UBC This Week | Feb. 16, 2006
UBC This Week is a weekly summary of UBC people in the news, recent media releases and upcoming event hightlights. UBC This Week past issues are also available on-line.
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David Dolphin named finalist for Canada's top science prize
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), has named UBC Chemistry Prof. Emeritus David Dolphin as one of three finalists for the 2005 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The annual prize, named in honour of Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, is widely recognized as the country's most prestigious science award, and will be presented at a ceremony in Ottawa in March. The winner's research funding will be increased to $1 million over the next five years.
Dolphin pioneered the study of a class of light-activated compounds called porphyrins. His groundbreaking achievement is the creation of the porphyrin-based drug Visudyne -- the world's first treatment for age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.
NSERC, a federal agency, promotes discovery by funding more than 10,000 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 600 Canadian companies to participate and invest in university research projects. For background on the finalists and the medal, visit www.nserc.gc.ca/news.
John Willinsky's 'The Access Principle' recognized by the American Library Association
The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship, a book by UBC Language and Literacy Prof. John Willinsky, has won the American Library Association's annual Blackwell Scholarship Award for most outstanding work in collection development or library acquisitions.
Willinsky's book explores models of online knowledge dissemination, publishing practices, copyright interpretations and scholarly traditions. As the Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology, Willinsky directs the Public Knowledge Project to promote the free exchange of information, develops Open Journals Systems software, and is also the author of Empire of Words: The Reign of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
World's top physicists explore 'superstring theory'
Last weekend at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS), some of the world's top theoretical physicists discussed the latest developments in superstring theory, seen by many as a key to reconciling Einstein's relativity and quantum theories.
BIRS brought together prominant scholars in the field including Columbia University professor Brian Greene, host of the PBS TV show The Elegant Universe, Gordon Semenoff of UBC, Hirosi Ooguri of the California Institute of Technology and Ulf Danielsson from Sweden's Uppsala University.
BIRS is a Canada-US-Mexico venture that facilitates exchanges of knowledge and methods among mathematical sciences, related disciplines and industry. Headquartered at UBC, the research station is administered by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), a collaborative venture between the major universities in Alberta, BC and Washington State.
For more information, visit www.pims.math.ca.
There is no place home: Fisheries prof. presents at international science conference
Mimi Lam, Adjunct Prof. of Aboriginal Fisheries in the UBC Fisheries Centre, will present on the topic “there is no place like home” at this week's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Lam, organizer of the “Human Cognition in Evolutionary Eco-Cultural Niches” AAAS Symposium, believes that human cognition and culture may have originated from the need for humans to mark their places. She contends that this need for a ‘hometown sign’ may have been why symbolism -- a uniquely human trait -- emerged.
With research that bridges evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology, Lam contends argues that the connection between people and places has contributed to the evolution of cognition, mind, and culture through shared identity and attachment to the natural environment.