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Engineering and Applied Science

A need for speed

By Rosie Hales, Communications Officer

The Queen’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (QFSAE) team hits the road starting this week to compete in three international events.

[Queen's Formula SAE team]Members of the Queen's Formula Society of Automotive Engineers spent 15,000 man-hours creating their open wheeled race car.

QFSAE has been building open wheel race cars – similar to the machines in Formula One racing – and testing them at international competitions for more than two decades. This year’s team of 30 people includes members from various faculties across campus.

“Everyone, no matter their background, has something valuable to bring to the table and will almost certainly get something valuable out of this experience,” says Joseph Liu (Sci’15), General Manager of QFSAE. “Anyone who’s a Formula One enthusiast, car lover or intrigued by the project can join.”

In April, the QFSAE team unveiled their 2014 race car – a product of 15,000 man-hours – at the Integrated Learning Centre in Beamish-Munro Hall. The team hopes that the new and improved aerodynamic package and undertray of the car will help them speed across finish lines in record time.

“The new undertray we’ve installed acts like inverted wings to keep the car in good contact with the ground, especially helping with tight corners,” says Mr. Liu (Sci ’15). “The aerodynamic package as a whole would also allow us to drive the car at 100 km/h upside down, if we wanted to, but not that we should!”

After being involved in the QFSAE team for the last three years, Mr. Liu’s favourite part is attending competitions and facing off against 80-120 international teams. In 2010, the QFSAE team placed first out of all Canadian teams at a competition in Michigan.

“The teams that compete are top notch,” says Mr. Liu. “It would be fantastic to be in the top 15 this year.”

This week’s competition lasts until May 17. The team will also be competing in Barrie, Ont., from May 22-25 and in Nebraska in June.

To follow the progress of Queen’s Formula SAE, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or check out their website.
 

'Double-double' gift helps students in need

By Nancy Dorrance, Senior Development Writer

After graduating from Queen’s in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Elise Reel Idnani wanted to stay connected with her alma mater. She also wanted to help other students – particularly those with limited financial resources – advance in the profession she loves.

[Donors Vikas Idnani and Elise Reel Idnani]Donors Elise Reel Idnani (Sc'07) and Vikas Idnani outside a Vale Canada Ltd. worksite.

Setting up a student award with her husband, Vikas Idnani, proved the perfect solution to both wishes. The fact that Vale Canada Ltd., the Sudbury mining company where the Idnanis work, will match their contribution serves to double – or in their case, quadruple – their gift to Queen’s.

Awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need and academic achievement, the new Idnani and Reel Award will be open to students from any year in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, with preference given to Aboriginal students.

“Overall we wanted to help students in need,” says Ms. Reel Idnani, who chairs the Sudbury chapter of Professional Engineers of Ontario. “Since engineering has higher tuition than many other programs, we decided it would be a good focus.”

Attending an Aboriginal symposium and feast while at Queen’s had a lasting impact on Ms. Idnani. That, plus the fact she and Mr. Idnani – who is a contract administrator at Vale – often work with Aboriginal Peoples convinced the couple to include this designation in their student award.

When Mr. Idnani, who has a commerce degree from the University of Mumbai and a business diploma from Sudbury’s Cambrian College, heard about their company’s donor matching program, he decided to combine his giving with Ms. Idnani’s to maximize the benefits.

“Once our Queen’s award is fully funded, we intend to do the same thing at other institutions,” he says.

Gifts toward student assistance reduce the financial pressures that some students experience, and recognize their academic excellence and perseverance during their studies at Queen's.

— Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs

More than one-third of Queen’s undergraduate students currently receive financial assistance from the university through scholarships (merit-based), bursaries (need-based) or some combination of the two.

“All donations for student financial aid are greatly appreciated,” says Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. “Gifts toward student assistance reduce the financial pressures that some students experience, and recognize their academic excellence and perseverance during their studies at Queen's."

In addition to their monetary value, awards can provide a “vote of confidence” in a student’s ability to succeed at Queen’s, Dean Tierney adds. “These awards express in concrete terms the university’s recognition of student achievement and the value of investing in the potential of our students.”

In 2012-13, 35 per cent of the funding for Queen’s undergraduate student assistance – more than $7 million – came from donor-sponsored funds. The goal of Queen’s Initiative Campaign is to raise funds for all forms of student assistance for undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. To date, $50 million has been donated toward this purpose.

The Initiative Campaign is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. The goal is to raise half a billion dollars to ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people. The campaign will nurture a supportive campus community, enhance the student learning experience, and secure a global reputation in discovery and inquiry.

 

For the love of science

By Hollie Knapp-Fisher, Communications Intern

In response to a sharp decline in the number of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) five years ago, Associate Professor and Director of Queen’s Community Outreach Centre, Lynda Colgan brought Science Rendezvous to the Kingston community. This concept of a day-long celebration of STEM subjects, scientists and careers was the inspired by research chemist Dwayne Miller from the University of Toronto, and quickly became a national event.

Lynda Colgan is organizing the fourth annual Science Rendezvous.

“Through research we know that children engage with topics early on,” says Dr. Colgan. “The development of negative attitudes towards the sciences is well established by the eighth grade. These students have no idea what the sciences can do for them.”

With over 60 stations, 250 volunteers and an anticipated audience of more than 2,500 visitors, Science Rendezvous, Kingston is expected to continue to be one of the largest events of this type in Canada. 

“Informal education opportunities like these are crucial in exposing and stimulating children’s curiosity around the sciences.  Avenues such as museums, conservation areas and even the science channel are important ways for them to learn and discover,” Dr. Colgan adds.

This free event is open to children and their families in hopes of changing the public’s attitude towards STEM subjects. Students will have the opportunity to interact with scientists while they perform experiments or experiment with new technology. Stations will include a Chemistry Magic, surgical simulations, demos by KPF Canine unit, off-road Baja vehicle races, endangered species, green roofs, laser light shows and much more.

The Science Rendezvous is also beneficial to the STEM community. It allows researchers to engage with the public and share their work.

This event takes place on May 3 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre from 10am to 3pm. For more information check out their website http://educ.queensu.ca/coc/science-rendezvous.

Funding strengthens leading-edge research

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Four Queen’s researchers whose projects range from endometrial health to solar energy to animal biology have received over $500,000 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The fund helps institutions attract and retain Canada’s top researchers.

Anne Croy.

“The CFI, through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, has provided us with an excellent mechanism for attracting and retaining top-flight researchers,” says Vice-Principal (Research) Steven Liss. “As a result of this competition, four Queen’s researchers will receive the funding required to develop their innovative infrastructure to enrich the Queen’s research environment and advance leading-edge research.”

The following researchers have received funding:

Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), $400,000 – Dr. Jain’s research focuses on creating a smart microgrid, a green energy generating unit that is the future of the entire power grid network. The funding will allow Dr. Jain to build an experimental setup that accurately depicts smart microgrid dynamics, technical issues and behaviour.

Anne Croy and Chandrakant Tayade (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), $100,000 – The goals of this research project are to improve the basic understanding of the dynamic biology of the reproductive-aged uterus and apply this information to the protection and health of women and their offspring. The funding will allow the researchers to develop a new core lab.

Frances Bonier (Biology), $80,000 – With an eye on conservation, Dr. Bonier is working to understand the influence of environmental challenges on traits related to survival and reproduction in the songbird population. The funding will be used to purchase high-tech field, lab and computing equipment that will assist in her field studies.

For more information visit the John R. Evans Leader Fund website.

Event shines spotlight on Royal Society scholars

The Royal Society Seminar is being held Saturday, April 12 at the University Club, 168 Stuart Street starting at 10 am.

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Four Queen’s professors recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) will soon have the chance to share their research with RSC fellows from across the country. Gauvin Bailey (Art History), Praveen Jain (Computer and Electrical Engineering), Carlos Prado (Philosophy) and David Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) were among seven Queen’s professors named fellows of the RSC last November.

“The Royal Society of Canada is important to me as someone who has just moved back to Canada after living abroad for most of my adult life because it is a way for me to meet colleagues across Canada who are doing amazing things,” says Dr. Bailey. “My appointment as fellow also comes at an opportune time for my own research as I am turning my attention toward Canadian patrimony in a book I am writing on the art and architecture of the French Atlantic Empire--it will include a great deal of material about pre-Conquest Quebec and the French missions to the Great Lakes peoples.”

(L to R) Dr. Graham Bell, President of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. David Lillicrap, Principal Daniel Woolf, Dr. Gauvin Bailey, Dr. Carlos Prado, and Dr. John Meisel, Past President of the RSC gathered in early February at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

The topics for the day include:

Dr. Bailey – The Art and Architecture of a Paper Empire: Utopianism and Intransigence in the French Atlantic World

Dr. Jain – Power Electronics for a Sustainable Society

Dr. Prado – Personalizing Religious Faith

Dr. Lillicrap – Hemophilia: A Disease of Royals and Dogs.

“For an academic to receive fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada is a heart-warming accolade and somehow always comes as a delightful, unexpected surprise,” says Pierre Du Prey, co-chair of the event and a professor in the Department of Art History.

The Royal Society of Canada was established by an Act of Parliament in 1882 as Canada’s national academy. The organization helps promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment, and advises governments, non-governmental organizations and Canadians on matters of public interest.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is being held Saturday, April 12 at the University Club (168 Stuart St.) starting at 10 am.

Queen’s is also scheduled to host the Royal Society of Canada’s annual general meeting in 2016.

Engineering advice captured on camera

On Friday, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen's set up a Photo Booth and a candy table in the atrium of the Integrated Learning Centre. After enjoying a few treats from the candy table, students were invited to grab a prop, strike a pose, and share their best Queen's Engineering memories and advice for future Queen's Engineers. All photos from the event can be accessed on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Facebook page

Queen's earns four new Canada Research Chairs

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Four Queen’s University professors have been named new Canada Research Chairs and one professor’s current chair position is being renewed. The five chairs are Canadian leaders in their respective research fields.

Developed in 2000, each year the CRC program invests up to $265 million to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

“By attracting the most skilled and promising researchers, the CRC program facilitates cutting-edge research and advances Canada as a world leader in discovery and innovation,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).  “Our success in garnering four new chairs and one renewal is demonstrative of  Queen’s leadership in research areas that address some of the most challenging and complex problems facing the world today – from human health and climate change to development of software intelligence.”

The university’s new chair appointments are Stephen Archer, Ahmed Hassan, Philip Jessop, Andy Take and Curtis Nickel has had his appointment renewed.

Stephen Archer (School of Medicine) has been named at Tier 1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine. His research examines pulmonary arterial hypertension and cancer and is working towards devising new treatments.

Philip Jessop (Chemistry) has been named the Tier 1 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Chair in Green Chemistry. His research is aimed at designing more efficient and greener materials, solvents and methods for chemical manufacturing to reduce the consumption of resources, the usage of energy and the production of damaging pollutants.

Andy Take (Civil Engineering) has been named the Tier 2 NSERC Chair in Geotechnical Engineering.  His research program aims to produce the knowledge, highly qualified graduates and practical tools to better understand and manage the risk posed by climate change on the soil slopes of Canada’s natural and built environment.

Ahmed Hassan (School of Computing) has been named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Software Analytics. His research focuses on providing analytical approaches to support the development and operation of Ultra Large Scale Software systems like Blackberry and Facebook. Dr. Hassan, the NSERC BlackBerry Industrial Research Chair, continues his close collaboration with BlackBerry with a new $2 million investment by BlackBerry and NSERC. The two will also co-fund a long-term grant to support research projects at the Software Analysis and Intelligence Lab

Curtis Nickel (Urology) has been named the returning Tier 1 CIHR Chair in Urologic Pain and Inflammation. His research will continue to improve the categorization, diagnostics and understanding of associated psychosocial, neurologic and gastrointestinal dysfunction and develop evidence based management strategies for men and women suffering from interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

For more information on Queen’s researchers’ CRC appointments, follow this link.

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