UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 9 | Sep. 4, 2008
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in August 2008
Compiled by Basil Waugh
UBC ranks 35th among global universities
UBC placed 35th -- up one spot from last year -- in the 2008 edition of Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s annual list of top 100 universities.
Its researchers say the list’s methodology is imperfect, but the ratings are taken seriously around the world as a measure of academic and research merit.
The Australian described UBC and U of T as “Canada’s best universities,” and noted that they placed higher than Australia’s top-ranked universities. The Montreal Gazette also took a local angle, reporting McGill’s 60th rank.
UBC rowers win gold
UBC graduate student Jake Wetzel and alumni Ben Rutledge and Kyle Hamilton made Olympic headlines by winning gold for Canada in men’s eight rowing.
After their gold-medal performance, Rutledge showed off his UBC Thunderbirds’ belt during a nationally televised interview with the CBC’s Ron Maclean.
More than 40 UBC athletes, coaches, sports doctors and staff are participating in the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including swimmers Brent Hayden, Brian Johns and Annamay Pierce, who shattered Canadian records and personal bests.
Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province have all profiled UBC athletes before and during the games. UBC’s Olympic and Paralympic legacy began in 1928 and includes 109 medals and 240 participants.
Olympians’ victory dance is innate, scientists say
The exuberant victory dance of high-performance athletes turns out to be an instinctive trait of all primates, humans included, a UBC psychology study has found.
Compairing the celebrations of blind and sighted athletes at the 2004 Games in Athens, Jessica Tracy of UBC found universal expressions of pride, including clenched fists, thrown-back heads, puffed-up chests and outstretched arms.
Since the blind athletes could not have learned their victory dances from watching others, Tracy and her San Francisco colleagues concluded that the behavior was innate.
Tracy’s study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and covered by the Economist, BBC, Telegraph (U.K.), Boston Globe, FOX News, Scientific American and Wired.
UBC experts comment on air quality and doping
UBC experts featured prominently in international news articles on air quality and gene doping around the Beijing Games.
Jim Rupert, an anti-doping expert at UBC, was interviewed by the Economist in an article on the possibility of genetically modified Olympians. “I would be surprised, but I have been surprised before,” he said.
United Press International cited research by UBC sports doctor Donald McKenzie, who said Beijing’s poor air quality and humidity will especially be a challenge for athletes with asthma.
UBC environmental policy researcher Milind Kandlikar also commented in Globe and Mail and Toronto Star articles on Beijing’s air quality.