Highlights of UBC media coverage in May 2011


Museum of Anthropology wins prestigious award

The Globe and Mail, Canadian Architect, Vancouver Sun and others reported that UBC’s Museum of Anthropology was one of four buildings to win the Prix du XXe Siècle Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The award recognizes nationally significant buildings and excellence in architecture.

Designed by the renowned Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, the Museum of Anthropology is known for its Pacific Northwest Coast collections and draws more than 140,000 visitors a year.

“Having the Museum of Anthropology recognized as one of Canada’s most significant buildings is truly an honour,” said Moya Waters, the museum’s acting director.


Interactive teaching methods boost learning

Research from a group led by Carl Wieman, a Nobel laureate in physics who leads an initiative to improve science instruction at UBC, showed that students in an introductory college physics course did especially well on an exam after attending experimental, collaborative classes. By contrast, students who did not use the experimental approach scored much lower on the same exam.

The students learned more than twice as much in the new “interactive” classes than they did in the lectures by a tenured professor with more than 30 years of experience, reported the New York Times, the Economist, the Associated Press, Postmedia News, the Globe and Mail and others.

“[In traditional lectures], there’s not much learning, and for the learning that does take place, the retention is fairly bad,” said Louis Deslauriers, a postdoctoral student at UBC and the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Science.

Health of older spouses is closely tied

A new UBC study, reported in the ?Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Global National and others, finds that the mental and physical health of older couples is closely tied.

If one is depressed, the other is more likely to be. And if one is in poor physical health, the other’s physical and mental health are likely to be compromised.

“This study shows how important marital relationships can be in determining old age health,” said the lead author of the study, Christiane Hoppmann.

Happy guys finish last

A new UBC study indicates there may be some scientific truth to the stereotypes about male and female attractiveness. The study found that women prefer moody looking men to agreeable, smiling men. In contrast, men are far more attracted to happy, smiling women, reported the Telegraph, CBS, Reuters, BBC, Globe and Mail, and others.

“This study finds that men and women respond very differently to displays of emotion, including smiles,” said professor Jessica Tracy, who led the study.

UBC EXPERTS Election 2011

As Canada prepared for a federal election on May 2, UBC professors provided analysis of Canadian politics, public opinion, campaign issues, the political parties, their platforms and the election results. Richard Johnston, Allan Tupper, Michael Byers, Kevin Milligan, Fred Cutler, Mary Liston, Joe Cutbirth, AMS President Jeremy McElroy and others provided expert commentary to the Seattle Times, Maclean’s, Globe and Mail, CBC, National Post and others.

“For the first time in years, there is enthusiasm on the scene,” said Johnston, a political scientist and the director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at UBC, to CTV on election day. “It’s basically about Jack Layton and the NDP and a reconfiguration of the competitive picture.”