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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 9 | July 4, 2002

In The News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in June 2002.

Compiled By Brian Lin

Personality research

A recent Chatelaine article features UBC Psychiatry Prof. Kerry Jang's groundbreaking personality re-search, which examined 1,000 pairs of identical and fraternal twins between the ages of 18 and 87 to try to understand how people with the same genes and raised in the same households can have very different personalities.

Jang's team has found that not only does environment affect personality, but your genes cause you to seek out a suitable lifestyle.

"You have a gene and you have to live with it," Jang explains, "but just because you come from a family of cautious individuals doesn't mean you'll never joyfully embrace hang-gliding."


Emotional climates, especially in small business, have a great impact on the bottom line, UBC Commerce Professors Nancy Langton and Hakan Ozcelik told the Province.

Emotional climate is a kind of "psychological bond" that manifests itself by the employees working more productively, staying on with the company longer, and going that "extra mile" to make the business work better.

Employees see it as an organization supporting its employees and enhancing their personal importance. They feel their needs are being taken care of for growth, learning and personal worth.


UBC legal council Hubert Lai explains the university's perspective in the plagiarism claim brought by author Jean-Marc Hachey.

"The university hasn't said [this is not a case of plagiarism], nor has it said the opposite, that it is plagiarism," Lai told the CBC's As It Happens. "The university has looked at his book that the students have produced, and there are obvious and clear textual similarities between the two."

Parkinson's cluster

Yet another cluster of Parkinson's has been identified. Four of seven office workers at a clothing accessories factory in Montreal were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Donald Calne, director emeritus of the UBC Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre, told Maclean's he would like to investigate the Montreal foursome. Calne, who treats three patients in another cluster of patients who worked with Michael J. Fox in a CBC sitcom, is also following up on preliminary evidence of another four Parkinson's sufferers who worked together in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley.

"If there's a group of people in some situation -- same place, same time -- then the cause is likely to have been right there in the environment because they're unrelated," said Calne. "This is nothing genetic."

Media darlings

In a Globe and Mail feature about media-savvy academics, UBC's Lloyd Axworthy and Patricia Baird shared their experience dealing with the media.

Axworthy recalled a student walking up to him once, remarking that he looked a lot like Lloyd Axworthy. "I said, 'There's a good reason why.'"

Baird does about 100 interviews a year, but receives more calls from the media than that. "The only problem with being asked to comment on various issues is that it plays havoc with your schedule," she said. "You think you have a nice organized day, and then two or three reporters phone you."

Academics have a responsibility to make their findings open to the public, she says. "We are supported. We should be accessible."

Play ball

Jeff Francis, the UBC Thunderbird pitcher who was recently drafted by the Colorado Rockies into major league baseball, has already come to terms with the Rockies on a US$1.85 million signing bonus and is one work visa short of joining the Tri-City Dust Devils of the NWL.

"Yeah, I'm getting excited," Francis told the Vancouver Sun. "I just want to get out there and start throwing competitively again, to start my career as a professional."

As part of his signing ceremony, the Rockies flew him down to Denver where he got to meet many of their current major leaguers, including Maple Ridge native Larry Walker.

"The whole experience couldn't have been better," Francis added. "Larry told me to phone if I had any questions. They treated me well and showed me what life is like as a big-leaguer. It kind of motivates me to get there."

Earthquake research

The world renowned earthquake research at UBC's Engineering Research Facility recently received a funding boost of $3 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the B.C. Knowledge Fund and the Blusson Fund. The funding will go to building a house on a shake table, which can hold up to 100 tonnes in weight, the equivalent of three houses.

Stucco, properly applied, can save the house and the occupants in a quake, Civil Engineering Prof. Carlos Ventura told Sing Tao Daily.

Martha Piper nominated as Nation Builder

UBC President Martha Piper is among 50 nominees for the Globe and Mail's Nation Builder of the Year. The national newspaper is looking for a Canadian whose efforts have contributed materially, intellecutally or simply in terms of national pride, to Canada's sense of coming into its own.

Piper was nominated "because she led the fight to boost university research capabilities -- and won. Because she has become Ottawa's favourite English-speaking university president. Because she has brains and charm, and knows how to use both.".


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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