UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 5 | May 4, 2006
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage
Compiled by Basil Waugh
UBC Chooses its 12th President: Stephen Toope
Most Canadian dailies, including the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun reported on the recent hiring of the renowned legal scholar of human rights and international law as UBC’s 12th president.
Former McGill University Dean of Law Stephen Toope, a man known for his work on royal commissions, as an independent fact-finder in the case of Maher Arar, and his connections to the federal government, will assume the post in June.
“He is a rare combination of somebody who is brilliant, humane, considerate and
fearless,” said his friend, Madam Justice Rosalie Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada, in an interview after the announcement. “UBC should be electrified.”
The university’s selection committee considered more than 150 candidates in a seven-month search to replace outgoing president Martha Piper.
Nobel Laureate Joins UBC to Advance Science Education Reform
Media outlets across North America, including the Associated Press, Canadian Press, Denver Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Globe and Mail reported on American Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman’s recent decision to join UBC from the University of Colorado to advance science education reform.
2004 United States Professor of the Year, Wieman, 54, was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 for proving Albert Einstein’s theory that a certain form of matter exists. With his appointment, UBC becomes one of only two schools in Canada with a Nobel laureate on its faculty.
“This is quite significant, to have someone of his stature in the science community,” said UBC President Martha Piper in an interview with the Globe and Mail. “It’s incredibly exciting, and it fits right in with our strategic vision for UBC.”
Lives lived: Auschwitz Survivor Rudolf Vrba
More than 20 international dailies, including the New York Times, L.A. Times, the UK Telegraph and the Globe and Mail celebrated the life of Rudolf Vrba, who escaped from Auschwitz as a young man and provided the first eyewitness evidence not only of the magnitude of the tragedy unfolding at the death camp but also of the exact mechanics of Nazi mass extermination. He succumbed to cancer on March 27 at a hospital in Vancouver. He was 82.
In a document that became known as the Auschwitz Protocol, Vrba detailed the various corners of the death camp, including the gas chambers and crematories. He was one of only five Jewish inmates to successfully escape from Auschwitz.
In 1967, Vrba left the U.K. to join UBC, where he became a professor of pharmacology and continued to work for the rest of his life, authoring more than 50 scientific papers.
Microsoft Takes Aim at Google with Scholarly Search Engine
The launch of Windows Live Academic Search, Microsoft’s alternative to academic search engine Google Scholar, was reported by dozens of international dailies and technology publications, including Digital Media Asia, China’s People’s Daily, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, MacWorld and PC Magazine.
Microsoft’s initiative won’t supplant Google Scholar or commercial databases used by researchers, but it does add a new element of competition, said UBC biomedical librarian Dean Giustini, a Google Scholar user who writes a blog about that service and part of a group invited to the Microsoft campus to preview the new tool.
Giustini said he was disappointed to see that Microsoft’s offering doesn’t yet have a feature for seeing which articles cite a particular document. He also raised questions about the robustness of Microsoft’s infrastructure, noting that the broader MSN Search has been offline periodically in recent weeks.