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  • richardmitnick 12:24 pm on December 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The “Shocking” Mystery about Filaments", , , , , , , Shock, U Toronto   

    From astrobites: “The “Shocking” Mystery about Filaments” 

    Astrobites bloc

    From astrobites

    Dec 24, 2019
    Michael Foley

    Title: The isothermal evolution of a shock-filament interaction
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.05242
    Authors: K. J. A. Goldsmith and J. M. Pittard
    First Author’s Institution: School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

    Status: Open access on arXiv

    Galaxies are built from black holes, stars, gas, and dust. While the stars and black holes may get most of the attention, the gas and dust play crucial roles in the evolution of a galaxy. Gas and dust are responsible for forming stars, feeding the central supermassive black hole, and regulating the chemical composition of the galaxy. Consequently, understanding the dynamics of the gas and dust is very important if we want to learn how galaxies work.

    One critical mechanism in the workings of galaxies is shocks.

    This X-ray image was produced by combining a dozen Chandra observations made of the central region of the Milky Way. The colors represent low (red), medium (green) and high (blue) energy X-rays. Chandra’s unique resolving power has allowed astronomers to identify thousands of point-like X-ray sources due to neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, foreground stars, and background galaxies. What remains is a diffuse X-ray glow extending from the upper left to the lower right, along the direction of the disk of the Galaxy. The Chandra data indicate that the diffuse glow is a mixture of 10-million-degree Celsius gas and 100-million-degree gas. Shock waves from supernova explosions are the most likely explanation for heating the 10-million degree gas, but how the 100-million-degree gas is heated is a mystery.

    Gas in galaxies can frequently become supersonic, such as when a supernova explodes, meaning that it travels faster than the local sound speed.

    Bullet Cluster NASA Chandra NASA ESA Hubble, evidence of shock

    This supersonic gas will generate shocks, just like an airplane traveling supersonically will produce a shockwave in the air that creates a sonic boom. The interactions of these shocks with other shocks or gas features can create turbulence or interesting substructures in the interstellar medium, potentially laying the fertile ground for stars to form.

    Today’s paper looks at the interaction of these shocks with filaments of gas. Filaments are long, coherent structures that are found throughout the interstellar medium and that serve as the birthplaces of stars (Figure 1). We know that filaments can be destroyed by shocks, but the exact conditions necessary to destroy a filament remain a mystery. The authors of ran a number of simulations to try to recreate these crime scenes.

    1
    Figure 1: A 50-light-year long filament of star-forming gas found in the Orion Nebula. Image: R. Friesen, Dunlap Institute; J. Pineda, MPE; GBO/AUI/NSF. Taken from the Dunlap Institute.

    Interstellar Medium
    While the space between the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy appears empty, it is actually filled with gas and dust which, together with stars, form a galactic ecosystem called the Interstellar Medium (ISM)—a dynamic landscape of vast, turbulent structures, radiation, nucleosynthesis, shockwaves, and stellar birth and death.

    The ISM is comprised mostly of gas, existing as ions, atoms or molecules. The gas is predominantly hydrogen, but there is also helium, both the products of primordial nucleosynthesis. The ISM also contains trace amounts of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Ionized gas is heated to millions of degrees K, while cold molecular, star-forming gas sits at temperatures measured in tens of degrees K.

    From this rich and dynamic medium come stars which form from dense concentrations of molecular clouds. Then, in a galactic circle of life, they replenish the ISM through the stellar wind they generate, and through supernovae and neutron star mergers that synthesize and disseminate heavier elements into the galaxy.

    The ISM is shaped by many forces: stellar radiation, stellar winds, as well as shockwaves from supernovae that can create “bubbles” in the ISM. Turbulence and magnetic fields also play roles in shaping this environment.

    As such, questions about the birth and death of stars are intricately linked to questions about the ISM. What’s more, a better understanding of the medium is critical in understanding extra-galactic phenomena, like the Cosmic Microwave Background, because we cannot observe them without peering through the filter of the ISM.

    At the Dunlap and U of T:

    Prof. Bryan Gaensler
    Dr. Cameron van Eck
    Dr. Jennifer West
    Jessica Campbell

    How did the authors gather clues? It’s filamentary, my dear Watson.

    To investigate this interaction, the authors conducted simulations of a single shock that crashes into a single filament. In order to better understand the physics, they varied multiple properties in the different simulation runs: the speed of the shock, the density of the filament, the orientation of the filament relative to the shock, and the length of the filament. By looking at how the remnants of the filament changed after varying certain parameters, they can gain clues about which parameters really matter for destroying a filament. Plots of one of these simulations are shown in Figure 2, where a filament is oriented sideways, or parallel to, the shock front. This filament is essentially blown up over time, and it develops interesting turbulence in its wake.

    2
    Figure 2: Filament (100 times more dense than surrounding material and oriented sideways to the shock) being hit by a shock (traveling at 3 times the speed of sound). The gas is color-coded by density, with red corresponding to high-density material and blue representing diffuse material. The development of turbulence and a ‘three-rolled’ structure in the filament material is clear in the last two snapshots. Taken from Figure 2 of the paper.

    The authors found that the filament gas behaved differently when they changed the orientation of the filament relative to the shock, the speed of the shock, and the length and density of the filament. For example, much less turbulence developed when the filament was closer to perpendicular to the shock (Fig 3). Additionally, the filament in Figure 3 was slowly stripped of its material rather than blown up somewhat rapidly like the filament in Figure 2. This means that we could potentially determine the orientation of a filament relative to a shock with only the properties of the remnant gas in the wake.

    3
    Figure 3: Plot of shock (traveling at 3 times the speed of sound) moving through a filament (100 times denser than the surrounding material and oriented at a 60 degree angle to the shock). The shock front is marked by the transition between light grey and white, and it is moving to the right. The filament is shown in dark grey, and each of the 7 panels depicts a single time snapshot. The authors model the shock as a continuous inflow of material, so the simulation remains full of shock material (light grey) even after the shock front reaches the other end. Taken from Figure 5 of the paper.

    Verdicts

    The authors notice many of these trends among the different properties that they tested. They found:

    Filaments oriented closer to perpendicular to the shock had longer and less turbulent wakes.
    Only sideways-oriented filaments developed a three-rolled structure (see Fig. 2), and filaments with densities different than that of the filament in Figure 2 formed more of a ‘C’ shape.
    Faster shocks stripped material from the filament much more quickly than slower shocks did.
    Longer filaments ended up moving faster than shorter filaments since they were exposed to more of the shock.
    These isothermal simulations were able to push the filaments much faster than in adiabatic simulations.

    These results are important for understanding the impact of shocks moving through the interstellar medium. Throughout their journey, they may encounter filaments with various properties. This work will help us to begin to understand what types of shocks are responsible for destroying various types of filaments, bringing us one step closer to solving this ‘shocking’ mystery.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    What do we do?

    Astrobites is a daily astrophysical literature journal written by graduate students in astronomy. Our goal is to present one interesting paper per day in a brief format that is accessible to undergraduate students in the physical sciences who are interested in active research.
    Why read Astrobites?

    Reading a technical paper from an unfamiliar subfield is intimidating. It may not be obvious how the techniques used by the researchers really work or what role the new research plays in answering the bigger questions motivating that field, not to mention the obscure jargon! For most people, it takes years for scientific papers to become meaningful.
    Our goal is to solve this problem, one paper at a time. In 5 minutes a day reading Astrobites, you should not only learn about one interesting piece of current work, but also get a peek at the broader picture of research in a new area of astronomy.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:42 am on May 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Articles about them inevitably refer to entanglement- a property of quantum physics that makes all these magical devices possible., , , Quantum computers; quantum cryptography; and quantum (insert name here) are often in the news these days., , U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “Remote connections? U of T expert on detangling entanglement in quantum physics” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    April 26, 2019
    Amar Vutha

    1
    Entanglement is a “quantum correlation” between the properties of particles (image by Shutterstock)

    Quantum computers, quantum cryptography and quantum (insert name here) are often in the news these days. Articles about them inevitably refer to entanglement, a property of quantum physics that makes all these magical devices possible.

    Einstein called entanglement “spooky action at a distance,” a name that has stuck and become increasingly popular. Beyond just building better quantum computers, understanding and harnessing entanglement is also useful in other ways.

    For example, it can be used to make more accurate measurements of gravitational waves, and to better understand the properties of exotic materials. It also subtly shows up in other places: I have been studying how atoms bumping into each other become entangled, to understand how this affects the accuracy of atomic clocks.

    But what is entanglement? Is there some way to understand this “spooky” phenomenon? I will try to explain it by bringing together two notions from physics: conservation laws and quantum superpositions.

    Conservation laws

    Conservation laws are some of the deepest and most pervasive concepts in all of physics. The law of conservation of energy states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains fixed (although it can be converted from electrical energy to mechanical energy to heat, and so on). This law underlies the workings of all of our machines, whether they are steam engines or electric cars. Conservation laws are a kind of accounting statement: You can exchange bits of energy around, but the total amount has to stay the same.

    Conservation of momentum (momentum being mass times velocity) is the reason why, when two ice skaters with different masses push off from each other, the lighter one moves away faster than the heavier. This law also underlies the famous dictum that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Conservation of angular momentum is why – going back to ice skaters again – a whirling figure skater can spin faster by drawing her arms closer to her body.

    2
    France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron demonstrate the effects of conservation laws during the 2019 ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Belarus (photo by Shutterstock)

    These conservation laws have been experimentally verified to work across an extraordinary range of scales in the universe, from black holes in distant galaxies all the way down to the tiniest spinning electrons.

    Quantum addition

    Picture yourself on a nice hike through the woods. You come to a fork in the trail, but you find yourself struggling to decide whether to go left or right. The path to the left looks dark and gloomy but is reputed to lead to some nice views, while the one to the right looks sunny but steep. You finally decide to go right, wistfully wondering about the road not taken. In a quantum world, you could have chosen both.

    For systems described by quantum mechanics (that is, things that are sufficiently well isolated from heat and external disturbances), the rules are more interesting. Like a spinning top, an electron for example can be in a state where it spins clockwise, or in another state where it spins anticlockwise. Unlike a spinning top though, it can also be in a state that is [clockwise spinning] + [anticlockwise spinning].

    The states of quantum systems can be added together and subtracted from each other. Mathematically, the rules for combining quantum states can be described in the same way as the rules for adding and subtracting vectors. The word for such a combination of quantum states is a superposition. This is really what is behind strange quantum effects that you may have heard about, such as the double-slit experiment, or particle-wave duality.


    PBS Studios: The Double-Slit Experiment. 13 minutes

    Say you decide to force an electron in the [clockwise spinning] + [anticlockwise spinning] superposition state to yield a definite answer. Then the electron randomly ends up either in the [clockwise spinning] state or in the [anticlockwise spinning] state. The odds of one outcome versus the other are easy to calculate (with a good physics book at hand). The intrinsic randomness of this process may bother you if your worldview requires the universe to behave in a completely predictable way, but … c’est la (experimentally tested) vie.

    Conservation laws and quantum mechanics

    Let’s put these two ideas together now, and apply the law of conservation of energy to a pair of quantum particles.

    Imagine a pair of quantum particles (say atoms) that start off with a total of 100 units of energy. You and your friend separate the pair, taking one each. You find that yours has 40 units of energy. Using the law of conservation of energy, you deduce that the one your friend has must have 60 units of energy. As soon as you know the energy of your atom, you immediately also know the energy of your friend’s atom. You would know this even if your friend never revealed any information to you. And you would know this even if your friend was off on the other side of the galaxy at the time you measured the energy of your atom. Nothing spooky about it (once you realize this is just correlation, not causation).

    But the quantum states of a pair of atoms can be more interesting. The energy of the pair can be partitioned in many possible ways (consistent with energy conservation, of course). The combined state of the pair of atoms can be in a superposition, for example: [your atom: 60 units; friend’s atom: 40 units] + [your atom: 70 units; friend’s atom: 30 units].

    This is an entangled state of the two atoms. Neither your atom, nor your friend’s, has a definite energy in this superposition. Nevertheless, the properties of the two atoms are correlated because of conservation of energy: Their energies always add up to 100 units.

    For example, if you measure your atom and find it in a state with 70 units of energy, you can be certain that your friend’s atom has 30 units of energy. You would know this even if your friend never revealed any information to you. And thanks to energy conservation, you would know this even if your friend was off on the other side of the galaxy.

    Nothing spooky about it.The Conversation

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:33 am on May 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "U of T backs federal government’s initiative to increase equity, , At U of T many programs are already in place that work to boost equity on all three campuses., , Systemic barriers faced by under-represented groups in higher education, U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “U of T backs federal government’s initiative to increase equity, diversity, inclusion in higher education” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    May 10, 2019
    Romi Levine

    1
    The federal government’s Dimensions initiative seeks to address the systemic barriers faced by under-represented groups in higher education (photo by Ken Jones)

    The University of Toronto has expressed its support for a new federal government initiative that aims to bolster efforts by higher education institutions across Canada to increase equity, diversity and inclusion on their campuses.

    The initiative, called Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Canada, was announced Thursday by Kirsty Duncan, the federal minister of science and sport. It seeks to address systemic barriers faced by under-represented groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, members of racialized groups, people with disabilities and members of LGBTQ+ communities.

    The federal government also announced a Dimensions charter outlining equity, diversity and inclusion principles that’s open to all post-secondary institutions. U of T has already endorsed the charter’s eight principles, which include an acknowledgement that institutions thrive when equity and inclusivity are embraced, and states that “specific, measurable and sustainable actions are needed to counter systemic barriers, explicit and unconscious biases, and inequities.”

    “The University of Toronto is highly engaged in initiatives that advance equity and inclusion among staff, faculty and students, recognizing that embracing diversity enhances the quality of learning and research, as well as campus life,” said Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation.

    “Dimensions is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the progress we have made so far, while acknowledging there are always ways of strengthening our commitment.”

    The university has a longstanding and fundamental commitment to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion on campus. Efforts to realize that goal include everything from hiring additional Black and Indigenous faculty members and taking steps to close the gender-pay gap, to creating pathways for under-represented students and offering unconscious bias training for faculty and staff.

    In 2006, U of T released a statement on equity, diversity and excellence. Among other things, it says that, “We strive to be an equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons, and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person.”

    At U of T, many programs are already in place that work to boost equity on all three campuses, including recent initiatives that address challenges in research environments.

    U of T’s division of research and innovation last year accepted 49 recommendations from a university working group that promote equity, diversity and inclusion in research and innovation activities. Recommendations covered a range of issues, from research funding to nominations for awards and honours.

    U of T also put out a special call for Canada Research Chair applications in order to recruit chair holders from under-represented groups.

    In 2017, institutions across the country, including U of T, endorsed Universities Canada’s Inclusive Excellence Principles, which served as a public commitment to a set of goals that promoted inclusive practices in higher education.

    The upcoming Dimensions pilot program will be supported by Canada’s research granting councils, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

    “This truly is a critical and transformational step for Canadian post-secondary institutions,” said Duncan in a statement.

    “We know that when we bring together diverse points of view, our health, environment, communities and economy can thrive.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:08 am on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , PRiME-Precision Medicine Initiative at U of T, U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “U of T launches PRiME, a precision medicine initiative” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    April 16, 2019
    Kate Richards

    1
    “The idea is to bring together the cutting-edge work we are doing in precision medicine and give it a central focus point and vision,” said Shana Kelley of U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (photo by Steve Southon)

    The University of Toronto has launched the Precision Medicine Initiative at U of T (PRiME), a new cross-institutional, multi-faculty effort that will leverage the university’s excellence in pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, physical sciences and engineering. It will also establish Toronto as a leading centre for precision medicine.

    “PRiME will bring together scientific leaders, students and post-doctoral fellows from across U of T to spur collaborative efforts focused on the identification of new disease targets, the discovery of molecularly tailored therapeutics and the development of next-generation diagnostics for precision medicine,” said Shana Kelley, University Professor at U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and academic director of PRiME.

    “The idea is to bring together the cutting-edge work we are doing in precision medicine and give it a central focus point and vision.”

    Precision medicine is a burgeoning approach to health care that tailors medical treatment to the specific characteristics of a patient’s disease. This tailored approach is crucial to effectively combat disease given that many conditions – including cancer – have several different subtypes that must be treated differently.

    While genomics has revealed variability between disease subtypes, the field is now moving towards more comprehensive approaches that move beyond reading DNA sequences and seek to incorporate information about the proteome, metabolome, and even the microbiome.
    Disease complexity requires a multidisciplinary approach to treatment

    At launch, PRiME has more than 50 researchers from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. The initial focus areas will include:

    Disease biology and therapeutic target development
    Next-generation biologics for oncology and regenerative medicine
    High-precision diagnostics for non-invasive disease monitoring
    Targeted small molecule development
    Biology-on-chip systems as models of disease
    Nanomedicine strategies for drug delivery

    “Our vision is that PRiME will lead the next generation of high-impact research and translational breakthroughs in precision medicine that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, neurodegenerative, metabolic and infectious diseases,” said Kelley, who is also working to establish a collaborative and interdisciplinary trainee fellowship program as part of PRiME.

    “U of T is ranked within the top ten universities globally in the production of influential research,” said Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation. “An impactful, cross-divisional initiative such as PRiME is possible here because of the extraordinary breadth and depth of excellence we offer across multiple disciplines and in collaboration with our partner hospitals.”

    A PRiME location

    “U of T is a globally recognized powerhouse in biomedical research, engineering and the physical sciences, and this attracts deeply talented students and trainees,” said Kelley. “We are also based steps away from some of the leading academic teaching hospitals in the world, which is crucial to delivering clinically focused discoveries that can be translated to medical care.”

    The proximity factor is a huge advantage for PRiME as it removes a number of activation barriers other institutions might face, Kelley said. “The fact that we are connected to Toronto’s hospital corridor opens up the opportunity for the more informal, casual conversations that really spark exciting new ideas.”

    In addition to cutting-edge biomedical research, U of T is also recognized as an engine for innovation and entrepreneurship, having recently announced a landmark $100-million gift to support the soon-to-be built Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre. The university’s innovation network is among the world’s top five university-based incubators, with demonstrated success in health and life sciences-focused startups.

    Looking ahead

    PRiME is just getting off the ground but is working speedily to build infrastructure and a team that will help grow precision medicine research on campus, said Kelley.

    “We are aiming to announce our trainee fellowship competition by the end of the academic year and plan to host a launch event in the fall that will showcase high-impact research on campus. We are also working to build a network of industry partners and collaborators to further the patient impact goals of PRiME.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:44 am on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "High-tech classrooms and improved accessibility: An inside look at University College renovations", U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “High-tech classrooms and improved accessibility: An inside look at University College renovations” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    April 15, 2019
    Romi Levine

    1
    University College’s renovations are set to be completed in early 2020 (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)

    University College’s grandeur peeks through the swaths of plywood where renovations are currently underway – revealing close-up views of intricate stained glass windows and the storeys-high dome of the Croft Chapter House.

    University of Toronto’s oldest building is undergoing a large-scale revitalization that seeks to bring the building, which is over 160 years old, into the 21st century with the latest classroom technology, significantly improved accessibility and contemporary elements that will complement its heritage features.

    The renovations, which are expected to be completed in early 2020, were made possible thanks to an increase in ancillary fees for UC students and donor gifts, including $3 million from Paul Cadario, U of T alumnus, former member of the Governing Council and a former manager at the World Bank, and a $2.5-million donation by Edmund and Frances Clark, who come from a multi-generational family of UC alumni. Edmund Clark is the former CEO of TD Bank.

    The Clarks also gave $2.1 million to update the UC quad after the interior renovations are complete.

    Donning a hard hat and protective boot coverings, University College Principal Donald Ainslie took U of T News around UC to see how the building is being transformed.

    3
    UC library’s new East Hall location (photo by Romi Levine)

    The centrepiece of the UC revitalization is the library, located in the East Hall. The room is anchored by archways on one side and a sleek, curved white staircase on the other, which leads up to a mezzanine that wraps around the room’s perimeter.

    4
    UC’s vision for the new library, courtesy of Kohn Shnier Architects and ERA Architects

    UC library’s new home isn’t actually new at all – it was where the library was originally located before a fire destroyed it in 1890. The accessible mezzanine is a nod to the one that existed before the fire – and allows for up-close views of stained glass windows that were installed in 1911.

    The trio of stained glass windows (pictured below) commemorate the three U of T students who died in the Fenian raids.

    “In 1866, the Irish nationalists who were U.S. Civil War veterans decided to attack the British Empire by staging incursions around the Fort Erie, Niagara Falls area,” says Ainslie. “The university had just finished exams so the students were called upon to go and fight to defend the empire.”

    5

    Ramps connect each new room in UC – making a building that used to be hard to navigate much more accessible.

    “UC was created to be the college for everyone,” says Ainslie. When the college was created in the late 19th century, it was founded on “the idea that everyone should be able to attend university,” he says. “We’re constantly learning new ways in which we live up to that ideal.”

    Work to make the building more accessible includes installing a new elevator, which can be seen from the quad, and adding an accessible entrance at the front of the building.

    “That’s a really important change and one that’s central to what we’re trying to do,” Ainslie says.

    6

    Inside the Croft Chapter House, the darkened dome is now a bright white (pictured above), with carved wood beams meeting below a halo of windows. This where the Paul Cadario Conference Centre will be located – a modular space allowing for different types of gatherings.

    A glass wall will be installed near the entrance to the Chapter House, which will be inscribed with a line of poetry written by Anne Michaels, a UC alumna and outgoing Toronto poet laureate, and translated into 150 languages currently spoken in Toronto.

    7
    A massive fixture will be installed in the conference centre that is acoustically designed to reduce the echo caused by the room’s high ceilings (rendering courtesy of Kohn Shnier Architects and ERA Architects)

    Creating functional spaces was an important aspect of the revitalization for Ainslie.

    “That was something I certainly realized when I started as principal, that the college had a lot of underutilized space,” he says. “Thus one goal of the revitalization is the development of new spaces that will bring UC students and the whole U of T community into this great building.”

    8
    Those instrumental to UC’s revitalization project, including Ainslie, Cadario, Michaels and U of T President Meric Gertler, were invited to write their names on the wall in the Chapter House – an Easter egg that will be permanently hidden behind its walls (photo by Romi Levine)

    Two classrooms are being upgraded as part of the revitalization project, says Ainslie. Both will be “super smart and super flexible,” outfitted with multiple screens, allowing for two-way conferencing and designed for team-based learning.

    UC partnered with the Faculty of Arts & Science and Academic + Campus Events to create spaces that are optimal for different ways of learning and teaching.

    Learn how U of T is creating innovative, accessible learning spaces.

    9
    A view of one of UC’s many impressive stained glass windows (photo by Romi Levine)

    While upgrades are important and necessary, honouring the heritage of UC was an important part of the revitalization project, says Ainslie.

    “It’s a national historic site and a core building of the university and so we are working very closely with our architects and heritage consultants.”

    10
    Room with a view: Once renovations are completed, this might be one of the most coveted offices in the building (photo by Romi Levine)

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:00 am on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Bo Wang, CIFAR-Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Daniel Roy, David Fleet, U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “U of T researchers named new CIFAR chairs in artificial intelligence” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto


    https://www.cifar.ca/

    1
    U of T’s new CIFAR chairs in artificial intelligence (clockwise from top left): David Fleet, Bo Wang, Alán Aspuru-Guzik and Daniel Roy

    April 09, 2019
    Geoffrey Vendeville

    The new U of T chairs – Alán Aspuru-Guzik, David Fleet, Daniel Roy and Bo Wang – join another eight at U of T who were named among the inaugural group last fall and are all associated with the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

    The four new chairs are expected to play an important part in developing new technologies, from new, state-of-the-art materials to predictive software that promises to improve patient care.

    “Today’s announcement will help U of T increase the number of outstanding artificial intelligence researchers and skilled graduates it produces,” said Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation.

    “It will also help heighten U of T’s, and Canada’s, international profile in AI research and training.”

    CIFAR is at the heart of the $125-million pan-Canadian AI strategy, which is intended to attract and retain the best minds in the rapidly growing and competitive field. CIFAR supports AI researchers across the country based at three institutes: Toronto’s Vector Institute, Edmonton’s Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) and the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute (Mila).

    Aspuru-Guzik, who came to U of T from Harvard University, works at the intersection of theoretical chemistry and computational physics. In his Matter Lab, he and his colleagues use AI to simulate and classify molecules for application in new materials including cleantech and optoelectronics.

    Traditionally, developing new materials required endless experimentation and calculation. “It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack, where the needle is the function of the molecule that you need,” Aspuru-Guzik said. He added that, in the past, experimenters used a scattershot approach but, with AI, they can become sharpshooters.

    “Typically to make a material, it takes $10 million and 10 years of effort,” Aspuru-Guzik said. “So what I’m aiming to do in my research is to bring it down to at least to $1 million and one year per material, and even $100,000 and one month.”

    Canada’s support for AI research is crucial to maintain its early advantage in a field where other countries are looking to be leaders, he added.

    “The AI race is on. This is a race where everybody is putting [forward] their best wheels and race cars. They are pushing their pedals to the limit.”

    As for Wang, he worked as a senior AI consultant for the U.S. biotech company Genentech after obtaining a master’s degree at U of T. He later returned to Toronto to join U of T’s Faculty of Medicine as an assistant professor.

    Wang is also the lead artificial intelligence scientist at the Techna Institute and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network. He applies his research in machine learning, computational biology, and computer vision to refining patient care.

    Fleet, a professor in the department computer and mathematical sciences at U of T Scarborough, said Canada is reaping the rewards of investments in AI going back to the 1980s. That includes supporting pioneers like Geoffrey Hinton, who recently won an A.M. Turing Award, Hector Levesque and Ray Reiter, who made influential contributions to AI, knowledge representation and databases, and theorem-proving.

    “There was the core group that they built the program around in Toronto that was world renowned,” said Fleet, who completed his PhD in computer science at U of T in 1990 and whose research spans computer vision, machine learning, image processing and visual neuroscience.

    U of T Scarborough is also home to Roy, an assistant professor who combines expertise in computer science, statistics and probability theory. His interest in computers started as a child after his parents brought home a Tandy personal computer. He learned how computer games worked and built his own.

    Fast forward to today and Roy is working on the theoretical frontier of machine learning by helping researchers build more reliable and efficient systems.

    Research in AI is advancing so quickly that it’s impossible to predict where it will lead, Roy said. “It’s difficult for me to anticipate what surprising things will show up at the main conferences next year – let alone five years from now.

    “It repeatedly blows my mind.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on February 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A prototype for a key element of all-photonic quantum repeaters, , U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “Towards a Quantum Internet” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    January 31, 2019
    Jessica MacInnis

    1
    U of T’s Hoi-Kwong Lo is among a group of quantum experts who are helping to develop a more secure and stable quantum internet. Photo by Jessica MacInnis

    A University of Toronto researcher is among a global group of experts who have demonstrated, in principle, a device that could serve as the backbone of a quantum internet.

    Hoi-Kwong Lo, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and his collaborators have developed a prototype for a key element of all-photonic quantum repeaters, a critical step in long-distance quantum communication.

    “An all-optical network is a promising form of infrastructure for fast and energy-efficient communication that is required for a future quantum internet,” says Lo, who is cross-appointed to the department of physics in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

    A quantum internet is considered the Holy Grail of quantum information processing, enabling many novel applications including information-theoretic secure communication. By contrast, today’s internet was not specifically designed for security, and it shows: breaches, break-ins and computer espionage are common challenges. Nefarious hackers are constantly poking holes in sophisticated layers of defence erected by individuals, corporations and governments.

    In light of this, researchers have proposed other ways of transmitting data that would leverage key features of quantum physics to provide virtually unbreakable encryption. One of the most promising technologies involves a technique known as quantum key distribution, or QKD. QKD exploits the fact that the simple act of sensing or measuring the state of a quantum system disturbs that system. Because of this, eavesdropping by a third party would leave behind a detectable trace, and the communication could be aborted before sensitive information is lost.

    Until now, this type of quantum security has been only demonstrated in small-scale systems. Lo and his team are among a group of global researchers who are laying the groundwork for a future quantum internet by addressing some of the challenges of transmitting quantum information over great distances using optical fibre communication.

    Because light signals lose potency as they travel long distances through fibre-optic cables, devices called repeaters are inserted at regular intervals along the line. The repeaters boost and amplify the signals to help transmit the information.

    But existing repeaters for quantum information are highly problematic. They require storage of the quantum state at the repeater sites, making the repeaters error prone, difficult to build, and very expensive because they often operate at cryogenic temperatures.

    Lo and his team have proposed a different approach. They are working on the development of the next generation of repeaters, called all-photonic quantum repeaters, that would eliminate or reduce many of the shortcomings of standard quantum repeaters. With collaborators at Osaka University, Toyama University and NTT Corporation in Japan, Lo and his team have demonstrated proof-of-concept of their work in a paper recently published in Nature Communications.

    “We have developed all-photonic repeaters that allow time-reversed adaptive Bell measurement,” says Lo.

    “Because these repeaters are all-optical, they offer advantages that traditional – quantum-memory-based matter – repeaters do not. For example, this method could work at room temperature.”

    A quantum Internet could offer applications that are impossible to implement in the conventional Internet, such as impenetrable security and quantum teleportation, which takes advantage of the phenomenon of quantum entanglement to transmit information between atoms separated by large distances.

    “Our work helps pave the way toward this future,” Lo says.

    The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, among others.

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:49 am on January 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DX-3 Vanguard, Jeremy Wang, or UTAT, Sky Guys, U Toronto, University of Toronto Aerospace Team   

    From University of Toronto: “From paper aircraft to the real thing: U of T graduates develop next-gen drone” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    January 11, 2019
    Erica Rae Chong

    1
    The DX-3 Vanguard is put to the test at Markham Airport. The hybrid drone features vertical take-off and landing, long-range communications and cloud-based analytics (photo courtesy of the Sky Guys)

    Jeremy Wang’s career in aerospace engineering started with folding a simple paper airplane.

    Today, he’s leading a team of designers – including many fellow University of Toronto engineering graduates – to create and test an ambitious long-range drone capable of vertical takeoffs and landings.

    In his first year as an undergraduate, Wang picked up a cleverly-designed paper airplane flyer from the University of Toronto Aerospace Team, or UTAT, at the engineering club fair.

    “I distinctly remember thinking ‘I’m not interested in aerospace, I’m never going to use this,’” he says.

    “But for reasons that I honestly don’t remember, I ended up going to their first meeting with a bunch of friends and thought ‘Wow! This is actually really cool.’”

    Wang would eventually become the group’s executive director and lead a major expansion of the team. His work earned the attention of the New York-based Aviation Week Network, which named him to a prestigious industry list of future engineering leaders.

    But it was his co-op position at The Sky Guys, a local drone company, that set him on the path to his current project. Now the firm’s chief technology officer, Wang and a nine-person team aim to design an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or UAV, that combines the best features of both fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones.

    Traditionally, fixed-wing UAVs are optimized to fly long distances, but they require a long runway or launch rail to take off and land. By contrast, multi-rotor UAVs can perform vertical take-off and landings, but are less efficient for long-distance flying and have a shorter battery life.

    The teams’ creation – the DX-3 Vanguard – features multiple rotors spread across a fixed-wing body making it capable of vertical takeoffs before transitioning into forward flight. The hybrid aircraft can theoretically carry a payload of up to three kilograms, stay aloft for up to 24 hours, and cover up to 1,500 kilometres before refuelling.

    Wang says the prototype can communicate via radio, cellular or satellite signal. “As a pilot, you can be flying the DX-3 Vanguard in Toronto while the drone itself is flying on the west coast of Canada, and you can maintain connectivity over satellite link,” he says.

    The drone is also equipped with a cloud-based data management system, allowing users to process, upload and view images and video data from the DX-3 on a secure platform.

    Such a drone could be used for a wide range of applications. While Wang declined to provide details specific to the DX-3, he reveals that one of the Sky Guys’ key partners is the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The team was awarded a $750,000 innovation grant in 2017 to develop an artificial intelligence-enabled drone to perform highway enforcement tasks. These could include determining the number of passengers in high-occupancy vehicle lanes, tracking the speed of drivers or monitoring road conditions.

    Current federal regulations prohibit drones from flying beyond line-of-sight without a special permit, but Wang remains optimistic regulations will change in the near future. The team has begun early-stage testing of the DX-3 within visual range at Markham Airport, north of Toronto, with plans to test equipment without line-of-sight in the future.

    2
    The prototype drone can communicate via radio, cellular or satellite signal, potentially allowing the operator to fly from the other side of the country (photo courtesy of Sky Guys)

    So far, the team has evaluated basic functional and performance characteristics, including conventional takeoffs and landings, payload envelope and communications. But the biggest challenge the team had to overcome was human in nature.

    “Aerospace engineering involves so many disciplines that have to work together in unison – mechanical, electrical, flight operations, etc. – without necessarily understanding what each person is doing,” says Wang.

    “The challenge was nailing that interdisciplinary coordination.”

    In addition to Wang, the team includes alumni Lucais Kwon, Carl Pigeon, Carson Dueck, Hussein Khimji and Thomas Ulph, many of whom were also involved in UTAT.

    “I think this team is a testament to U of T engineering,” Wang says. “The faculty provides a very solid and rigorous academic foundation, but also a very rich co-curricular environment where you can join design teams, take part in competitions and supplement theory with experiential learning.”

    “It’s also kind of nice to have that continuity between friends you meet in university and the people you spend most of your day with,” he adds.

    “It’s what I’m most excited about when I come to work every day.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation. We are proud to be one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate.

    Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners.

    The ideas, innovations and actions of more than 560,000 graduates continue to have a positive impact on the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 pm on October 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: U of T-founded Creative Destruction Lab receives $25 million from Canadian government, U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “U of T-founded Creative Destruction Lab receives $25 million from Canadian government” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    1
    Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and economic development poses for photographs with Sonia Sennik, the executive director of the Creative Destruction Lab (photo by Eugene Grichko)

    The federal government is investing $25 million in the Creative Destruction Lab, a seed-stage startup program first launched at the University of Toronto.

    The investment, announced today at U of T’s Rotman School of Management, will spur research and development into science-based startups, attract investment in Canadian companies and encourage more young women to pursue opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics) fields.

    “Creative Destruction Lab’s exciting project promises to unleash a new wave of startup innovation across Canada, creating thousands of middle-class jobs and further securing Canada’s position as a world leader in the AI field,” said Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and economic development.

    “Our government is proud to make investments that will help turn hundreds of innovative ideas into the good jobs and companies of tomorrow.”

    The investment, by the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund, will flow over four years, helping CDL back a number of upcoming initiatives. They include scaling up more than 1,300 science-based startups across the country – a move expected to create up to 22,000 jobs. CDL will also launch a new program aimed at encouraging young women to pursue STEM fields, opening up spots at future CDL sessions for up to 1,500 female high school students.

    “This is a tremendous moment,” said Professor Tiff Macklem, who is Rotman’s dean. “Thank you Minister Bains, the Government of Canada and everyone that saw the vision and the opportunity of the Creative Destruction Lab.”

    Founded in 2012 at Rotman School by Professor Ajay Agrawal, CDL focuses on building science-based companies. Over the years, it has helped grow more than 500 science-based ventures through mentorship and access to entrepreneurs and angel investors who help founders set measurable, focused objectives. CDL itself has also expanded significantly and now operates out of five universities across Canada, as well as New York University.

    “First-time founders of science-based companies, while fully committed to the success of their venture and possessing deep knowledge in their technical domain, often lack the business judgment required to prioritize among the almost infinite list of to-dos required to successfully build and scale their business. Our structured and rigorous program helps them with that prioritization process,” said CDL executive director Sonia Sennik. “While we fully leverage market forces to provide prioritization guidance from individuals who themselves have built successfully scaled businesses, the coordination of those market forces requires non-market support.

    “That is why we are so grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our mission that will drive economic impact and create jobs, learning opportunities, and global leadership for deep-tech and science-based companies across Canada.”

    2
    Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation, said CDL itself is an example of a startup that’s now scaling globally (photo by Eugene Grichko)

    CDL supports ventures that specialize in artificial intelligence, blockchain, cities, energy, health, quantum machine learning and more. Companies that have participated in CDL have created more than $3 billion in equity value to date. Alumni of the program include Thalmic Labs (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Deep Genomics (Toronto) and Kyndi (Palo Alto).

    Earlier this year, CDL launched a new stream designed for supporting entrepreneurs interested in breaking into space-related markets.

    The new investment “will not only help the Creative Destruction Lab continue to do business here in Toronto, but at its sites across the country and around the world,” said Professor Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation.

    “The Creative Destruction Lab is an example of a startup that is now scaling globally.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Toronto Campus

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Equity diversity and inclusion in research activities, U Toronto   

    From University of Toronto: “U of T to take significant steps to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in research activities” 

    U Toronto Bloc

    From University of Toronto

    1

    September 21, 2018
    Chris Sorensen

    The University of Toronto’s division of research and innovation will take important steps to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in research activities across Canada’s largest post-secondary institution.

    The changes are detailed in 49 recommendations of a university working group struck in the spring of last year by Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation. The recommendations cover everything from the way U of T researchers are supported and funded to the procedures governing nominations for awards and other honours.

    he working group also recommends that U of T’s research services work closely with other university bodies, as well as partner hospitals and community groups, to implement measures to help the university attract and retain a diverse group of top researchers and create an inclusive environment.

    Goel has accepted all the recommendations that are directed to the research and innovation office and has committed to working with relevant university officers on recommendations that are in the jurisdiction of those offices.

    “While the University of Toronto has long been committed to equity and diversity, moving forward on these recommendations will create a more systematic approach by applying an equity, diversity and inclusion lens to all of our internal programs and competitions – basically everything we do,” he said.

    “I thank the members of the working group for their thoughtful assessment and constructive recommendations.”

    Goel struck the working group to address a key objective in the university’s 2018-2023 strategic research plan. The plan called for, among other things, the integration of “best practice recommendations into our internal procedures and programs in order to encourage broad and diverse participation and to counter bias in peer review and selection processes.”
    The working group took into account the calls to action in U of T’s response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Its findings, meanwhile, are also expected to inform the university’s implementation of the federal Canada Research Chairs Program’s action plan on equity, diversity and inclusion, which aims to ensure Canadian universities meet their targets when it comes to representation of four designated groups – “women, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of visible minorities.”

    Lorraine Ferris, U of T’s associate vice-president of research oversight and compliance, chaired the U of T working group, which included representatives from across the university. The working group identified high-level issues surrounding equity, diversity and inclusion and then considered concrete and practical recommendations to address them.

    To take one example, the working group calls for the creation of education resources and efforts to raise awareness of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Through these efforts, everyone in the university’s research and innovation enterprise – including applicants, administrators, staff and internal adjudicators – will be informed about principles and practices that promote equity and will be able to integrate them into their work.

    Other recommendations focus on bolstering the university’s ability to collect the data necessary to determine whether its equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives are having the desired effect. That strategy includes encouraging researchers to complete U of T’s diversity survey.

    Another key change will be a focus on promoting community partnerships. Ferris said such partnerships are crucial when studying underrepresented communities, including Indigenous groups, but may not always receive the necessary support now.

    “What we’ve learned is there’s all sorts of research that may use different methodologies – it might be more community-based, community participatory, or community-partnered,” said Ferris, who is a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

    She stressed that the working group’s changes don’t favour one type of research over another.

    “We’re trying to broaden our understanding of what constitutes excellent scholarship,” she said.

    To get there, U of T’s research and innovation office has appointed a new research equity and diversity strategist to help lead the implementation of the working group’s recommendations more broadly. The division will also establish a new standing committee to advise leadership on matters related to equity, diversity and inclusion, and to regularly report on ongoing initiatives.

    Once fully implemented, Ferris said, the working group’s recommendations promise to make U of T’s research and innovation enterprise better reflect the community it serves.

    “At the end of this, we will continue to have excellent scholarship – without a doubt,” she said. “But it will be different from what we see now because it will be much more expansive.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Toronto Campus

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

    Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in depth and breadth on any other Canadian campus.

     
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