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    Royal recognition

    Five Queen's University professors elected as fellows to the Royal Society of Canada.

    Five Queen's University professors have been elected as fellows to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), one of the highest honours for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. The five newest fellows from Queen's have a wide variety of research interests, including health, chemistry, computing and music composition.

    Five Queen's University professors have been elected as fellows to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). They are, from left: Keith Poole (Microbiology), Elizabeth Eisenhauer (Oncology), Marjan Mozetich (Music),Suning Wang (Chemistry) and Ugo Piomelli (Mechanical and Materials Engineering).

    "The five newly elected fellows have all made important contributions to their respective fields and are a testament to Queen's commitment to excellence in research," says Principal Daniel Woolf. "I wish to congratulate, on behalf of the Queen's community, these researchers on this tremendous and well-deserved honour."

    The five new RSC members include:

    Elizabeth Eisenhauer (Oncology), a leader in the investigation of cancer drug delivery and cancer clinical trials. Dr. Eisenhauer’s work has led to new standards of cancer treatment and new understandings of how the molecular mechanisms of cancer can be altered by therapeutic invention. From 2006-2009, Dr. Eisenhauer served as president of the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and in 2013, she was elected a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

    "It is an honour, of course, to be elected to the Royal Society of Canada," says Dr. Eisenhauer, "especially for work that I love."

    Marjan Mozetich (Music), an award-winning composer who has uniquely blended elements of modern and classical music to develop a fusion style both innovative and accessible to all types of audiences. He has written more than 65 works of vocal and instrumental combinations for theatre, film, dance, as well as symphonic works, chamber music and solo pieces that have been performed around the world. He has received numerous Canadian and international awards and honours for his compositions.

    "I feel very privileged to be recognized by my colleagues," says Dr. Mozetich. "To have what I do, as a creative, be given credence and importance by my colleagues in the arts and sciences is a tremendous honour."

    Ugo Piomelli (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), a world expert in the area of fluid dynamics.  He has made fundamental contributions to the profession by developing numerical models capable of predicting turbulent flows, and by successfully applying these methods to increase the understanding of the turbulence physics. The models he developed are commonly used by the industrial and research communities, including aerospace, mechanical and environmental engineering, in geophysics and meteorology.

    "I am honoured, truly honoured, to be recognized by my peers for my work," says Dr. Piomelli.

    Keith Poole (Microbiology), a highly respected scholar who has made fundamental contributions to understanding the interplay between basic bacterial physiology and infectious disease. Importantly, he discovered a family of antibiotic pumps that export multiple antimicrobials out of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These so-called multidrug pumps are common in disease-causing bacteria, and their discovery has revolutionized the field of antimicrobial chemotherapy and resistance and influenced antibiotic development in the pharmaceutical industry.

    "I've never done this for accolades. I'm a scientist and, like my peers, am motivated by curiosity," says Dr. Poole. "However, to have an audience of those same peers acknowledge my work is a tremendous honour."

    Suning Wang (Chemistry), a researcher whose innovative approaches to luminescent materials and inorganic chemistry has contributed to opening up a significant new research field: photo-responsive organoboron materials and chemistry. Her studies on the phenomena of photochromism, photoelimination and switchable luminescence of organoboron systems, together with her pioneering scholarship on blue fluorescent and blue phosphorescent emitters for organic light emitting diodes have reinvigorated research on organoboron photochemistry and organoboron-based materials chemistry worldwide.

    "I'm very honoured to be elected into the Royal Society of Canada," says Dr. Wang. "Recognition by one's peers is the highest honour a scientist can receive."

    The Royal Society of Canada is the senior and most prestigious academic society in Canada. Members represent a wide range of academic fields, including the arts, social and natural sciences and humanities. Candidates can be nominated by existing members, seconded by at least two others, or by one of the society's member institutions. Existing members of the society then vote to elect the next cohort of fellows. Election to the society is considered one of the highest honours in Canadian academia.

    The RSC serves to promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment, to recognize academic and artistic excellence, and to advise governments, non-governmental organizations and Canadians on matters of public interest. For more information, visit the RSC website

    Queen’s surveillance expert makes an impact

    Sociology professor David Lyon one of three finalists for national award. 

    Queen’s University Sociology professor David Lyon, an international leader in Surveillance Studies, has been named one of three finalists for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Award. These awards are amongst the highest achievements given annually by SSHRC. 

    The Insight Award, one of five awards under the Impact Awards portfolio, recognises an individual or team whose research has made significant contribution to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. Additionally, their research must have a demonstrable impact both within the academic community and in the broader public.

    David Lyon
    Queen's Sociology professor, Dr. David Lyon, has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 SSHRC Impact Award, Insight category.

    “It’s certainly very gratifying to be selected as a finalist for an Impact Award and especially encouraging for the team with which I work and the Surveillance Studies Centre that I direct,” says Dr. Lyon.

    “Our research addresses key social science issues — the place of the human in the digital world, particularly questions of control and privacy — and also urgent public issues concerning surveillance that are in the daily headlines.”

    Dr. Lyon, who serves as director of the Surveillance Studies Centre and is the Queen's Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, was nominated for his work as one of the world’s leading thinkers on surveillance and the implications of having personal data collected and analyzed by organizations. He has been credited with spearheading the development and growth of surveillance studies as a worldwide, interdisciplinary field and bringing attention to the need for balance in the analysis of surveillance measures.

    “Dr. Lyon’s research has demonstrated tremendous value and influence both within the academic community as well as in the broader public sphere,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “In an ever-more connected world, Dr. Lyon’s research is timely and relevant to the ongoing need to balance security with concern for civil liberties.”

    As well as his extensive writings for academic journals, Dr. Lyon also makes his research accessible to a broader popular audience. He is regularly asked to comment on security issues by national and international media outlets and is recognized by governments and NGOs as a leading expert on surveillance issues. The winners of the SSHRC Impact Awards will be publicly announced at a ceremony in Ottawa on November 16. For more information, visit the SSHRC website

    Improving reproducibility in psychology

    Queen’s researcher part of team examining standards of research.

    Queen’s University developmental psychology professor Stanka Fitneva has co-authored a study in the journal Science that, for the first time, explores the replicability of psychology research.

    The Reproducibility Project: Psychology, launched nearly four years ago, is one of the first crowdsourced research studies in the field. The researchers’ most important finding was that, regardless of the analytic method or criteria used, fewer than half of their studies produced the same findings as the original study.

    Queen's University researcher, Stanka Fitneva, was one of 270 co-authors in a study on the reproducibility of psychology experiments.

    “This is a unique project in psychology, and maybe in all of science," says Dr. Fitneva. "It's the first crowdsourcing project where a number of labs from universities all around the world are involved in an effort to see to what extent findings that are published in major journals can be replicated by independent labs."

    The 270 researchers in the study, at facilities around the globe, re-examined studies from the 2008 issues of Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Efforts were made to ensure the team re-evaluating a study had relevant research expertise, to reduce the likelihood of error. The teams then attempted to reproduce the results of the study.

    Reproducibility means that the results recur when the same data are analyzed again, or when new data are collected using the same methods. While the project hypothesized a reproducibility rate approaching 80 per cent, the authors were surprised to discover that less than half of the target findings were reproduced.

    Dr. Fitneva's team attempted to reproduce the results of an earlier study into the effects of language on children’s object representation. The previous study found that children were more likely to remember an object when the description of its features included direction (i.e. the red part is to the left of the green part) than when it did not (i.e. the red part is touching the green part). Dr. Fitneva's study utilized the materials provided by the authors and a larger sample size. The replication identified several factors that appear to have been excluded from consideration in the original study and may circumscribe the effect.

    Dr. Fitneva and her co-authors propose three possible reasons for the surprising lack of reproducibility they encountered: small differences in how the studies were carried out; a random chance failure to detect the original result; or the possibility the original itself was a false positive. In addition, they highlight another possibility – the preeminence placed on new and innovative discoveries has incentivized researchers to aim for "new" rather than "reproducible" findings.

    "Publication bias in science is a major issue and, in the last couple of years, more and more has surfaced about the detrimental consequences of this bias," says Dr. Fitneva. "Just like in any aspect of human activity, there are incentives that influence the conduct of research. Our journals have been prioritizing the publication of, and thus rewarding researchers for, novel and surprising findings."

    "When we find something surprising it catches the imagination of the public and the media just as much as it catches the imagination of researchers and journal editors. We need to balance the verification processes in science against the drive for innovation. Assessing the reproducibility of findings is essential for scientific progress but currently researchers receive few rewards for engaging in this practice," says Dr. Fitneva.

    The full results of the Reproducibility Project: Psychology have been published in the journal Science.

    Lives Lived: A keen intelligence and insatiable curiosity

    Clinton Lougheed will be remembered for his keen intelligence, and insatiable curiosity –  a good example: only weeks before his death, he enrolled in an online course on quantum physics. Clinton was a wonderful raconteur who never took himself too seriously and found humour in all aspects of life. 

    [Clinton Lougheed]
    Clinton Lougheed served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942-46. He joined the Department of English at Queen’s University in 1955. (Supplied photo)

    Clinton was born in Feb. 24, 1922, the son of John Henry and Drusilla Charlotte Lougheed (née Dobson). Clinton grew up in the village of Thornbury on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, one of six children: Margaret, Ethel, Frank, Everett and George. He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1946. His dreams of flying were dashed by unremitting vertigo whenever he was aloft, and he settled for a more terrestrial existence during his service. Clinton’s university career began at Queen’s University, from which he graduated with an Honours BA in English in 1949. His MA, also completed at Queen’s University, (1950) explored James Joyce’s novel Portrait of the artist as a young man. In 1950 he was awarded a scholarship to study at Harvard University. After a hiatus teaching high school in his hometown, Clinton undertook and completed his doctorate at Harvard, studying the work of 19th Century Irish author Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu.

    Clinton joined the Department of English at Queen’s University in 1955. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1963-64, and to Full Professor in 1965-66. Recognizing a need for expanded academic counseling the Faculty of Arts and Science appointed him as Assistant Dean on Sept. 1, 1967 to fill this need. Clinton was promoted to Associate Dean (Humanities) on July 1, 1969 serving under Dean Ronald L. Watts. In announcing his promotion, Dean Watts cited his ‘wisdom and devotion’ to the faculty and especially to students. After three years he was re-appointed as Associate Dean (Arts) serving until 1975. Clinton was the founding director of the Strathy Language Unit at Queen’s, endowed and created in 1981 to assemble an archive of Canadian English. In this role he edited the first and second volumes of the Strathy Occasional Papers.

    Clinton’s avowed bachelor life ended in 1973 with a chance meeting with his neighbour, Rosemarie Hunter, a newly-minted Queen’s professor of German Language and Literature. Soon thereafter Clinton and Rosemarie became an item, and they married in 1977. Clinton welcomed Rosemarie’s daughters, Fiona, Barbara and Isabel into his life wholeheartedly. Both Clinton and Rosemarie loved to travel and they had many adventures all over the globe. At home, they sailed the Great Lakes in Clinton’s small boat, eventually putting down anchor on Wolfe Island. Their summers there were filled with planting, pruning, weeding and harvesting – friends and family were always welcome.  

    Clinton’s love of gardening continued in retirement when he and Rosemarie moved to an acreage a few miles outside Victoria with views of the ocean. Here, they entertained family and friends from near and far, and Clinton became a doting grandfather to Morgan, Nigel, Mara and Olev, and great granddaughter, Ava.

    When health issues confined him to a wheelchair in the last 10 years of his life, Clinton never complained and found ways to live life to the fullest. He took up photography, revived his interest in drawing, became an iPad aficionado, cooked for himself and others, and watched hundreds of educational programs. Books found by his chair after his death included The Universe Within by Neil Turok and The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson

    Clinton was well loved and is deeply missed by Rosemarie and his step-daughters, their partners and children, and all of his surviving Lougheed clan, including brother Frank (Helen), sister-in-law Leslie, and nieces and nephews, Rose (Hugh), Richard (Judy), Peter (Ann), Carol, Rob, Kathy (Al), and Stephen (Anne).

    Queen’s researcher finds new model of gas giant planet formation

    Simulations lead to new understanding of early solar system.

    Queen’s University researcher Martin Duncan has co-authored a study that solves the mystery of how gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn formed in the early solar system.

    In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, Dr. Duncan and co-authors Harold Levison and Katherine Kretke (Southwest Research Institute) explain how the cores of gas giants formed through the accumulation of small, centimetre- to metre-sized “pebbles.”

    “As far as we know, this is the first model to reproduce the structure of the outer solar system – two gas giants, two ice giants, and a pristine Kuiper belt beyond Neptune,” says Dr. Duncan.

    Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
    This artist’s concept of a young star system shows gas giants forming first, while the gas nebula is present. Dr. Duncan and his co-authors at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) used computer simulations to determine how Jupiter and Saturn evolved in our own solar system. These new calculations show that the cores of gas giants likely formed by gradually accumulating a population of planetary pebbles – icy objects about a foot in diameter.

    The “standard model” for planet formation states that these cores formed a slow procession of accretion. Small fragments, only micrometres across, would accumulate to form larger rocks. These rocks would then collide with other objects, combining and growing larger. These collisions must occur at a very precise angle and speed to allow the objects to combine. Too fast and they both shatter; too slow and accretion cannot occur. This process of collision and growth would continue until the core reached the mass necessary, approximately 10 times the mass of Earth, to begin collecting gasses and growing into the gas giant planets we see today.

    However, Dr. Duncan points out, the gas disk from which the planets would have drawn their atmospheres would have only been present for one to 10 million years. This timeline poses a major challenge for the standard model. Given that Earth is believed to have taken between 30 and 100 million years to form under the standard model, another mechanism would have to explain how planetary cores formed.

    “The model doesn’t seem to produce (cores) massive enough or quickly enough,” says Dr. Duncan.

    The model created by Dr. Duncan and his team found that collisions and accumulation of the so-called pebbles would have allowed the cores to form much more rapidly. Through hundreds of computer simulations, each taking several weeks or longer to run, the team’s simulations were able to produce multiple cores within the predicted timeframe for the gas giants to form. The model also predicts the formation of one to four gas giant planets; consistent with what we see in the outer solar system.

    This was a major breakthrough for Dr. Duncan and his team, as previous simulations under the standard model had only been successful in isolation without outside interference from other planets forming nearby. For the first time, the team was able to simulate the environment of the entire early solar system and successfully replicate what exists today.

    “It is a relief, after many years of performing computer simulations of the standard model without success, to find a new model that is so successful,” says Dr. Duncan.

    When asked what the next steps may be in proving his model, Dr. Duncan said he would like to explore the formation of the rocky planets of inner solar system like Earth. He also suggests studying some of the wide variety of exoplanets recently discovered to see if his model can remain consistent with new findings in other solar systems.

    “A lot of our understanding of how planets are formed has been radically revised in view of these new observations,” says Dr. Duncan. “We’re finding amazing diversity in these systems, so it’s a very exciting time to pursue these investigations.

    The full study has been posted on the Nature website.

    A world of experience on the international stage

    [Team Walkly]
    Team Walkly – Julie Lycklama (Cmp’17), Riley Karson, (Cmp’17), Christopher Thomas (Cmp’17) and Anastasiya Tarnouskaya (Cmp’17) – recently competed in the world final of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. (University Communications)

    While they didn’t win the Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Walkly is returning to Queen’s University having gained valuable experience that will help them reach the next level.

    The Canadian representatives at the prestigious international event –  Riley Karson, (Cmp’17), Julie Lycklama (Cmp’17), Anastasiya Tarnouskaya (Cmp’17) and Christopher Thomas (Cmp’17) – created the Walkly app with the aim of providing a safer walking experience for everyone, anywhere, anytime by combining the power of social media and smartphone technology.

    Winners or not, Ms. Tarnouskaya says the team had a “fantastic experience” in Seattle and benefited greatly by meeting their peers from around the world and learning from their projects and ideas at the Imagine Cup, an international technology competition that provides teams of students from various areas of study the opportunity to use their creativity to change the way we live, work and play.

    Among the key things the foursome learned through the process – having competed at the regional and national levels before making it to the worlds – were being able to adapt to the changing environment quickly, working as a team and being able to handle increasing levels of pressure.

    “One of the most important things was learning quickly. We had to learn everything quickly because it was the first competition we had done – from development to just being able to work with each other,” Ms. Tarnouskaya says. “So I think teamwork was a very important aspect of our learning experience because we had to rely on each other. Also being able to deal with deadlines and work under pressure. We wanted to do a good job and make Canada proud.”

    With the app, the user chooses a destination through a mapping feature and an estimated time of arrival. The app then tracks the user and lets the user’s trusted network see if they are safely on their way. If the user doesn't get to their destination by the set time, the network is notified and can take action, such as a phone call. If a user arrives on time, the app’s automatic check-in feature will notify the network.

    In the finals, the team had to make a 10-minute presentation before the judges as well as a large crowd. The event was livestreamed worldwide.

    Ms. Tarnouskaya says that while the team was satisfied with their presentation, a number of others had already brought their product to market, giving them a key advantage when it came to some of the scoring such as usability.

    Getting Walkly in app stores for Android and iOS platforms and raising awareness is the next step but the team is also looking to get more Queen’s students competing in similar events.

    “Honestly, these competitions are so incredible, they are so much fun and a fantastic learning experience. We really want to inspire other students to get involved in these competitions because Queen’s has so much talent and we want people to be able to use that talent and do great things and get recognized for their capabilities on a world scale,” Ms. Tarnouskaya says, adding that the team is hoping to run presentation workshops based on their experiences. 

    Math Quest: A winning formula

    [Math Quest]
    Camp organizers Siobhain Broekhoven, Carly Rozins and Natalie Corneau are eager for this year's program to begin. (University Communications)












    Those who don’t typically associate mathematics with fun and games have likely never attended Math Quest, an all-girls math camp sponsored by the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Queen’s University Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

    Starting Monday, Math Quest, a four-day residential program, is where high-school aged young women interested in mathematics come together to learn new and exciting ways of applying mathematical skills.

    “I think it’s important to try and reach those kids who enjoy math, or who could enjoy math and really want to be challenged, because I don’t think there’s really anything else like this out there,” says Carly Rozins, a PhD candidate studying evolutionary game theory and one of the camp’s organizers. “It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded girls as well.”

    Based on the diversity of programming, Math Quest truly stands alone.

    Participants will experience an Amazing Race across campus solving math clues and riddles at each location, program their own Lego robots, and even look at the mathematics of salsa dancing.

    The activities are exciting and innovative, as the camp’s staff look for new ways to apply theoretical mathematics across the different branches of the discipline.

    “It’s also activity-based, so they’ll have lots of hands-on activities and experiences – it’s all applications of math, so you can see how your classroom knowledge applies,” says Natalie Corneau, one of the camp’s instructors.

    Participants have the chance to learn from graduate students, doctors, and “mathemagicians” from all different walks of mathematics – from game theorists, to algebraic experts.

    While fostering a deeper love and appreciation for math, the program also serves as an introduction for many to the Queen’s and Kingston communities. This year, participants will take up a block of Leggett Hall, getting a taste of the Queen’s residence experience.

    According to camp director Siobhain Broekhoven, it’s the connections and bonds created at camp that make it such a special place to be, and it all starts with a love of mathematics.

    “We ask the applicants why they want to come to Math Quest and the top reason is ‘I really love math and I want to know more’. We have girls coming from BC, one from the Sunshine Coast – you can’t come from much farther than that in the country,” she says. “I remember last year, when we were finishing up the camp, we asked if there was anybody who wanted to share their e-mail who wanted to stay in touch with each other – and every single girl did.”

    The love of math that each and every instructor and organizer at the camp has is infectious, and the relationships fostered are seamlessly facilitated through engaging mathematical quests.

    Math Quest promises to be an exciting opportunity for those who love working with numbers, equations and formulas.

    It all adds up.

    Stepping up the sexy

    Research reveals our visual system is a “sensitive lie detector”.

    What makes humans attractive to other humans?

    Queen’s University Professor Nikolaus Troje (Psychology, Biology, School of Computing) believes that it is the consistency of the whole appearance rather than the attractiveness of the parts.

    Nikolaus Troje uses point-light displays like this one to conduct his research.

    “Most previous work on attractiveness focused on the effect of isolated features.” says Dr. Troje. “The current study demonstrates how important it is that these features fit together well.”

    Participants were shown schematic point-light displays that depict a person using 15 moving dots. The representation conveyed both the individual characteristics of a person’s movements and their individual body shape.

    Dr. Troje’s team isolated these two areas and separately measured the attractiveness of individual movement styles as well as individual body shapes based on ratings obtained from his research participants. The researchers then combined the movement style of one person with the body shapes of another person and collected attractiveness ratings from these “hybrid walkers.”

    Based on this data, the researchers asked the question: Is the attractiveness of the isolated movement and the attractiveness of the isolated body shape sufficient to predict the attractiveness of the hybrid walker?

    It is not; the hybrid walkers are deemed less attractive than predicted by the movement and the shape used to make them.

    “We found that attractiveness depends on internal consistency – whether the movement and the shape match each other or not,” says Dr. Troje. “Our visual system is a sensitive lie detector that perceives even the slightest inconsistencies and responds negatively to them.”

    The results call for re-examination of earlier research that looked at attractiveness in a piecemeal way.

    “They can also be used to formulate advice to people who are working on improving their own appearance,” says Dr. Troje. “What works for one person may not work for another one. If in doubt, just be yourself.”

    The research was published in Evolution and Human Behavior.

    Sharing the beauty of math

    [Kevser Aktas]
    Kevser Aktas, a post-doctoral fellow in mathematics, believes that mathematical methods, games and applications can be used to develop creativity and artistic skills, as well as promote an active lifestyle of outdoor activity and sport. (University Communications)

    Although her domain of number theory is among the more abstract reaches of maths, Kevser Aktas, a post-doctoral fellow at Queen’s University, has innovated ways of reaching out to show people “the beauty of mathematics” at the same time as mobilizing the problem-solving skills at the heart of that beauty for an astonishing variety of aims.

    Dr. Aktas’ belief is that mathematical methods, games and applications can be used to develop creativity and artistic skills, as well as promote an active lifestyle of outdoor activity and sport. In March 2014 she set out to realize this ideal by working with the EU initiative Erasmus+ to host the first offering of “Mathematics for All!!!” This weeklong program in her native Turkey united people between the ages of 18 and 25 from Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Spain and UK.

    It was a natural step for Dr. Aktas to work with the Erasmus+ Programme, which aims to boost skills and employability for EU youth, as well as modernising education, training, and youth work. During her master’s studies at Turkey’s Selcuk University, she worked as a mathematics teacher in an elementary school. In her PhD at Gazi University in the Turkish capital Ankara, her teaching expanded to undergraduate courses and she also began volunteering with a program for teachers in training who were blind or had visual impairment.

    Dr. Aktas’ internationalizing ambitions brought her next to Queen’s University to work with the world-renowned number theorist Ram Murty. Since there’s no learning quite like teaching – in a second language, no less – Dr. Aktas quickly became the first post-doctoral researcher to present at the 3MT competition in March of this year.  Her talk, entitled “The Impact of Powerful Numbers,” was also the first number theoretical research subject to be presented at a 3MT event. The branch of number theory is sometimes called “The Queen of Mathematics” because of its foundational place in the discipline.

    “An integer is called a powerful number if a prime number divides it, and then the square of that prime number also divides it,” explains Dr. Aktas. She and Dr. Murty actually made the discovery that pairs of consecutive powerful numbers were predicted by a kind of equation they dubbed the Brahmagupta-Pell Equation. “It is not easy to find all consecutive powerful number pairs, which makes them very special.”

    Nor is it known whether there are an infinite or finite number of pairs. But it is worth searching for the answer because of their relationship with prime numbers, which are key to encryption, she says. “The prime factorization of very large integers is used in cryptography,” a practice only becoming more important as digital tech becomes ubiquitous.

    “The idea of presenting at 3MT was attractive for me because sometimes when you go deep into your research, it is not easy to see the big picture,” says Dr. Aktas. “3MT gave me the opportunity to look at my research from that perspective.”

    On the heels of 3MT, Dr. Aktas traveled to present her research at the Canadian Mathematical Society’s Summer Meeting at the University of Prince Edward Island, where she also showed the video of her 3MT presentation.

    “Because most of the conference-goers were also coming from universities in Canada they were a little familiar with the competition, but none had participated,” she says. “They liked the concept so much. I believe that these activities are motivating for people who work on pure mathematics.”

    Dr. Aktas has also taken advantage of other training activities arranged by School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Postdoctoral Training to improve her professional skills.

    “I attended Career Week just three weeks after I arrived to Queen’s,” she recalls, “and I still use the tips from that training, including effective writing for CVs, resumes, and cover letters.”

    She also enrolled in SGS 901: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education through the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

    These activities have been opportunities for building a social community in Kingston, too.

    “Kingston is a very nice place to live, with its history and natural beauty,” Dr. Aktas says. “I will never forget these experiences I’ve had here because of Queen’s.”

    This article was first published on the website of the School of Graduate Studies.

    Queen’s ‘station in the woods’ welcomes Chinese students

    [BNU Delegation]
    A delegation of faculty members from Beijing Normal University visited Queen’s and QUBS to discuss the developing partnership between the two institutions. (University Communications)

    The Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) welcomed almost a dozen Chinese students to its grounds north of Kingston last week for the 10th anniversary instalment of an innovative biology field course.

    The 20 students – from Fudan, Tongji, Southwest and Beijing Normal Universities – join 11 undergraduates from Queen’s and other Ontario institutions to examine the impact of human development on aquatic environments and biodiversity. The field course, created in 2005 by Dr. Yuxiang Wang (Biology) and co-taught by Dr. Stephen Lougheed (Biology), is offered annually, alternating between QUBS and China.

    “The field course brings together students from China and Canada to give them a unique experiential learning opportunity. They work hands-on as they learn about aquatic ecosystems and develop their research skills,” says Dr. Wang, a BNU alumnus. “It also exposes them to issues and challenges within a global ecological context and it is exciting to see students from Canada and China working together and learning from each other.”

    A delegation of faculty members from BNU visited Queen’s and QUBS just prior to the beginning of the field course to discuss the developing partnership between the two institutions.

    “I’m looking forward to our students learning here in Kingston and transferring that knowledge back to our students in China. There are opportunities to learn about things here that don’t exist in China, and vice-versa,” says Yanyun Zhang, director of BNU’s biological stations. “Queen’s has a station in the woods and we have a station on the coast, so this is a natural and complementary link.”

    Hugh Horton, Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Arts and Science, says the faculty is committed to developing its international partnerships to provide international learning and research opportunities.

    “Arts and Science, through this field course, is focused on getting more senior international students on our campus while also providing opportunities for our senior students to travel to China,” says Dr. Horton. “The program will also broaden our research impact as we continue to expand our international footprint.”

    Students from BNU will stay at QUBS for the duration of their visit. In the summer of 2016, the “sister” field course will be offered in China for Canadian and Chinese students.

    More information on the field course can be found here.


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