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News in brief

'Matheletes' visit MUN

A send-off for the 2002 Canadian International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) Team was hosted at Memorial on July 10, 2002 before departing for the 43rd Annual IMO in Glasgow, Scotland. Well-wishers included Sandra Kelly, minister of youth services and post-secondary education, Dr. Axel, Meisen, president of Memorial, and Dr. Graham Wright, executive director, Canadian Mathematical Society, the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's IMO team.

"These students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills and creativity that is crucial to compete against the very best at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright. "They represent the great potential of students across the country and all experience an enormous pride in representing Canada on the international stage."

The Canadian Team comprises six high school students chosen from more than 200,000 students who have written various local, provincial, national and international contests.

Forum held on health resources

Memorial University and the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada hosted an evening panel discussion and policy dialogue on health human resources Sept. 12, 2002. Led by moderator Elizabeth Davis, past president of the St. John's Health Care Corporation, leading health-care experts explored possible solutions to the growing debate over human resources in Canada's health-care system.

Issues of staffing or human resources were discussed during this two-hour televised policy dialogue. Panelists were Nick Busing, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa; James Clarke, president of the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents; Robin Moore-Orr, Community Health, Memorial University; Linda-Lee O'Brien-Pallas, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto; and Maggie Webb, regional nursing officer, Labrador Inuit Association.

Hosting Atlantic linguistics conference

Memorial's Linguistics department hosted the 26th annual conference of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association Nov. 8-10 in St. John's. The conference featured over 40 papers on a wide range of language-related topics. Many focus on the conference theme of linguistics and literacy (in particular, child reading difficulties and literacy in aboriginal communities), as well as on the languages of eastern Canada.

Science honours top scholar
The Faculty of Science held its 2000-2001 Distinguished Scholar Medal presentation Nov. 28. This year, the committee selected as the medal winner Dr. Michael Morrow, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography (above right with Dean of Science Dr. Robert Lucas).

The Distinguished Scholar Medal recognizes contributions of outstanding quality which demonstrate a balanced approach to scholarly activities in both teaching and research. It is awarded by the Dean of Science to a deserving faculty member in the Faculty of Science and is not necessarily awarded every year.

Building research collaborations

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science hosted a research forum with colleagues from the National Research Council's Institute for Marine Dynamics (IMD) and Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C-CORE) on Feb. 7, 2003. The purpose of the forum was to discuss possibilities for increased collaborative research with an awareness of each organization's role in the larger technical community.

According to Dr. Ray Gosine, associate dean (graduate studies and research), there are obvious connections when it comes to robotics, ice and ocean and naval architectural engineering, but more could be done on many other levels.

"There is an interest amongst the various units to forge a more formal arrangement and to build upon collaborative research opportunities," he said.

At present, there is no formal arrangement in place to take advantage of common interests and expertise amongst the three organizations. Representing the IMD and C-CORE at the forum were Dr. Stephen Jones, director of research, and Dr. Judith Whittick, president and CEO.

Inco to fund new research project

Faculty in the Department of Earth Sciences will be very busy over the next few months working on a new research project funded by Inco. The project involves characterizing the distribution of metals from the Voisey's Bay deposit.

Under the direction of principal investigators Dr. Paul Sylvester and Dr. Derek Wilton, Memorial will work closely with Voisey's Bay Nickel (VBN) Co. on bulk samples from the main sulphide ore body or Ovoid. The project is the initial stage of a larger plan under which Memorial University and Inco staff will work jointly to develop an understanding of the nickel-sulphide deposits in the area.

The purpose of the study is to examine where the metals of interest, nickel, cobalt and copper, are distributed in the rock. According to Dr. Sylvester, "the Ovoid is a sulphide rich body, but it contains different sulphide minerals and each of these minerals contains different amounts of the three metals. The big job is to find out where the nickel, copper and cobalt are concentrated within the Ovoid."

Exactly how these minerals are distributed will determine Inco's mining process. Memorial researchers will help them as they mine by designing their mineral processing operation which can then be refined as the study progresses.

Memorial has just received the first 20 samples and work into their characterization is well underway. Two hundred more samples are expected by the end of the year.

One interesting element to the project is the chance to explore toxic metals and their distribution in the ore.

"There are trace metals dissolved in these sulphides which are toxic. When these ores are refined there are going to be wastes left over. It would be very beneficial for Inco to know which toxic metals these wastes are going to contain in order to be able to dispose of them properly," said Dr. Sylvester.

The opportunity for Memorial researchers to work with Inco is beneficial to both organizations. "VBN is getting the use of very specialized equipment and expert personnel and we are getting to work on a very interesting sample material and look at metals that have potentially interesting environmental consequences," says Dr. Sylvester.

This is only the beginning for Memorial's involvement in minerals research. "Inco is very committed to working with Memorial. The new Inco Innovation Centre will make this commitment even stronger and promote Newfoundland's capabilities in minerals research to the rest of the world."

New director for School of Pharmacy

Dr. Linda Hensman has been appointed director of the School of Pharmacy by the Board of Regents. She has served as interim director since May 2002, when the previous director, Dr. Chris Loomis, was appointed vice-president (research and international relations) and for the year prior to that she was acting director.

During this time, Dr. Hensman has moved the School of Pharmacy towards resolution of shortcomings in the undergraduate pharmacy program, leading the redesign of the program to meet accreditation standards.

New dean of education

Dr. Alice Collins has been named the new dean of the Faculty of Education. The appointment was approved by Memorial's Board of Regents at its February meeting. Dr. Collins has been acting dean since February 2002. Upon assuming the role as acting dean, Dr. Collins has worked with the faculty to make significant progress with a number of initiatives including a formal academic program review of the faculty, a proposal for a doctoral program, cohort-based courses and programs for professional educators beyond the St. John's area, and increased collaboration with other faculties at Memorial University.

As well, she has taken steps that helped achieve about a 35 per cent increase in undergraduate registrations and a 20 per cent increase in graduate registrations in the current academic year; helped secure $600,000 in external funding for students in rural and co-op education; and achieved much in improved working relationships with the Department of Education, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association, and the School Districts

New director of research for NRC-IMD

Dr. Bruce Parsons has been named director of research at the NRC Institute for Marine Dynamics in St. John's. A research officer at the institute since 1984, he is known internationally for his work in ice science and the evaluation of yacht design. Dr. Parsons is now responsible for administering the National Research Council's program in the fields of ship technology and offshore engineering. Located on the St. John's campus of Memorial University, the Institute for Marine Dynamics is NRC's national centre for ocean technology research and development and is at the forefront of science related to offshore evacuation and rescue, ice-vessel interaction, the behaviour of ships and offshore platforms, and other areas of concern to Canadian marine industries.

Dr. Parsons will now have responsibility for the work of more than two dozen researchers and for linking that work to the needs of Canada's marine industries. The institute has a mandate to provide innovative solutions and technical expertise in support of those industries, including the operation of some of the world's largest and most sophisticated ocean technology laboratories. It operates the world's longest ice tank at 90 metres, a 200-metre towing tank and a 2,432 square metre offshore engineering basin, capable of generating wind, waves and current.

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}