UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 11 | Nov. 2, 2006
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2006
Compiled By Basil Waugh
Women’s Math Performance Affected by Theories on Sex Differences
In a study published in the journal Science, UBC investigators Ilan Dar-Nimrod and Steven Heine found women perform differently on math tests depending on whether they believe their math performance was determined by genetic or social differences.
The study, wrote the Associated Press, follows up on the controversy ignited by Harvard University president Lawrence Summers who suggested last year that innate gender differences may explain why fewer women than men reach top science jobs.
While the UBC researchers’ study does not explore whether innate differences exist, it does look at how the perceived source of stereotypes can influence women’s math performance.
The study was covered in more than 130 news outlets around the world including the Times Online UK, New York Times, Washington Post and CBS News.
UBC Students Design Elevator to the Stars
The U.K.-based magazine New Scientist, CBC, Global TV, CTV and most CanWest newspapers reported on a team of UBC engineering physics students preparing for a NASA competition that challenges entrepreneurs to build a functional space elevator — a vehicle that, instead of rockets, uses solar power and super-strong tethers to travel into space.
Awarded most likely to win in 2006 by judges in last year’s inaugural competition, UBC Snowstar has been previously featured in the New York Times and on CNN. They will compete with more than 10 international teams for the US $150,000 grand prize and an opportunity to revolutionize space elevator technology.
“With no rockets required, a space elevator would reduce the cost of space travel by a thousand-fold,” says UBC team member Peter MacNeeley. “This would literally open the gate to the final frontier.”
UBC Profs Disarm North Korean Nuclear Threat
UBC Profs. Wade Huntley and Don Baker featured prominently in Canadian media coverage of North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear weapon.
In interviews with the Toronto Star and CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson, Wade Huntley of the Simons Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Research said North Korea is reacting, in part, to the Bush administration’s handling of other nuclear countries, such as Pakistan.
“Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may not have a great relationship with the United States, but he’s taken more seriously by virtue of the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power,” said Huntley. “Kim Jong Il is looking at that and saying, ‘Okay, we could do that.’”
Don Baker of UBC’s Centre for Korean Research says Pyongyang is too impoverished to launch a conventional attack against its neighbours, let alone following up on any nuclear strike.
“Basically, they’ve got the bomb to keep themselves from being attacked from the U.S., not to attack anyone else,” Baker told the Vancouver Sun and Embassy magazine.