, U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “Dr. Susan Crichton | Knowledge Mobilization” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    1

    On November 2, 2013 the first Maker Day was held in the Faculty of Education’s Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) on UBC’s Okanagan campus. Jointly hosted by the faculty and the Industry Training Authority (ITA), Maker Day was envisioned by Dr. Susan Crichton, director of the ILC and an associate professor in the Faculty of Education, as an immersive, professional development opportunity for educators.

    According to Crichton, from as early as Grade 2, children start opting out of STEMx (science, technology, engineering, math and design) courses and by Grade 8, she says “the die is cast and you can look around and see that a particular demographic goes into STEMx and a particular demographic who doesn’t.

    “So what we’re trying to do is step in with initiatives like Maker Day and bringing design thinking into schools by targeting K to 8 [kindergarten to Grade Eight] teachers.”

    The ‘maker movement’, also known as the DIY movement, grew out of our natural desire to create, to make things, as opposed to buying them. By regarding design challenges as opportunities for exploration and innovation, the movement bridges disciplines such as engineering and art, craft and manufacturing.

    Although the movement has grown around the world over the last decade, it has not translated into school curriculum and yet it is here where it is most critical.

    “The youth of today are consumers of technology but not necessarily the makers of technology,” explains Crichton “There is a gap in advanced manufacturing in Canada. We rarely teach coding or computer science in K to 12 and we’re not attracting people into the trades because there is still some stigma around them.”

    Conceived and launched just over a year ago (November 2, 2013), the first Maker Day at the UBC Okanagan campus was a huge success. There were 80 educators from districts across the Okanagan Valley, 7 student teachers in our Trades and Technology course within the Bachelor of Ed program along with well-connected local members of the ILC advisory board. Subsequent Maker Days have included teachers from districts across the province including Maple Ridge, Sicamous, and Central Okanagan. Recently, Crichton held a Maker Day in Enderby with the Bachelor of Ed students from UBC Okanagan and has plans to create a Maker Day in 2015, once again funded by ITA, which will teach simple technologies to encourage coding.

    Crichton believes that education needs to be re-imagined and incorporating trades at an early level will create new generations of students who are not only better equipped for the future, they will be inspired to create a better one for themselves and the world.
    “If you understand design thinking, you really see the world in a different light. You feel empowered that you can make a difference.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:30 pm on January 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , U British Columbia   

    From UBC: “Astronomers use vanishing neutron star to measure space-time warp” 

    U British Columbia bloc

    University of British Columbia

    January 8, 2015
    UBC Science Media Contacts
    Chris Balma
    Communications
    UBC Science
    balma@science.ubc.ca
    604.822.5082
    604.202.5047 (c)

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    Coordinator, Communications
    silvia.moreno-garcia@science.ubc.ca
    604.827.5001

    In an interstellar race against time, astronomers have measured the space-time warp in the gravity of a binary star and determined the mass of a neutron star—just before it vanished from view.

    The international team, including University of British Columbia astronomer Ingrid Stairs, measured the masses of both stars in binary pulsar system J1906. The pulsar spins and emits a lighthouse-like beam of radio waves every 144 milliseconds. It orbits its companion star in a little under four hours.

    “By precisely tracking the motion of the pulsar, we were able to measure the gravitational interaction between the two highly compact stars with extreme precision,” says Stairs, professor of physics and astronomy at UBC.

    “These two stars each weigh more than the Sun, but are still over 100 times closer together than the Earth is to the Sun. The resulting extreme gravity causes many remarkable effects.”

    According to general relativity, neutron stars wobble like a spinning top as they move through the gravitational well of a massive, nearby companion star. Orbit after orbit, the pulsar travels through a space-time that is curved, which impacts the star’s spin axis.

    “Through the effects of the immense mutual gravitational pull, the spin axis of the pulsar has now wobbled so much that the beams no longer hit Earth,” explains Joeri van Leeuwen, an astrophysicist at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and University of Amsterdam, who led the study.

    “The pulsar is now all but invisible to even the largest telescopes on Earth. This is the first time such a young pulsar has disappeared through precession. Fortunately this cosmic spinning top is expected to wobble back into view, but it might take as long as 160 years.”

    The mass of only a handful of double neutron stars have ever been measured, with J1906 being the youngest. It is located about 25,000 light years from Earth.

    The results were published in the Astrophysical Journal and presented today at the American Astronomical Society meeting.

    Image of system

    One orbit of pulsar J1906 (on the right, with radio beams) around its companion (centered), with space-time curvature (blue grid). Joeri van Leeuwen.
    http://www.astron.nl/pulsars/pr/J1906/

    Image of Terzan 5
    2
    Globular cluster Terzan 5, home to J1906. Wikipedia.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terzan_5#mediaviewer/File:Commotion_in_a_C…

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U British Columbia Campus

    The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s West Coast spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. Its entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

     
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