Diversity and inclusion are critical to high-tech corporate success. Yet statistics reveal that less than 25 per cent of those working in the science, technology, engineering and math sectors (STEM) are women, and that they earn seven-and-a-half per cent less than men.
“There is a crucial need to achieve gender equality in the tech sector, especially at a time when it is growing faster than ever,” says colloquium organizer Lesley Shannon, an SFU engineering science professor. She holds the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the B.C. and Yukon region.
“We hope the colloquium will help people engage in a multidisciplinary dialogue about the value of creating more space in technology for women and other under-represented groups.”
Six of the lectures are free, except for Cathy O’Neil’s lecture on Oct. 26.
The President’s Dream Colloquium schedule is as follows:
Lectures will be webcast live and available on the President’s Dream Colloquium website, www.sfu.ca/womenintech.
SFU engineering science professor Lesley Shannon is the colloquium organizer as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the B.C. and Yukon region.
As a part of the colloquium, students can enroll in a graduate course covering a broad range of topics related to diversity in the technology sector. Shannon says the course will focus on women and their role in technology as well as issues that affect other under‐represented groups.
“I hope the course will establish a foundation for future managers, supervisors, sponsors, mentors and others wanting to pursue leadership roles to work towards creating a level playing field in technology and other industries,” says Shannon.
The colloquium course (SAR 897) is still accepting students. Visit go.sfu.ca to enroll.
A reminder after the last few paragraphs of the event text, you don’t actually have to be a student to attend the lectures although for anyone who doesn’t want to make the trek up the hill (SFU is located on a hill in Burnaby, BC) for the majority of the events, there is the livestream video. For those who can’t make the scheduled times, given that both the Sept. 13 and Sept. 14, 2017 event videos have been posted, they are being pretty quick about uploading the videos afterwards.
I have mentioned Cathy O’Neil here a couple of times, more substantively in a Feb. 28, 2017 posting about a major’ big data’ collaboration between the province of BC and the state of Washington (for Cathy O’Neil, scroll down to the subsection titled: Algorithms and big data) and briefly at the end in a May 24, 2017 posting that was chiefly concerned with bias in algorithms.
Researching a piece sometimes leads you to unexpected corners on the internet. This started with an announcement about #AskACurator on Twitter and Instagram in the August 30, 2017 issue (received via email) of What’s Up @ The Museums (from Ingenium or what was known as the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation).
In trying to pad out the one announcement that might be of interest to people who don’t live near one of Canada’s science and technology museums, i.e., anyone who lives outside of Ottawa, Ontario, I checked out their fairly new (the first video in the series was posted in February 2016) science podcast series, Science Alive!
Despite reservations (I have very little interest in space exploration and even less in the Canadarm), I found the first video in the series quite engaging,
Of course, I had more questions but that’s the point o what is intended to be both an information and promotional video designed to attract visitors.
But, this is not the only Science Alive. Simon Fraser University (SFU) has a student-run, not-for-profit organization known as Science AL!VE, which runs summer camps and weekend clubs in British Columbia. (This SFU organization is part of Actua, “Canada’s largest STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] outreach organization. They have annual reports stretching back to 2010/11.)
I had to stop there but there are more ‘science alive’ programmes out there.
Here’s the announcement that started my Science Alive! adventure, from the August 30, 2017 issue (received via email) of What’s Up @ The Museums,
September 13, 2017
September is more than back to school time – it’s Ask a Curator Time! Our Museums are excited to once again be among more than 1200 museums from 52 countries participating in #AskACurator Day on Wednesday September 13, 2017! Have a question for our curators?
#AskACurator is being organized by someone called Mar Dixon. Her website‘s About Me page (from the homepage, click on About Me) lists current and past projects only. I can certainly appreciate why she might have done that. (IMO) Describing your education, past employers, achievements, etc., i.e., standard biographical information can get boring but the projects you’re working on or have worked on and are passionate about? Well, for some us it’s all about the work.
This is the list of all museums who signed up so far. It is in alphabetical order by country. I’m updating this page every few days. If your museum isn’t on listed, use the sign up form. If you are listed and can NOT take part in 2017 please contact me at email@example.com or @MarDixon on Twitter.
Please note: @AskACurator is also on Instagram AND Twitter so feel free to use the tag on there!
How to take Part: Museums You might want to tell your followers the time your curator will be available. Some museums write it on their events page, others leave it open to see what questions they receive. However, to get your name out there – it helps to jump in to general questions and not just wait to be asked a specific question. Some people will use the hashtag to ask questions such as how to know what to collect, what skills are needed, what are the unknowns of being a curator etc. We also have a few #Askacurator people who have questions like ‘do you have a teddy bear in your collection’ or ‘what’s the funniest thing you heard in your museum’ etc.
Last updated August 29 2017
Museums taking part: 1421
For anyone who’s never dealt with a curator, you might find this video where curator David Pantalony discusses a giant globe and what they did and didn’t include on the globe from Ingenium’s Science Alive! series informative,
Mark your calendars for September 13 – 17, 2017 when Beakerhead takes over Calgary with a smash up of art, science and engineering both indoors and out! From citywide, pop-up engineered art galleries and flame-spitting, larger-than-life public art encounters to the entertaining science of … everything, there’s something for everyone!
With over 60 events and programs to choose from, Beakerhead has something for everyone – whether you define yourself as “creative” or “technical” in nature. In 2016 over 130,000 people took part, including a few actual astronauts!
In 2017, Beakerhead celebrates the ups and downs of experimentation and invention!
A special Canada 150 version of Beakerhead will see Calgary’s downtown core become a canvas for a larger-than-life interactive experience where participants will navigate to and from Beakerhead encounters å la Snakes and Ladders while we celebrate the ups and downs that mark the wild and bumpy ride of invention and creativity.
Events, experiments and programs that make up the five day spectacle include:
Snakes and Ladders: An interactive experience that encourages exploration of the city (and human ingenuity) through delightfully engineered public art installations.
Workshops and talks: explore the science of scent, play with your food, immerse yourself in the laboratory of life!
Four to Six: A street party on Stephen Avenue where science gets social.
Ticketed events: Command to be entertained by world famous (and soon-to-be-famous) inventors, scientists, performers (and maybe even an animal or two!)
Ingenuity challenges: In that past, Beakerhead has pit catapult teams against each other – this year expect a new high-reaching competition!
Community programs: Beakerhead becomes a stage for over 100 collaborating organizations, both large and small, to show off their discoveries and creativity through events and programs of their own. Learn how you can take part, too!
School tours, talks, and challenges: Beakerhead engages 25,000 students each year.
The Beakerhead events page is overwhelming and I suggest the unitiated scrol down to the Highlights section where you can find out more about the organization, find a programme announcement which allows you to orient yourself (somewhat), and more.
European Science Open Forum (ESOF) 2018
This science shindig comes along every two years. The last one was in Manchester, UK in 2016 and now it’s time to gear up for Toulouse, France in 2018 (from the ESOF July 2017 newsletter received via email),
ESOF 2018 in Toulouse. Save the date! One year to go.
The next EuroScience Open Forum, ESOF 2018 will be held in Toulouse, France, 9-14 July 2018 in just one year from now!
Save the dates and plan your visit to the European City of Science 2018, with the ESOF 2018 motto: « Sharing Science: towards new horizons! »
With more than 300 sessions proposed in the first call for scientific sessions on 10 themes and 4 cross-cutting domains covering all sciences, the programme promises to be attractive and a major crossroad of debates on the future of science and how to share it.
Call for Scientific sessions: February -June 2017
Call for Science in the City Festival initiatives: June – September 2017
Call for Careers & Science to Business sessions: July – October 2017
Call for posters and interactive presentations: October 2017 – January 2018
– ESOF is the largest interdisciplinary science event in Europe.
– ESOF is a cross-road for exchange between scientists, students, policy makers, innovators, industry managers and science media.
– 2018 is a key year for the preparation of the next framework programme [major seven-year European Union science funding programme; the current such programme is Horizon 2020, which stated in 2013] for research and innovation of the European Union and key discussions will occur at ESOF 2018.
– Toulouse, the Capital of Occitania, in Southern France and the Capital of aeronautics and space research will surprise you with the many facets of its culture and scientific domains.
– And is both a historical and modern lively City, home of 120 000 students!
We are eager to share this event with you and are sure you will make it a wonderful success!
Dr Anne Cambon-Thomsen
ESOF 2018 Champion
You can find out more about ESOF on the website’s About page,
ESOF (EuroScience Open Forum) is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. It is dedicated to scientific research and innovation and offers a unique framework for interaction and debate for scientists, innovators, policy makers, business people and the general public.
Created in 2004 by EuroScience, this biennial European forum brings together over 4 000 researchers, educators, business actors, policy makers and journalists from all over the world to discuss breakthroughs in science. More than 40% of the participants are students and young researchers.
The 8th edition of ESOF will take place in Toulouse, France, from 9 till 14 July 2018.
4000+ delegates from 80+ countries 400+ journalists and science communicators 150+ conferences, workshops and scientific sessions 200+ events open to the general public, attended by more than 35 000 participants
What to expect at ESOF?
Taking part in ESOF is a unique opportunity to:
further knowledge on the challenges and breakthroughs in research, innovation and their relation to society;
create links, exchange and debate with leaders of the scientific community worldwide in an interdisciplinary context;
communicate the latest news on scientific research and innovation to an international audience;
develop a network in view of building a research career.
Technology is transforming key industries in B.C. and around the globe at an unprecedented pace.
From natural resources and agriculture to health and digital media, the second #BCTECH Summit returns with Microsoft as title sponsor, and will explore how tech is impacting every part of B.C.’s economy and changing lives.
Presented by the Province and the BC Innovation Council, B.C.͛s largest tech event will arm attendees with the tools to propel their companies to the next level, establish valuable business connections and inspire students to pursue careers in technology. From innovations in precision health, autonomous vehicles and customer experience, to emerging ideas in cleantech, agritech and aerospace, the #BCTECH Summit will showcase high-tech solutions to important local and global challenges.
New to the summit this year is the Future Realities Room, presented by Microsoft. It will be a dedicated space for B.C. companies to showcase their innovative augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality applications. From artificial intelligence to the internet-of-things, emerging technologies are disrupting industries and reshaping the path for future generations.
What attendees can expect at #BCTECH Summit 2017:
Keynotes from thought leaders including Shahrzad Rafati of BroadbandTV, Ben Parr, author of Captivology, Microsoft and IBM.
Sector-specific deep dives from experts exploring the innovations transforming their industries and every part of B.C’s economy.
Opportunities to connect with tech buyers, scouts and investors through B2B meetings and the Investment Showcase.
Expanded Marketplace, Technology Showcase including Startup Square and Research Runway, and the Future Realities Room presented by Microsoft.
Youth Innovation Day to expose grades 10-12 students to diverse career paths in the technology sector.
Evening networking receptions and Techfest by Techvibes, a recruiting event that connects hiring companies with tech talent.
The two-day event is attracting regional, national and international attendees seeking solutions for their business, investment opportunities and talent in the province. The summit builds on the success of the inaugural summit this past January, which attracted global attention and exceeded its goal of 1,000 attendees with more than 3,500 people in attendance.
BC Leadership Chair in Tall Wood Construction
University of Northern British Columbia
Thomas joined the University of Northern British Columbia in 2016 as BC Leadership Chair in Tall Wood Construction. He received his PhD from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, a Master’s degree in Wood Science and Technology from the University of Bio-Bio in Chile, and a Civil Engineering degree from the Bauhaus-University Weimar in Germany.
Before coming to UNBC, Thomas worked on multi-disciplinary teams in Germany, Chile, and Switzerland and was Associate Chair in Wood Building Design and Construction at UBC. He is an expert in the development of design methods for timber joints and structures and the assessment and monitoring of timber structures.
Thomas is actively involved in fostering collaboration among timber design experts in industry and academia, and is a member on multiple international committees as well as the Canadian Standard Association technical committee CSA-O86 “Engineering design in wood”.
Director, Pangea Spark
Sarah Applebaum is the Director of Pangaea Spark at Pangaea Ventures. Sarah is a member of the Young Private Capitalist Committee of the CVCA, advisory board member for the CIX Cleantech Conference, start up showcase review board for SXSW Eco and mentor to the Singularity University Labs Accelerator. She is the co-founder of TNT Events, a Vancouver-based organization that strives to create a more interconnected and multi-disciplinary innovation ecosystem.
Sarah holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and a BSc. from Dalhousie University.
Nat is a co-founder of Finn.ai, a white-label virtual banking assistance, powered by artificial intelligence. Nat holds a Master of Public Health from Lund University and a Masters of Business Administration from IE Business School.
Before founding Finn.ai in 2014, Nat worked at the Global Fund, the largest global financing institution for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programs, where she managed $250 million USD in investment to countries like Djibouti, South Sudan and Tajikistan.
Whether working in international development or in financial technology, Nat likes to act on the potential she sees for improvement and innovation.
Provincial Statistician & Director, BC Stats
Province of British Columbia
Since first joining BC Stats (British Columbia’s statistics bureau) in 1993, Martin has built a wide range of experience using data science to support evidence-based policy and business management decisions. Now the Provincial Statistician & Director at BC Stats, Martin leads a dynamic and innovative team of professional researchers in analyzing statistical information about the economic and social conditions of British Columbia and measuring public sector organizational performance.
Martin holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Geography from the University of Victoria. He is a member of the Statistical Analysis Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and blogs about baseball statistics and data science using the statistical software R at bayesball.blogspot.com.
Chief Digital Officer
National Film Board of Canada
Loc is a Canadian digital media creator and co-founder of the groundbreaking NFB Digital and CBC Radio 3 studios and their industry shifting bodies of work.
Loc recently became the chief digital officer (CDO) of the National Film Board of Canada, after serving as executive producer and creative technologist for the NFB Digital Studio in Vancouver since 2011. His NFB credits include the interactive documentaries Bear 71, Welcome to Pine Point, Circa 1948, Waterlife, The Last Hunt and Cardboard Crash VR which have been credited with inventing the new form of the interactive documentary.
In December 2011, Loc was named Canada’s Top Digital Producer for 2011 at the Digi Awards in Toronto. In addition, his CBC Radio 3 was one of the world’s first cross media success stories combining the award-winning CBC Radio 3 web magazine, terrestrial and satellite radio, podcasts and 3 user generated content sites that preceded MySpace and YouTube.
Co-founder, President & CEO
Neurio Technology Inc.
Janice is an entrepreneurial executive whose vision, commitment, and passion has been the driving force behind Neurio. Coming from over 7 years of utility experience, as the CEO of Neurio Technology, Janice has been working to help businesses promote energy efficiency and engagement among users for over a decade. Having seen a huge unmet need in the smart home market, she and her co-founders answered it by creating Neurio, a smart energy monitoring platform used by over 100,000 homes.
Vice-President, Business Development
George is the Vice-President of Business Development at General Fusion, a company transforming the world’s energy supply by developing the world’s first fusion power plant based on commercially viable technology.
Previously, George was a co-founder, Vice-President and subsequently President of Day4 Energy Inc., where he was instrumental to developing the solar company’s strategic vision and was directly responsible for execution of the corporate development plan. Following his time at Day4, George founded Pacific Surf Partners and served as its Managing Director. In 2016 he joined General Fusion to develop and coordinate relationships in the business and research communities.
A graduate of Moscow State University with a Masters Degree in Quantum Radio Physics, and a British Columbia Institute of Technology graduate with a Diploma in Financial Management and a Bachelor Degree in Accounting, George combines his knowledge of science and business with the experience of over a decade in the cleantech industry.
General Manager, BC Works
Gareth is the General Manager of Rio Tinto’s BC Works. In this role, he leads Rio Tinto Aluminium’s business in British Columbia, incorporating the operations of the Kitimat Smelter, Kemano Power Generation Facility and the Nechako Watershed. Prior to this, he led the Weipa Bauxite Business in Australia comprising of two mining operations, a port and the local town of Weipa.
Gareth has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, the USA and Italy, and completed assignments in a number of other countries. He has held accountability for business and operational leadership, consulting services, administrative and function support, and taken part in strategy development and due diligence work.
Gareth lives in Kitimat, British Columbia, with his wife and two children. He holds an Engineering Degree, a Master of Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nanoelectronics & Assistant Professor
Simon Fraser University
Stephanie is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Simon Fraser University (SFU), where she leads the Silicon Quantum Technology research group. Stephanie earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science at Oxford University in 2011 as a Clarendon Scholar and a B.Math (Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Physics) from the University of Waterloo. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Electrical Engineering Department at UNSW, Australia, and completed her Junior Research Fellowship from St. John’s College, Oxford University.
Stephanie joined SFU as a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nanoelectronics in fall 2015 and is working to build a silicon-based quantum computer. Her work on silicon quantum technologies was awarded a Physics World Top Ten Breakthrough of the Year of 2013 and again in 2015, and has been covered by the New York Times, CBC, BBC, Scientific American, the New Scientist, and others.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Simmons speak at the SFU President’s Faculty Lecture on Nov. 30, 2016. You can watch her talk here (the talk is approximately 1 hr. in length).
Getting back to #BCTECH Summit 2017, I’ve provided a small sample of the speakers. By my count there are 103 in total. BTW, kudos to the organizers’ skills and commitment as approximately 35% of the speakers are women. Yes, it could be better but compared to a lot of the meetings I’ve mentioned here, this statistic is a significant improvement. As for diversity, it seems to me that they could probably do a bit better there too.
There are five upcoming science events in seven days (Jan. 23 – 28, 2016) in the Vancouver area.
Einstein Centenary Series
The first is a Saturday morning, Jan. 23, 2016 lecture, the first for 2016 in a joint TRIUMF (Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics), UBC (University of British Columbia), and SFU (Simon Fraser University) series featuring Einstein’s work and its implications. From the event brochure (pdf), which lists the entire series,
TRIUMF, UBC and SFU are proud to present the 2015-2016 Saturday morning lecture series on the frontiers of modern physics. These free lectures are a level appropriate for high school students and members of the general public.
Parallel lecture series will be held at TRIUMF on the UBC South Campus, and at SFU Surrey Campus.
Lectures start at 10:00 am and 11:10 am. Parking is available.
For information, registration and directions, see :
January 23, 2016 TRIUMF Auditorium (UBC, Vancouver)
1. General Relativity – the theory (Jonathan Kozaczuk, TRIUMF)
2. Einstein and Light: stimulated emission, photoelectric effect and quantum theory (Mark Van Raamsdonk, UBC)
January 30, 2016 SFU Surrey Room 2740 (SFU, Surrey Campus)
1. General Relativity – the theory (Jonathan Kozaczuk, TRIUMF)
2. Einstein and Light: stimulated emission, photoelectric effect and quantum theory (Mark Van Raamsdonk, UBC)
I believe these lectures are free. One more note, they will be capping off this series with a special lecture by Kip Thorne (astrophysicist and consultant for the movie Interstellar) at Science World, on Thursday, April 14, 2016. More about that * at a closer date.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm in the back room of The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.]), Café Scientifique will be hosting a talk about science and serving patients (from the Jan. 5, 2016 announcement),
Our speakers for the evening will be Dr. Millan Patel and Dr. Shirin Kalyan. The title of their talk is:
Helping Science to Serve Patients
Science in general and biotechnology in particular are auto-catalytic. That is, they catalyze their own evolution and so generate breakthroughs at an exponentially increasing rate. The experience of patients is not exponentially getting better, however. This talk, with a medical geneticist and an immunologist who believe science can deliver far more for patients, will focus on structural and cultural impediments in our system and ways they and others have developed to either lower or leapfrog the barriers. We hope to engage the audience in a highly interactive discussion to share thoughts and perspectives on this important issue.
There is additional information about Dr. Millan Patel here and Dr. Shirin Kalyan here. It would appear both speakers are researchers and academics and while I find the emphasis on the patient and the acknowledgement that medical research benefits are not being delivered in quantity or quality to patients, it seems odd that they don’t have a clinician (a doctor who deals almost exclusively with patients as opposed to two researchers) to add to their perspective.
This is an art/science event from an organization that sprang into existence sometime during summer 2015 (my July 7, 2015 posting featuring Curiosity Collider).
When: 8:00pm on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Door opens at 7:30pm. Where:Café Deux Soleils. 2096 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC (Google Map). Cost: $5.00 cover (sliding scale) at the door. Proceeds will be used to cover the cost of running this event, and to fund future Curiosity Collider events.
90 seconds to share your art-science ideas. Think they are “ridiculous”? Well, we think it could be ridiculously awesome – we are looking for creative ideas!
Don’t have an idea (yet)? Contribute by sharing your expertise.
Chat with other art-science enthusiasts, strike up a conversation to collaborate, all disciplines/backgrounds welcome.
Want to showcase your project in the future? Participate in our fall art-science competition (more to come)!
Follow updates on twitter via @ccollider or #CollideConquer
Good luck on the open mic (should you have a project)!
This particular Brain Talk event is taking place at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH; there is also another Brain Talks series which takes place at the University of British Columbia). Yes, members of the public can attend the VGH version; they didn’t throw me out the last time I was there. Here’s more about the next VGH Brain Talks,
Sleep: biological & pathological perspectives
Thursday, Jan 28, 6:00pm @ Paetzold Auditorium, Vancouver General Hospital
Peter Hamilton, Sleep technician ~ Sleep Architecture
You may want to keep in mind that the event is organized by people who don’t organize events often. Nice people but you may need to search for crackers for your cheese and your wine comes out of a box (and I think it might have been self-serve the time I attended).
What a fabulous week we have ahead of us—Happy Weekend!
*’when’ removed from the sentence on March 28, 2016.
#BCTECH Summit 2016*, a joint event between the province of British Columbia (BC, Canada) and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), a crown corporation formerly known as the Science Council of British Columbia, launched on Jan. 18, 2016. I have written a preview (Jan. 17, 2016 post) and a commentary on the new #BCTECH strategy (Jan. 19, 2016 posting) announced by British Columbia Premier, Christy Clark, on the opening day (Jan. 18, 2016) of the summit.
I was primarily interested in the trade show/research row/technology showcase aspect of the summit focusing (but not exclusively) on nanotechnology. Here’s what I found,
Nano at the Summit
Precision NanoSystems: fabricates equipment which allows researchers to create polymer nanoparticles for delivering medications.
One of the major problems with creating nanoparticles is ensuring a consistent size and rapid production. According to Shell Ip, a Precision NanoSystems field application scientist, their NanoAssemblr Platform has solved the consistency problem and a single microfluidic cartridge can produce 15 ml in two minutes. Cartridges can run in parallel for maximum efficiency when producing nanoparticles in greater quantity.
The NanoAssemblr Platform is in use in laboratories around the world (I think the number is 70) and you can find out more on the company’s About our technology webpage,
The NanoAssemblr™ Platform
The microfluidic approach to particle formulation is at the heart of the NanoAssemblr Platform. This well-controlled process mediates bottom-up self-assembly of nanoparticles with reproducible sizes and low polydispersity. Users can control size by process and composition, and adjust parameters such as mixing ratios, flow rate and lipid composition in order to fine-tune nanoparticle size, encapsulation efficiency and much more. The system technology enables manufacturing scale-up through microfluidic reactor parallelization similar to the arraying of transistors on an integrated chip. Superior design ensures that the platform is fast and easy to use with a software controlled manufacturing process. This usability allows for the simplified transfer of manufacturing protocols between sites, which accelerates development, reduces waste and ultimately saves money. Precision NanoSystems’ flagship product is the NanoAssemblr™ Benchtop Instrument, designed for rapid prototyping of novel nanoparticles. Preparation time on the system is streamlined to approximately one minute, with the ability to complete 30 formulations per day in the hands of any user.
The company is located on property known as the Endowment Lands or, more familiarly, the University of British Columbia (UBC).
A few comments before moving on, being able to standardize the production of medicine-bearing nanoparticles is a tremendous step forward which is going to help scientists dealing with other issues. Despite all the talk in the media about delivering nanoparticles with medication directly to diseased cells, there are transport issues: (1) getting the medicine to the right location/organ and (2) getting the medicine into the cell. My Jan. 12, 2016 posting featured a project with Malaysian scientists and a team at Harvard University who are tackling the transport and other nanomedicine) issues as they relate to the lung. As well, I have a Nov. 26, 2015 posting which explores a controversy about nanoparticles getting past the ‘cell walls’ into the nucleus of the cell.
The next ‘nano’ booths were,
4D Labs located at Simon Fraser University (SFU) was initially hailed as a nanotechnology facility but these days they’re touting themselves as an ‘advanced materials’ facility. Same thing, different branding.
They advertise services including hands-on training for technology companies and academics. There is a nanoimaging facility and nanofabrication facility, amongst others.
I spoke with their operations manager, Nathaniel Sieb who mentioned a few of the local companies that use their facilities. (1) Nanotech Security (featured here most recently in a Dec. 29, 2015 post), an SFU spinoff company, does some of their anticounterfeiting research work at 4D Labs. (2) Switch Materials (a smart window company, electrochromic windows if memory serves) also uses the facilities. It is Neil Branda’s (4D Labs Executive Director) company and I have been waiting impatiently (my May 14, 2010 post was my first one about Switch) for either his or someone else’s electrochromic windows (they could eliminate or reduce the need for air conditioning during the hotter periods and reduce the need for heat in the colder periods) to come to market. Seib tells me, I’ll have to wait longer for Switch. (3) A graduate student was presenting his work at the booth, a handheld diagnostic device that can be attached to a smartphone to transmit data to the cloud. While the first application is for diabetics, there are many other possibilities. Unfortunately, glucose means you need to produce blood for the test when I suggested my preference for saliva the student explained some of the difficulties. Apparently, your saliva changes dynamically and frequently and something as simple as taking a sip of orange juice could result in a false reading. Our conversation (mine, Seib’s and the student’s) also drifted over into the difficulties of bringing products to market. Sadly, we were not able to solve that problem in our 10 minute conversation.
FPInnovations is a scientific research centre and network for the forestry sector. They had a display near their booth which was like walking into a peculiar forest (I was charmed). The contrast with the less imaginative approaches all around was striking.
FPInnovation helped to develop cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), then called nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC), and I was hoping to be updated about CNC and about the spinoff company Celluforce. The researcher I spoke to was from Sweden and his specialty was business development. He didn’t know much about CNC in Canada and when I commented on how active Sweden has been its pursuit of a CNC application, he noted Finland has been the most active. The researcher noted that making the new materials being derived from the forest, such as CNC, affordable and easily produced for use in applications that have yet to be developed are all necessities and challenges. He mentioned that cultural changes also need to take place. Canadians are accustomed to slicing away and discarding most of the tree instead of using as much of it as possible. We also need to move beyond the construction and pulp & paper sectors (my Feb. 15, 2012 posting featured nanocellulose research in Sweden where sludge was the base material).
Other interests at the Summit
“The Wearable Lower Limb Anthropomorphic Exoskeleton (WLLAE) – a lightweight, battery-operated and ergonomic robotic system to help those with mobility issues improve their lives. The exoskeleton features joints and links that correspond to those of a human body and sync with motion. SFU has designed, manufactured and tested a proof-of-concept prototype and the current version can mimic all the motions of hip joints.” The researchers (Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park) pointed out that the ability to mimic all the motions of the hip is a big difference between their system and others which only allow the leg to move forward or back. They rushed the last couple of months to get this system ready for the Summit. In fact, they received their patent for the system the night before (Jan. 17, 2016) the Summit opened.
It’s the least imposing of the exoskeletons I’ve seen (there’s a description of one of the first successful exoskeletons in a May 20, 2014 posting; if you scroll down to the end you’ll see an update about the device’s unveiling at the 2014 World Cup [soccer/football] in Brazil).
Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures of WLLAE yet and the proof-of-concept version may differ significantly from the final version. This system could be used to help people regain movement (paralysis/frail seniors) and I believe there’s a possibility it could be used to enhance human performance (soldiers/athletes). The researchers still have some significant hoops to jump before getting to the human clinical trial stage. They need to refine their apparatus, ensure that it can be safely operated, and further develop the interface between human and machine. I believe WLLAE is considered a neuroprosthetic device. While it’s not a fake leg or arm, it enables movement (prosthetic) and it operates on brain waves (neuro). It’s a very exciting area of research, consequently, there’s a lot of international competition.
Delightfully, after losing contact for a while, I reestablished it with the folks (Sean Lee, Head External Relations and Jim Hanlon, Chief Administrative Officer) at TRIUMF (Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics). It’s a consortium of 19 Canadian research institutions (12 full members and seven associate members).
It’s a little disappointing that TRIUMF wasn’t featured in the opening for the Summit since the institution houses theoretical, experimental, and applied science work. It’s a major BC (and Canada) science and technology success story. My latest post (July 16, 2015) about their work featured researchers from California (US) using the TRIUMF cyclotron for imaging nanoscale materials and, on the more practical side, there’s a Mar. 6, 2015 posting about their breakthrough for producing nuclear material-free medical isotopes. Plus, Maclean’s Magazine ran a Jan. 3, 2016 article by Kate Lunau profiling an ‘art/science’ project that took place at TRIUMF (Note: Links have been removed),
“It’s not every day that most people get to peek inside a world-class particle physics lab, where scientists probe deep mysteries of the universe. In September , Vancouver’s TRIUMF—home to the world’s biggest cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator—opened its doors to professional and amateur photographers, part of an event called Global Physics Photowalk 2015. (Eight labs around the world participated, including CERN [European particle physics laboratory], in Geneva, where the Higgs boson particle was famously discovered.)”
Here’s the local (Vancouver) jury’s pick for the winning image (from the Nov. 4, 2015 posting [Winning Photographs Revealed] by Alexis Fong on the TRIUMF website),
Caption: DESCANT (at TRIUMF) neutron detector array composed of 70 hexagonal detectors Credit: Pamela Joe McFarlane
With all those hexagons and a spherical shape, the DESCANT looks like a ‘buckyball’ or buckminsterfullerene or C60 to me.
I hope the next Summit features TRIUMF and/or some other endeavours which exemplify, Science, Technology, and Creativity in British Columbia and Canada.
Onto the last booth,
MITACS was originally one of the Canadian federal government’s Network Centres for Excellence projects. It was focused on mathematics, networking, and innovation but once the money ran out the organization took a turn. These days, it’s describing itself as (from their About page) “a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years. Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.”Their Jan. 19, 2016 news release (coincidental with the #BCTECH Summit, Jan. 18 – 19, 2016?) features a new report about improving international investment in Canada,
“Opportunities to improve Canada’s attractiveness for R&D investment were identified:
1.Canada needs to better incentivize R&D by rebalancing direct and indirect support measures
2.Canada requires a coordinated, client-centric approach to incentivizing R&D
3.Canada needs to invest in training programs that grow the knowledge economy”
Oddly, entrepreneurial/corporate/business types never have a problem with government spending when the money is coming to them; it’s only a problem when it’s social services.
Back to MITACS, one of their more interesting (to me) projects was announced at the 2015 Canadian Science Policy Conference. MITACS has inaugurated a Canadian Science Policy Fellowships programme which in its first year (pilot) will see up up to 10 academics applying their expertise to policy-making while embedded in various federal government agencies. I don’t believe anything similar has occurred here in Canada although, if memory serves, the Brits have a similar programme.
Finally, I offer kudos to Sherry Zhao, MITACS Business Development Specialist, the only person to ask me how her organization might benefit my business. Admittedly I didn’t talk to a lot of people but it’s striking to me that at an ‘innovation and business’ tech summit, only one person approached me about doing business. Of course, I’m not a male aged between 25 and 55. So, extra kudos to Sherry Zhao and MITACS.
Christy Clark (Premier of British Columbia), in her opening comments, stated 2800 (they were expecting about 1000) had signed up for the #BCTECH Summit. I haven’t been able to verify that number or get other additional information, e.g., business deals, research breakthroughs, etc. announced at the Summit. Regardless, it was exciting to attend and find out about the latest and greatest on the BC scene.
I wish all the participants great and good luck and look forward to next year’s where perhaps we’ll here about how the province plans to help with the ‘manufacturing middle’ issue. For new products you need to have facilities capable of reproducing your devices at a speed that satisfies your customers; see my Feb. 10, 2014 post featuring a report on this and other similar issues from the US General Accountability Office.
It is the first and it is sold out. Fear Not! I have gotten a press pass so I can investigate a bit further. In the meantime, #BCTECH Summit 2016 is a joint venture between the province of British Columbia (BC, Canada) and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), a crown corporation formerly known as the Science Council of British Columbia. A Jan 6, 2016 BCIC news release tells the story,
With less than two weeks to go and tickets 95% sold out, world-renowned keynote speakers will reinforce technology’s increasing economic and social impact to more than 2,000 people during B.C.’s first #BCTECH Summit on Jan. 18 & 19, 2016.
With Microsoft confirmed as the title sponsor, the summit will feature numerous dynamic keynote speakers:
Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist—described as “the restless genius”, with predictions that will change how people think about the future.
Andrew Wilson, CEO, Electronic Arts—named one of the top people in business by Fortune magazine.
T.K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, corporate vice-president, Microsoft—will explore how technology and the cloud is empowering Canadians and changing how we do business and interact in the digital world.
Elyse Allan, president and CEO, GE Canada—named one of the 25 most powerful people in Canada.
Eric Ries, pioneer of the Lean Startup movement—a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world; changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
In addition, panel discussions featuring B.C. business leaders and global thought leaders will explore the latest trends, including fintech, cleantech, big data and cyber security.
A technology showcase will feature B.C.’s most innovative technology at work, including robots, 3D printing and electric cars. A new exhibit, the 4D Portal, will take delegates on a journey of B.C. tech, from deep below the earth’s surface into outer space.
More than 500 high school and post-secondary students will also take part in the summit’s career showcase featuring speakers and exhibitors sharing the latest information about technology as a career choice that pays, on average, 60% more than the B.C. average.
As part of the career showcase, nearly 200 high school students will participate in a coding camp and learn basic coding skills. The coding camp will also be offered via live webcast so schools throughout the province can participate.
A key component of the summit will profile venture capital presentations made by 40 promising small- to medium-sized B.C. companies aiming to attract investors and proceed to the next stage of development.
B.C.’s technology sector, a key pillar of the BC Jobs Plan, is consistently growing faster than the economy overall. Its continued growth is integral to diversifying the Province’s economy, strengthening B.C.’s business landscape and creating jobs in B.C. communities.
The new $100 million venture capital BC Tech Fund, announced Dec. 8, 2015, is the first pillar of the comprehensive #BCTECH Strategy to be released in full at B.C.’s first #BCTECH Summit, Jan. 18 – 19, 2016. The conference is presented by the B.C. government in partnership with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC). To register or learn more, go to: http://bctechsummit.ca
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk –
“Strengthening our technology sector is part of our commitment to support our diverse economy. The summit provides an unprecedented opportunity for like-minded individuals to get together and discuss ways of growing this sector and capitalizing from that growth.”
President and CEO, BCIC, Greg Caws –
“We are pleased to provide British Columbians from across the province with the opportunity to explore how technology impacts our lives and our businesses. Above all, the #BCTECH Summit will be a catalyst for all of us to embrace technology and an innovation mindset.”
President, Microsoft Canada, Janet Kennedy –
“Microsoft is proud to be the title sponsor of the #BCTECH Summit—an event that showcases B.C.’s vibrant technology industry. We are excited about the growth of B.C.’s tech sector and are pleased that we’re expanding our developer presence in Vancouver and supporting Canadian private and public sector organizations through our investments in Canadian data centres.”
The technology sector directly employs more than 86,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 60% higher than B.C.’s industrial average.
B.C.’s technology sector is growing faster than the overall economy. In 2013, it grew at a rate of 4.7%, higher than the 3.2% growth observed in the provincial economy.
In 2013, the technology sector added $13.9 billion to B.C.’s GDP.
B.C.’s 9,000 technology companies combined generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013.
New technology companies are emerging at increasing rates throughout the province. In 2013, there was an addition of more than 700 new technology companies in B.C., an increase of 8% over the prior year.
I’m not a big fan of Kurzweil’s but the man can sell tickets and, in days past, he did develop some important software. You can find out more about him on his website and critiques can be found here on Quora, as well as, a thoughtful Nov. 5, 2012 piece by Gary Marcus for the New Yorker about Kurzweil’s latest book (“How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”).
As for me, I’m most interested in the trade show/research row/technology showcase. Simon Fraser University sent out a Jan. 14, 2016 news release highlighting its participation in the trade show and summit (weirdly there was nothing from the other major local research institution, the University of British Columbia),
Simon Fraser University is a gold sponsor of the #BCTECH Summita new two-day event presented by the B.C. government and the BC Innovation Council to showcase the province’s vibrant technology sector
Simon Fraser University will be highly visible at the inaugural #BCTECH Summit taking place on January 18-19 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
In addition to technology displays from student entrepreneurs at the SFU Innovates booth, SFU research will be featured at both the Technology Showcase and Research Row. [emphasis mine] SFU representatives will be on hand at the Career Showcase to speak to secondary and post-secondary students who are interested in the industry. And several investment-ready companies affiliated with SFU will be pitching to elite investors.
During the summit, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, students and government will explore new ideas on how to gain a competitive advantage for B.C. The event will spark discussion on directions for the province’s rapidly developing high tech sector, while several streams will illustrate and share new innovations.
“This event provides us with an opportunity to showcase how SFU students, faculty, alumni and client companies are stimulating innovation and creating jobs and opportunities for British Columbia,“ says SFU Vice-President Research Joy Johnson.“And it highlights the work we’ve been doing to inspire, develop and support impact-driven innovation and entrepreneurship through SFU Innovates.”
SFU Innovates was launched in October to synergize and strengthen the university’s activities and resources related to community and industry engagement, incubation and acceleration, entrepreneurship and social innovation.
Johnson will introduce the summit’s keynote address by Eric Ries, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, on How today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, on Jan. 18  at 10:45 a.m.
SFU Faculty of Applied Sciences professor Ryan D’Arcy will be a panelist at a session titled Industry Deep Dive – Healthcare, moderated by Paul Drohan, CEO, Life Sciences BC, on Jan. 19  at 11 a.m. He will share how Surrey’s thriving Innovation Boulevard (IB) is progressing. SFU is a founding partner of IB and contributes via the university’s research strengths in health and technology and its focus on health tech innovation.
Steven Jones, an SFU professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and associate director and head of bioinformatics at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BCCA [BC Cancer Agency], will participate on a panel titled Shaping the Future of Health, on Jan. 19  at 2:15 p.m., to be moderated by the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health.
And Igor Faletski, CEO of Mobify (and an SFU alumnus) will participate in the “Why BC?” session to be moderated by Bill Tam, CEO of BCTIA [BC Technology Industry Association], on Jan. 18  at 11:30 a.m.
Students and delegates will also have the opportunity to explore the various research and technology showcases.
Backgrounder: SFU Innovations at #BCTECH Summit
• 4D LABS will showcase how it has helped B.C.’s academic and industry tech clients turn their ideas into innovations. The facility has been instrumental in bringing numerous ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace, advancing a diverse range of technologies, including fuel cells, batteries, biosensors, security devices, pharmaceutical delivery, MEMS, and many more. As B.C.’s premier materials research institute, the open-access, $65 million state-of-the-art facility has helped to advance nearly 50 companies in the local tech sector.
• SFU researchers led by JC Liu of the Faculty of Applied Sciences will display their cloud gaming platform, Rhizome, utilizing the latest hardwaresupport for both remote servers and local clients. The platform takes the first step towards bridging online gaming systems and the public cloud, accomplishing ultra-low latency and resulting in a low power consumption gaming experience. Their demo shows that gaming over virtualized cloud can be made possible with careful optimization and integration of different modules. They will also introduce CrowdNavigation, a complementary service to existing navigation systems that combats the “last mile puzzle” and helps drivers to determine the end of routes.
•Molescope is a hand held tool that uses a smartphone to monitor skin for signs of cancer. The device is based on research that Maryam Sadeghi conducted during her doctoral studies at SFU and commercialized through her company, MetaOptima Inc., a former SFU Venture Connection client. The product was unveiled at the World Congress of Dermatology in 2015 and is also now available at the consumer level. Molescope enables people to monitor their moles and manage skin health.
• Engineering science professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park will showcase their Wearable Lower Limb Anthropomorphic Exoskeleton (WLLAE) – a lightweight, battery-operated and ergonomic robotic system to help those with mobility issues improve their lives. The exoskeleton features joints and links that correspond to those of a human body and sync with motion. SFU has designed, manufactured and tested a proof-of-concept prototype and the current version can mimic all the motions of hip joints. Researchers anticipate the next generation of this system early this year. The prototype will be live-demoed as an example of a breakthrough innovation.
Venture Capital Presentations
Several SFU-affiliated companies were selected to present investment pitches to local and international venture capitalists at the summit, including:
• H+ Technology, creator of Holus, an interactive, tabletop holographic platform that converts any digital content from your tablet, smartphone, PC or Mac into a 360-degree holographic experience. H+ was co-founded by three SFU alumni and was a former client company of the SFU incubator at the Harbour Centre campus.
• Optigo Networks, a VentureLabs® client company that delivers next-generation security for the commercial Internet of Things.
• Saltworks Technologies Inc., provider of advanced water treatment solutions and a company founded by two graduates of SFU’s Management of Technology MBA program.
• Semios, a VentureLabs® client company and emerging leader in agricultural technology innovation.
• VeloMetro Mobility Inc., a former SFU Venture Connection and current VentureLabs® client company with the mission to provide people with human-powered vehicles that parallel automobile functionality for urban use.
SFU Innovates Trade Show will include:
• H+ Technology (see above)
• Shield X Technology, creators of Brainshield™, an impact-diverting decal for sports helmets that is the result of six years of R&D at SFU’s School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering at the Surrey campus. An SFU spinout, it is a current VentureLabs® client company.
• Acceleration Innovations, creator of Birth Alert, the first ever app-enabled, automatic and wireless contraction-monitoring device. Acceleration Innovations was founded by a team of students from the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program.
• ORA Scents, a mobile device company created by an SFU Beedie School of Business undergrad student, that is introducing the world’s first app-enabled scent diffuser that enables users to create, control and share personalized scents in real-time. [Sounds like oPhone mentioned in my June 18, 2014 posting.)
I’m particularly interested in what 4D Labs is doing these days. (They used to brand themselves as a nanotechnology laboratory but they’ve moved on to what they see as more sophisticated branding. I’m just curious. Have they changed focus or is it nanotechnology under a new name?)
They have a ‘big data’ start to 2016 planned for the President’s (Andrew Petter at Simon Fraser University [SFU] in Vancouver, Canada) Dream Colloquium according to a Jan. 5, 2016 news release,
Big data explained: SFU launches spring 2016 President’s Dream Colloquium
Speaker series tackles history, use and implications of collecting data
Canadians experience and interact with big data on a daily basis. Some interactions are as simple as buying coffee or as complex as filling out the Canadian government’s mandatory long-form census. But while big data may be one of the most important technological and social shifts in the past five years, many experts are still grappling with what to do with the massive amounts of information being gathered every day.
To help understand the implications of collecting, analyzing and using big data, Simon Fraser University is launching the President’s Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data on Tuesday, January 5.
“Big data affects all sectors of society from governments to businesses to institutions to everyday people,” says Peter Chow-White, SFU Associate Professor of Communication. “This colloquium brings together people from industry and scholars in computing and social sciences in a dialogue around one of the most important innovations of our time next to the Internet.”
This spring marks the first President’s Dream Colloquium where all faculty and guest lectures will be available to the public. The speaker series will give a historical overview of big data, specific case studies in how big data is used today and discuss what the implications are for this information’s usage in business, health and government in the future.
The series includes notable guest speakers such as managing director of Microsoft Research, Surajit Chaudhuri, and Tableau co-founder Pat Hanrahan.
“Pat Hanrahan is a leader in a number of sectors and Tableau is a leader in accessing big data through visual analytics,” says Chow-White. “Rather than big data being available to only a small amount of professionals, Tableau makes it easier for everyday people to access and understand it in a visual way.”
Surajit Chaudhuri, Scientist and Managing Director of XCG (Microsoft Research)
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Pat Hanrahan,Professor at the Stanford Computer Graphics Laboratory, Cofounder and Chief Scientist of Tableau, Founding member of Pixar
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Sheelagh Carpendale,Professor of Computing ScienceUniversity of Calgary, Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization
Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 3:30pm
Colin Hill, CEO of GNS Healthcare
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Chad Skelton, Award-winning Data Journalist and Consultant
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Not to worry, even though the first talk with Sasha Issenberg and Mark Pickup (strangely, he’s [Pickup is an SFU professor of political science] not mentioned in the news release or on the event page) has taken place, a webcast is being posted to the event page here.
I watched the first event live (via a livestream webcast which I accessed by clicking on the link found on the Event’s Speaker’s page) and found it quite interesting although I’m not sure about asking Issenberg to speak extemporaneously. He rambled and offered more detail about things that don’t matter much to a Canadian audience. I couldn’t tell if part of the problem might lie with the fact that his ‘big data’ book (The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns) was published a while back and he’s since published one on medical tourism and is about to publish one on same sex marriages and the LGBTQ communities in the US. As someone else who moves from topic to topic, I know it’s an effort to ‘go back in time’ and to remember the details and to recapture the enthusiasm that made the piece interesting. Also, he has yet to get the latest scoop on big data and politics in the US as embarking on the 2016 campaign trail won’t take place until sometime later in January.
So, thanks to Issenberg for managing to dredge up as much as he did. Happily, he did recognize that there are differences between Canada and the US and the type of election data that is gathered and other data that can accessed. He provided a capsule version of the data situation in the US where they can identify individuals and predict how they might vote, while Pickup focused on the Canadian scene. As one expects from Canadian political parties and Canadian agencies in general, no one really wants to share how much information they can actually access (yes, that’s true of the Liberals and the NDP [New Democrats] too). By contrast, political parties and strategists in the US quite openly shared information with Issenberg about where and how they get data.
Pickup made some interesting points about data and how more data does not lead to better predictions. There was one study done on psychologists which Pickup replicated with undergraduate political science students. The psychologists and the political science students in the two separate studies were given data and asked to predict behaviour. They were then given more data about the same individuals and asked again to predict behaviour. In all. there were four sessions where the subjects were given successively more data and asked to predict behaviour based on that data. You may have already guessed but prediction accuracy decreased each time more information was added. Conversely, the people making the predictions became more confident as their predictive accuracy declined. A little disconcerting, non?
Pickup made another point noting that it may be easier to use big data to predict voting behaviour in a two-party system such as they have in the US but a multi-party system such as we have in Canada offers more challenges.
So, it was a good beginning and I look forward to more in the coming weeks (President’s Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data). Remember if you can’t listen to the live session, just click through to the event’s speaker’s page where they have hopefully posted the webcast.
The next dream colloquium takes place Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016,
Big Data since 1854
Dr. Surajit Chaudhuri, Scientist and Managing Director of XCG (Microsoft Research)
Standford University, PhD
Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 3:30–5 pm
IRMACS Theatre, ASB 10900, Burnaby campus [or by webcast[
On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm in the back room of The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.]), Café Scientifique will be hosting a talk about climate change and the rise of complex life (from the Nov. 12, 2015 announcement),
Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Mark Jellinek. The title of his talk is:
The Formation and Breakup of Earth’s Supercontinents and the Remarkable Link to Earth’s Climate and the Rise of Complex Life
Earth history is marked by the intermittent formation and breakup of “supercontinents”, where all the land mass is organized much like a completed jigsaw puzzle centered at the equator or pole of the planet. Such events disrupt the mantle convective motions that cool our planet, affecting the volcanic and weathering processes that maintain Earth’s remarkably hospitable climate, in turn. In this talk I will explore how the last two supercontinental cycles impelled Earth into profoundly different climate extreme’s: a ~150 million year long cold period involving protracted global glaciations beginning about 800 million years ago and a ~100 million year long period of extreme warming beginning about 170 million years ago. One of the most provocative features of the last period of global glaciation is the rapid emergence of complex, multicellular animals about 650 million years ago. Why global glaciation might stimulate such an evolutionary bifurcation is, however, unclear. Predictable environmental stresses related to effects of the formation and breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia on ocean chemistry and Earth’s surface climate may play a crucial and unexpected role that I will discuss.
A professor in the Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Jellinek’s research interests include Volcanology, Geodynamics, Planetary Science, Geological Fluid Mechanics. You can find out more about Dr. Jellinek and his work here.
Joyce Murray and the Paris Climate Conference (sold out)
Joyce Murray is a Canadian Member of Parliament, (Liberal) for the riding of Vancouver Quadra who hosts a regular breakfast meeting where topics of interest (child care, seniors, transportation, the arts, big data, etc.) are discussed. From a Nov. 13, 2015 email announcement,
You are invited to our first post-election Vancouver Quadra MP Breakfast Connections on November 27th at Enigma Restaurant, for a discussion with Dr. Mark Jaccard on why the heat will be on world leaders in Paris, in the days leading to December 12th, at the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21).
After 20 years of UN negotiations, the world expects a legally binding universal agreement on climate to keep temperature increases below 2°C! The climate heat will especially be on laggards like Canada and Australia’s new Prime Ministers. What might be expected of the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau and his provincial premiers? What are the possible outcomes of COP21?
Dr. Jaccard has worked with leadership in countries like China and the United States, and helped develop British Columbia’s innovative Climate Action Plan and Carbon Tax.
Join us for this unique opportunity to engage with a climate policy expert who has participated in this critical global journey. From the occasion of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit resulting in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), through the third Conference of Parties’ (COP3) Kyoto Protocol, to COP21 today, the building blocks for a binding international solution have been assembled. What’s still missing?
Mark has been a professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University since 1986 and is a global leader and consultant on structuring climate mitigation solutions. Former Chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission, he has published over 100 academic papers, most of these related to his principal research focus: the design and application of energy-economy models that assess the effectiveness of sustainable energy and climate policies.
When: Friday November 27th 7:30 to 9:00AM
Where: Enigma Restaurant 4397 west 10th Avenue (at Trimble)
Cost: $20 includes a hot buffet breakfast; $10 for students (cash only please)
RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-664-9220
This is not much notice but for interested parties in Vancouver (Canada) there’s a 7 pm discussion tonight (Oct. 1, 2015) taking place under the auspices of the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Philisophers’ Café series where a topic title is announced and people show up to discuss it. From the SFU Philisophers’ Café website events page,
Title: Science and Government Policy
The recent CBC documentary, “The Silence of the Labs” describes the systematic dismantling of many of Canada’s top scientific laboratories. These labs were generating data that could have been used to modify and steer government policy. Some have said that actions such as these show that there is a “war against science” in Canada. Do you agree, or is that an exaggerated claim? What should be the relationship between government and scientists?
Dr. Luis Sojo: Dr. Luis Sojo is an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry at SFU. He holds a PhD in analytical chemistry from Concordia University and is interested in the public dissemination of scientific ideas and their impact on government policies.
Thinking the unthinkable, imagining the impossible, and discussing the improbable
SFU’s Philosophers’ Café is a series of informal public discussions in the heart of our communities. Since 1998, this award-winning program has engaged the interests of scholars, seniors, students, philosophers, and non-philosophers through stimulating dialogue and the passionate exchange of ideas.
All cafés are free to attend. No registration is required.
[A list of scheduled cafés follows on their website.]
I last wrote about ISEA (International Sympsosium on Electronics Arts) in an April 24, 2015 posting when announcing this,
Our paper (Raewyn Turner, an artist from New Zealand, and mine, Maryse de la Giroday), Steep (I): a digital poetry of gold nanoparticles, has been accepted for the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) to be held in Vancouver, Canada from Aug. 14 – 18, 2015. I last wrote about ISEA 2015 in a Dec. 19, 2014 post where I indicated more information about our project would be forthcoming—the next week. Ah well, better late than never, eh?
In short, I will be presenting at the conference and (fingers crossed) so will Raewyn.
A July 7, 2015 Simon Fraser University (SFU) news release reveals more about the conference programming,
For the first time in two decades, the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) is returning to Canada and will be hosted by Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Communication, Arts and Technology, and its School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), the School for Contemporary Arts (SCA).
I attended the 2009 edition of ISEA which was held in Northern Ireland and Ireland where some people were still raving about the Québec-hosted event. Vancouver has a lot to live up to.
Back to the news release,
ISEA 2015 will be held in Vancouver from August 14-19. Over the five days the symposium will feature more than 450 speakers, workshops and presentations. Its theme, “Disruption,” will examine the borders between academia and artwork, practice and theory, systems and reality, and art and society.
The symposium will also feature some of the most innovative and groundbreaking digital artworks from all over the world and will transform Vancouver into a “city-sized” dynamic art space, says symposium coordinator and SIAT professor Philippe Pasquier. More than 160 digital artworks will come to life in multiple venues throughout Vancouver, including SFU Woodwards.
“We are excited that Simon Fraser University, with its core commitments to innovative education and community engagement, will host one of the world’s most prominent international arts and technology events,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. “Featuring leading experts and innovators in the field, including those from SFU, and a global arts showcase, ISEA 2015 will bring great energy to the city.”
A committee of distinguished experts has curated a program for ISEA 2015 that will explore how disruptions manifest in science, artistic practice, activism, geopolitics, media, sound, sound ecology and embodied practices.
Panels and roundtable programs will feature discussions on artistic research, communications, computational media technologies, dance and performance. These will explore how art intersects with climate change, contemporary curatorial practices, media activism and subversion, IY technology, bio art and sound, embodied art practices, geopolitics and more.
To frame the discussion around the artistic, scientific, technological, and social manifestations of disruptions as a phenomenon, keynote speakers will include Brian Massumi, Michael Connor, Dominique Moulon, Sara Diamond, as well as SFU’s Hildegard Westerkamp. The Yes Men will close the symposium with an address on the use of creative expression for subversion and disruption.
The symposium will feature 19 workshops across several disciplines. MOCO’15, the 2nd international workshop on movement and computing, aims to gather academics and practitioners interested in the computational study and generation of movement in art and science. As part of MOCO’15’s artistic program visitors can attend Hakanai, a dance performance, taking place in a cube of moving images.
Keynote speakers (and master disruptors) Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano, better known as the Yes Men, will share the history of media activism, following up with a mater-class on creating media activist campaign base on unscripted responses.
MUTEK Cabaret, organized by the MUTEK Festival and curated for ISEA 2015 by Alain Mongeau.
Computer code meets contemporary art as ISEAS 2015 presents an Algorave, a participatory performance that invites visitors to dance to music generated by algorithms. This is the first time an Algorave will take place in Canada.
Beyond the Trees: WALLPAPERS in dialogue with Emily Carr is an exhibition by the WALLPAPERS collective that will run at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
As for the paper and video we’re (Raewyn and I) presenting, it’s called “Steep (1): a digital poetry of gold nanoparticles. It is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 in session no. 9 (Interactive Text 1), 11:30 am – 1 pm. You can find the schedule here.