Highlights of UBC media coverage in October 2010

Tennis grunters ‘gain advantage’

The New York Times, the BBC, the Daily Mail, Agence France Presse, CBC and other media outlets related research results from UBC and the University of Hawaii about tennis players who grunt.

A study by Scott Sinnett from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who was a post-doctoral fellow at UBC when the research was conducted, and UBC psychology professor Alan Kingstone looked at the effects of noise on shot perception during a tennis match.

“The presence of an extraneous sound interfered” with participants’ performance, “making their responses both slower and less accurate,” said the researchers.

German, Canadian scientists to open quantum physics center

UBC has signed a formal agreement with Germany’s Max Planck Society to open a new centre for the study of quantum materials such as superconductors. UBC will house the new research facility, the Max Planck-UBC Centre for Quantum Materials, which is to be funded by the Max Planck Society.

The new facility is only the third such centre outside Germany, as was reported by Agence France Presse, the Globe and Mail, the Victoria Times Colonist and others.

“The knowledge and discoveries generated from these collaborations will profoundly change the lives of present and future generations,” said UBC President Stephen Toope.

Documentary by UBC journalism students wins Emmy

A team of students from UBC’s School of Journalism won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a News Magazine for an investigative piece on the way computers and cellphones from the developed world are unsafely disposed of in developing countries.

CBC The National, the Globe and Mail, CTV and others picked up on the win for the documentary Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground which aired on PBS’s Frontline in June 2009. This is the first time Canadian students have won such an award.

“It shows that we’re doing great journalism at the same time as we’re training great journalists,” said school director Mary Lynn Young.

“A lot of students said it was the most intense learning experience they’ve ever had so it’s great to hear as a teacher,” said Professor Peter Klein who worked on the documentary with the students.

Sex trafficking:  a national disgrace

Provincial governments must create regional police task forces and offices to co-ordinate victim services if they are serious about ending “modern-day slavery” in Canada, said Benjamin Perrin, an associate law professor at UBC and a human-trafficking expert.

“There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of victims exploited every year in our country,” said the author of the new book Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, which was highlighted by the National Post, the Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV, the Ottawa Citizen and others.

Old Auditorium and Roy Barnett Recital Hall are open again

The Vancouver Sun, CBC, City TV and the Province described the reopening of UBC’s

Old Auditorium and Recital Hall

After more than $20 million in renovations, the Old Auditorium and what is now known as the Roy Barnett Recital Hall were updated with seismic upgrades and state-of-the-art equipment. These overhauls are part of the UBC Renew campaign that sees the university’s older buildings renovated in lieu of constructing new facilities.

“This is a place that had such a history for UBC,” said Nancy Hermiston of UBC’s School of Music. “It was a meeting place, it was an educational place, it was a cultural space to bring the community and the university together, and now all those things can happen again.”