The UVic Torch · University of Victoria Alumni Magazine · Autumn 1998
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Scientist, inventor, artist-Leonardo da Vinci's brilliance foreshadowed the technical and scientific discoveries in the centuries following the Renaissance.
The current da Vinci exhibit at the Royal BC Museum is the broadest collection of Leonardo's works ever assembled for public viewing, featuring 150 of his drawings, 25 wooden models and 20 original artworks complemented by interactive media units with over 8,000 pictures and a wealth of information on the "universal genius."
Victoria is one of only two North American stops for the exhibition and UVic is involved on several levels with an essay contest, lecture series, a continuing studies course and a display of designs by budding inventors.
It started with Betty Kennedy-retired UVic professor of mathematics, honorary degree recipient and museum volunteer-and her husband Gilbert. They seized the opportunity to help build a link between the da Vinci exhibit and the university by establishing four $1,000 UVic scholarships to be awarded to the winners of an essay contest open to BC secondary school students.
"We're very pleased with the partnership between the museum and the university. After all, they are in the same racket-education," Kennedy said. "Gilbert and I believe very much in education and we think that's the salvation of people, to get educated. If you believe in something you should do something about it, especially now with tuition fees so high."
Essay writers may choose from four topics (anatomy, engineering, art or science) linking da Vinci's studies to today's world. The papers will be judged by university faculty members, with contest winners brought to Victoria to visit the museum and UVic before the exhibit closes in February. The contest is co-sponsored by the RBCM and BC Hydro.
UVic is also offering a series of free public lectures on topics related to da Vinci's science, inventions and art.
The first lecture-by renowned Amer-ican biologist Lee Anderson-relates to da Vinci's study of the human body and is entitled "Proteins and DNA: The Hardware and Software of Biology." Dr. Anderson will speak at UVic on Oct. 29 at 7:30 pm in room A-240 of the Human and Social Development building.
In November, UVic mechanical engineering professor, Dr. Bez Tabarrok picks up on da Vinci's interest in a wide variety of time-keeping instruments when he describes the triumphs and tribulations of 18th century mathematician and clock maker John Harrison whopioneered portable precision clocks that allowed sailors to determine their ship's longitude.
In February, Dr. Chris Garrett, a UVic specialist in ocean physics, will present a lecture on environmental fluid mechanics since the time of da Vinci.
UVic Continuing Studies is offering "Leonardo da Vinci: Disciple of Experience" with Dr. Catherine Harding for the Department of History in Art. The course-with four weekly sessions beginning Nov. 18-includes slides, short lectures and discussions to enhance your enjoyment of the exhibition.
And in January, the museum will host a display of innovative designs created by mechanical engineering students from UVic's Faculty of Engineering. Past designs have included a rowing scull that allows the rower to face forward and a remote controlled robot designed to inspect underground pipelines.
Finally, students from the electrical and computer engineering department also plan to stage a "robot race" that combines skills in electronics, microprocessing, control systems and communications. The race is staged on a table-top maze which the computerized robots-assembled from LEGO pieces-are pre-programmed to navigate.
From Asia to Europe, Australia to the Americas-UVic's influence reaches every corner of the world. The new International Affairs office-in a renovated section of the Sedgewick Building-is the first stop for international visitors to campus and it tracks all of the University's international exchange and research agreements.
"The office is the clearing house for all international activity," says Dr. Anthony Welch, Executive Director, International Affairs, "and it facilitates additional contacts. We invite all graduates and friends of the University to visit the office. It's a wonderful space."
Since the beginning of the year, UVic has signed 16 new international agreements with institutions around the world, bringing the total to 118 agreements with 100 institutions in 26 countries. "The volume of work has increased very significantly over the past few years and will increase much more," says Welch.
Welch, former Dean of Fine Arts, wants to strengthen the University's
existing international agreements; establish collaborative research projects;
increase faculty and student exchanges; develop more geographic diversity
in future agreements; and introduce more cultural diversity to the University's
Also located in the recently-renovated Sedgewick wing is UVic's Centre for Global Studies. Its director-Dr. Gordon Smith-calls it a "virtual Centre." But in this case "virtual doesn't imply that the Centre is not real, but rather that it is there in whatever form is needed."
Smith believes this flexible format is what sets UVic's Centre apart from other organizations that analyze issues of global concern, which Smith describes as "anything that affects people all around the globe and requires the co-operation of a large number of players-nation states, corporations, civic societies-to help resolve." The Centre relies heavily on the research conducted at UVic that deals with subjects of a global nature.
Smith is advisor to President David Strong on global issues. He's also an adjunct professor in both the Department of Political Science and School of Public Administration and senior fellow at the Liu Centre on Global Issues at UBC.
He spent most of his career in the senior ranks of the federal civil service, including appointments as ambassador to the European Union, deputy minister of External Affairs, and personal advisor to Prime Minister Jean Chrètien at the last three G7 and G8 economic summits.
The Centre is building a website to provide direct access to research
of all those connected with the Centre. Smith is also planning to assemble
a portable, client-specific, multi-media briefing on global issues that
will take the expertise of the Centre directly to the offices and boardrooms
of Canadian and foreign decision-makers.
Generous donations from individuals, foundations and corporations in
Asia and Canada have helped propel the UVic Asia Partners Fund above the
$2 million level in its first two years. Pictured at Vancouver's Dr. Sun
Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden are two of the key builders of the fund-UVic
Board of Governors member Brian Lo and Yik Fung Au-Yeung, special advisor
to President David Strong. The Asia Partners Fund supports research and
education between UVic and the Far East.
Dr. Vern Paetkau is the new Dean of the Faculty of Science. Paetkau comes to UVic from the University of Alberta where he was chair of the biochemistry department. His cancer research is supported by the National Cancer Institute of Canada at more than $100,000 per year until 2000. Paetkau replaces Dr. John Weaver who has retired from administrative duties but will continue his research into geomagnetism.
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The UVic Innovation and Development Corporation has hired Dr. Tim Walzak as its new president and chief executive officer. Walzak comes from the University of Western Ontario where he held similar responsibilities for transferring new technologies to commercial applications. Former IDC president Harry Davis retired in June.
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UVic distinguished alumna and former mayor of Toronto-Barbara Hall-is in charge of the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention across Canada and at the international level. Her "entire career reflects the kind of expertise and leadership this program needs" federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan said when Hall was appointed this spring.
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The UVic Speakers Bureau features 103 new topics among the more than 400 it is offering in 1998-99. Volunteer faculty, staff and graduate students take part in the free community service that reaches 10,000 Greater Victoria and lower Vancouver Island residents each year. Topics range from snakes and fossils to corporate law and back rehabilitation. Call (250) 721-8587 to find out more.
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The magic of teleconferencing is allowing UVic Law students to learn from one of the country's leading experts on information technology and the law. Toronto-based lawyer Don Cameron teaches the course from the Bell Centre for Distance Education at George Brown College. UVic's interactive classroom allows students and teacher to see and hear each other. It's the first interactive law course in Canada.
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A recent review of UVic's economic impact on Greater Victoria concluded that the university contributes an estimated $299 million per year in regional economic activity. More than 10,000 jobs depend on the university's presence in the community and taxpayers receive $1.70 in return for every dollar of public resources invested in UVic's education and research activities.
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Dr. Michael L. Hadley and Dr. Joseph F. Kess are UVic's newest members of the Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious Canadian academic honour. Hadley is the author of several books on German literature, pop culture, and naval history. Kess is internationally respected for his work in the psychology of language.
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Keep up on events on campus-call 721-UVIC, the 24 hour campus events
line, or check the UVic Calendar of Events on the web: www.uvic.ca/events
Mark Bailey (BA Honours, Political Science '73) is Canada's new Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. The appointment was announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs this summer. Bailey has held postings to Rabat, Abidjan, Jeddah and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva. He was most recently Director Foreign Aaffairs' Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula division.
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