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In a long-term effort to solve the high-resolution Mediator structure, we co-expressed Mediator subunits in Escherichia coli and determined crystal structures of nine subcomplexes12, 13. We eventually prepared cMed by co-expression of 15 Mediator subunits from S. cerevisiae5. Recombinant cMed was active in transcription and in stimulating CTD phosphorylation5. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) revealed cMed regions that contact TFIIB and Pol II5. However, recombinant S. cerevisiae cMed failed to crystallize, impairing high-resolution structure determination. We have now solved the crystal structure of cMed (Methods). We prepared recombinant cMed from the fission yeast S. pombe, and improved protein solubility and yield by co-expression of Med1. To obtain crystals, we removed the flexible Med14 residues 581–879 and five C-terminal residues of Med11. Crystal dehydration improved the diffraction limit from ~8 to ~4 Å resolution. Complete diffraction data to 3.4 Å resolution were obtained with a collimated synchrotron beam. Phases were derived from a heavy-metal cluster derivative, incorporated selenomethionine, and the head module structure13. Interpretation of the electron density was facilitated by sequence markers and led to a refined structure with excellent stereochemistry (Fig. 1, Extended Data Fig. 1 and Extended Data Tables 1 and 2). The cMed structure comprises 15 subunits, and only lacks Med1, which probably dissociated during crystallization. The structure reveals the head and middle modules, and shows how the two modules interact (Fig. 1). The structure of the head module is unchanged compared with the free module13. The middle module structure confirms the topology derived previously by crosslinking and other methods10, 21, 22, and reveals details of the intricate and distinct folds of its eight subunits (Extended Data Fig. 2). The middle module is divided into five submodules5: the beam, plank, hook, and knob, and a newly defined ‘connector’ (Fig. 2). The beam buttresses the head module and consists mainly of the central region of Med14. This region contains two RWD-like23 and two UBC-like folds24. Med14 extends with its amino (N)- and C-terminal regions into the hook and tail module, respectively, consistent with its role as a ‘backbone’ of Mediator4, 5. The plank includes Med4 and Med9, which form a four-helix bundle domain as predicted25. The hook contains two such bundle domains25, one at its exposed end, formed by Med10 and the Med14 N-terminal region (Med14N), and one in the Med7C-Med21 dimer19, which is slightly opened to bind the Med10 C-terminal region21. Med19 meanders around the hook. The hook is flexibly linked to the connector by a conserved hinge in the Med7C/Med21 subcomplex19 that is required for Mediator–Pol II interaction26. The knob is a highly conserved, central element of cMed implicated in binding the CTD. It contains the Med7N–Med31 subcomplex27, four short helices in the C-terminal region of Med4 (Med4C), and three short helices in Med14. Compared with our structure, the knob is rotated by 180° in a recent model20 (Extended Data Fig. 3), questioning a proposal for how Mediator interacts with the CTD20. In addition, superposition of a previous head module–CTD peptide complex15 onto our cMed structure results in clashes of the modelled CTD peptide with Med4 (Extended Data Fig. 4). Thus the reported CTD positions15, 20 or the cMed structure, or both, will change upon Mediator binding to the CTD. The head and middle modules form a largely conserved interface that comprises four contact regions (interfaces I–IV) and two protein tethers (Extended Data Fig. 4). Interface I is formed between Med20 in the head module and Med14, and stabilizes the moveable jaw for binding Pol II and TFIIB5. Interface II is formed between Med17 in the fixed jaw of the head module and Med14. Interface III is formed between the knob and the head module spine and shoulder. Interface IV is formed between the Med6 shoulder and the hook, and is lost when the hook moves away from the head module by changes in the hinge. The head module subunits Med6 and Med17 contain flexibly linked13 terminal regions that form part of the beam and thus tether the middle module. The C-terminal helix α6 in Med6 (‘Med6C tether’) and the two helices that form the N-terminal region in Med17 (‘Med17N tether’) both associate with the Med14 beam in the middle module. The cMed structure enabled us to locate known mutations in the middle module, and in parts of head module subunits that were previously not visualized5, 13 (Fig. 3 and Extended Data Table 3). We first used the cMed structure to build a conservative and reliable homology model for the S. cerevisiae cMed (Methods, Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary Data 1). The mutated sites were then located in the model and examined for their environment. This predicted that mutations often weaken interactions between the head and middle modules (Extended Data Fig. 4). In the med6-ts6 yeast strain, mutations in two residues in Med6C (M273, I275) are predicted to destabilize the Med6C tether. In the classical yeast mutation srb4-138 (ref. 17), the mutated residues L124 and E460 are located in the Med17N tether and interface II, respectively. Weakening of the head–middle interface in the srb4-138 strain explains why the head module dissociates from Mediator at elevated temperature28, leading to global changes in RNA synthesis activity5. Mutations that are predicted to impair middle module stability also lead to a general decrease in RNA synthesis (Extended Data Fig. 4d), showing that the middle module is globally required for transcription. The cMed structure also enabled us to obtain an atomic model of the cPIC–cMed complex (Extended Data Fig. 5). The S. cerevisiae cMed model was first placed into the cryo-EM reconstruction of a minimal cPIC–cMed complex5. After minor manual movements of the flexible hook, the fit was excellent, consistent with a high conservation of the cMed structure. We then replaced the cPIC model5 by our 3.6 Å structure of the cPIC18. The resulting atomic model of the cPIC–cMed complex comprises 35 polypeptides and includes Pol II, TBP, TFIIA, TFIIB, TFIIE, TFIIF, and cMed. The model confirms the known interfaces5 between cPIC and cMed, and shows that interface C5 is formed between the Pol II foot and the Med4–Med9 bundle in the plank. Finally, we fitted the obtained cPIC–cMed model into the recently reported low-resolution cryo-EM reconstruction of a PIC–Mediator complex20 (Fig. 4 and Supplementary Data 2). This confirmed the proposed location of the tail module5, 7, 11 that had been predicted on the basis of superposition of free Mediator reconstructions8, 9. It also showed that the exposed end of the hook, and the Med6 shoulder, reached near a density that was assigned to the TFIIH kinase subcomplex20. The hook also approached the TFIIH subunit Rad3 (ref. 29) (human XPD30) located in PIC reconstructions (Extended Data Fig. 5e). The observed contacts between Mediator and TFIIH are probably relevant for Mediator-stimulated CTD phosphorylation by TFIIH. The CTD apparently extends from the body of Pol II along the Mediator head–middle interface into a previously described cradle5. Residue K1725 at the end of the CTD crosslinks to three Med19 residues5, 20 that are located inside the cradle (Fig. 4). The CTD may be accommodated by changes in the head–middle module interface that is highly mobile (Extended Data Fig. 5b). It remains to be explored how exactly the CTD interacts with Mediator and how this results in presentation of the CTD to the TFIIH kinase located on the rim of the cradle. After our revised manuscript had been submitted, cryo-EM reconstructions were reported for the S. pombe Mediator in free form and bound to Pol II31. The EM-derived Mediator model31 differs from our crystal structure in regions of the middle module that were newly built31. In this model31, the hook and knob comprise regions that were assigned to different subunits, the beam contains regions with shifted amino-acid register, and the plank lacks sequence assignment (Extended Data Fig. 6). However, the position of S. pombe Mediator on Pol II31 is consistent with our previously reported location of S. cerevisiae Mediator on Pol II5 and with the PIC–cMed model presented here.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

By combining biodiversity modelling and network analysis, researchers show how important it is to keep habitats connected Ecosystems are a complex web of interactions. These ecological networks are being reorganized by extinctions and colonization events caused by human impacts, such as climate change and habitat destruction. In a paper published this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from McGill University and University of British Columbia have developed a new theory to understand how complex ecological networks will reorganize in the future. A key finding from their analysis: keeping habitats connected, so that species can move in response to environmental change, is crucial to ecosystem resilience. "Biodiversity exists within changing landscapes, species of predator and prey must move as their habitats change - it's a complex dynamic system that is hard to predict" says lead author Patrick Thompson of UBC. Previous theories of biodiversity explain how the number or diversity of species may change, but few have asked how the 'wiring' of the ecological webs will change in the future. "A unified understanding of biodiversity conservation requires knowing how the structure of ecological networks will be reshaped by global change both in space and time, and this is what is different about our work," explains co-author Andrew Gonzalez, a McGill biology professor and Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity Science. By creating a computer model of ecological networks and simulating environmental shifts, the researchers discovered that allowing species to move in response to environmental change not only prevented extinctions, but it allowed the complex networks, such as food webs, to maintain their structure into the future. "Our results suggest the degree to which future ecosystems will resemble those we see today will depend on whether species are able to easily move across human dominated landscapes," says Thompson, now a postdoctoral fellow at UBC who worked on the study as a PhD student in Gonzalez's lab at McGill. This theory suggests that human activities, such as forest fragmentation and climate change, that prevent movement and migration can be countered by protecting remnant habitats and the corridors that connect them. The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, a non-profit organization that seeks to create an interconnected system of wild lands and waters along the Rocky Mountains of North America, is an example of this approach. "Our theory is useful because it helps us see the long-term benefits for biodiversity of managing and restoring the connectivity of our landscapes" Gonzalez says. Support for the research was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program, Killam fellowships, a Vineberg fellowship, and the Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology. "Dispersal governs the reorganization of ecological networks under environmental change," Patrick L. Thompson and Andrew Gonzalez, Nature Ecology & Evolution, published May 8, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0162 https:/


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Noel Edmonds has demanded £73m in compensation from Lloyds Banking Group for what he claims was the destruction of his business empire together with public humiliation and damage to his reputation caused by the fraudulent activities of the bank’s HBOS Reading arm. In a letter to the Lloyds chief executive, António Horta-Osório, lawyers for the TV presenter allege that he “suffered immense economic loss as well as (to put it very mildly) ‘distress and inconvenience’ at the hands of your bank as a direct result of the actions” of the individuals involved in the fraud at the Berkshire branch. Six people were jailed in February after a jury heard they spent the proceeds of their fraudulent activities on superyachts and sex parties, while destroying businesses they had lent money to. Among them was the former HBOS banker Mark Dobson, who was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison and is referred to in the letter sent to Horta-Osório by Edmonds’ lawyer Jonathan Coad at Keystone Law. The letter said: “These individuals were fraudsters whose corrupt activities also resulted in losses to my client of tens of millions of pounds, along with his suffering deep distress and public humiliation.” Lloyds has set aside £100m to compensate 64 victims of the HBOS Reading fraud, although this sum may need to be increased if Edmonds is successful in his claim against the bank for fraudulent activities that took place between 2003 and 2007. Former DJ and children’s TV presenter Edmonds, who presented Deal or No Deal from 2005 to 2016, said: “I confirm my lawyers have sent a detailed claim letter seeking compensation from Lloyds for the losses that I suffered as a result of fraud committed against me by one of its managers. The biggest part of the claim is £50m to cover the losses he incurred when his business, Unique Group, collapsed. Edmonds says the bankers’ actions destroyed the entertainment firm and robbed him of future growth. He is also claiming £12m for loss of speaking fees, £100,000 for “pain, suffering and damage” to his reputation and £750,000 in legal fees. “I am now trusting that Mr Horta-Osório is true to his word and ensures that I am ‘fairly, swiftly and appropriately’ compensated for both the destruction of my businesses and the significant damage to my reputation. If he is not, then I will pursue my claim against Lloyds via the courts.” Dobson worked for Lynden Scourfield, a former HBOS banker who pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in the fraud and was jailed along with his business associate David Mills. The court heard that Scourfield gave inappropriate loans to businesses, which allowed Mills and his associates to profit from high consultancy fees, while the banker was rewarded with foreign cruises and sex parties. Edmonds’ move comes as Horta-Osório prepares for Lloyds’ annual general meeting on Thursday, days before the government will be able to claim that the 43% shareholding bought by taxpayers to rescue the bank in 2008 has been entirely sold off. The HBOS fraud predates the rescue by Lloyds during the financial crisis, but an investigation is under way into whether Lloyds looked into the problems in Reading and reported them to authorities when it took over HBOS. Edmonds claims that Dobson effectively became a shadow director of one his businesses, Unique, which was involved in a wide range of activities including Proms in the Park. The former Noel’s House Party host claims HBOS prevented him from selling shares in another business, UBC, which would have helped repay a loan to HBOS. “Had the sale of shares in UBC not been blocked, then the Unique bank accounts would have been in the black to the tune of about £1m,” Edmonds’ lawyer said. “This figure is substantially more than the sum then claimed by HBOS, which in turn led to our client being the subject of legal proceedings based on the personal guarantee that had been demanded of him by HBOS, including the substantial ‘exit fee’ that was wrongly levied against Unique.” The aim was to force Unique into the Quayside business run by Mills, the letter said. Coad, representing Edmonds, said: “Noel has waited 10 years to see justice done after his business empire was brought down by Mr Dobson’s fraud, and if the Lloyds review process does not provide the recompense due to Noel, then all the necessary ordinance, including litigation funding, is in place to start legal proceedings.” Lloyds said the £100m compensation pot could be increased if necessary. “As stated when we announced the provision, this is what is currently anticipated as compensation for the 64 customers in the review,” it said. “If the review determines that the level of compensation due requires us to increase the provision, then we will absolutely do so.” Lloyds did not confirm receipt of the letter. Edmonds is thought to be one of the 64 customers in the review.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

TORONTO, May 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 300 free events will take place in 30 cities across Canada for the 10th edition of Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Described as Nuit Blanche for the sciences, Science Rendezvous is Canada’s largest nation-wide science festival. This year’s festival will celebrate 10 years of Science Rendezvous and 150 years of Canadian science. “We’re excited to once again take the lab to the streets – and introduce some bold, new activities across the country,” says Science Rendezvous Executive Director Katie Miller. “Each explosion and experiment helps spark the curiosity of the next generation of innovators.” Science Rendezvous continues its tradition of partnering with research and community organizations to give the public one-of-a-kind experiences: Explosive stage shows, 3D viewers, non-Newtonian fluid, encounters with live animals and tours of labs, observatories and even a brewery. Events span from Vancouver to St. John’s, including the northernmost site in Inuvik, NWT, and take place in venues ranging from small community centres and university campuses to malls and sprawling public parks. Over 300,000 people attended Science Rendezvous events last year and even more are expected this year. Science Rendezvous will launch the national science, technology, engineering and mathematics series of events for Science Odyssey; a ten-day showcase of Canadian innovation that is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Science Rendezvous will showcase 16 NSERC innovation success stories at festival sites across Canada in an effort to demonstrate what can be achieved by collaboration between industry leaders and top Canadian researchers. All events are free and open to the public, with most taking place between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017. For more information about Science Rendezvous events in your city visit: http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event‐sites/ Science Rendezvous is an annual nation‐wide science festival dedicated to science outreach. Founded in 2008, it has grown to include over 300 simultaneous events in partnership with 40 of Canada’s top research institutions, 6,000 innovators and 122 community organizations across the country. www.sciencerendezvous.ca This year’s Science Rendezvous activities will launch the ten-day Science Odyssey series in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). http://www.sciod.ca/ This is only a sample of participating venues. See http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event-sites/ for more details Cybermentor - Telus Spark (Science Centre) (10am – 3pm) Enjoy a fun engineering design activity, guest speakers, industry panel, planetarium live show and reception lunch. Last year, participants designed and built LED “thunder cloud” umbrellas. This year there is an outer space theme.  Take a look at the future solution to our fresh water requirements and desalinate water with bicycle power. Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Langley Campus (11am – 3pm) KPU Langley will be transformed into a family-friendly science festival where the public will get a chance to participate in hands-on experiments, magic shows, tour high-tech patient simulator nursing labs and the state-of-the-art craft brewing lab (19+). Check out the robots, dancing fire display, face painting and walk the campus labyrinth as part of World Labyrinth Day. Simon Fraser University – Burnaby campus (11am – 3pm) Discover the seemingly bizarre behaviour of gases and how they fit in our natural world at the science magic shows. Celebrate International Astronomy Day with tours of Trottier Observatory, astronomy presentations and astronaut photo shoots. Come get your hands on hundreds of other exciting activites including Let’s Talk Science’s game show, Science Chase, liquid nitrogen ice cream making, molecular viewers and more. Let’s Talk Science with the University of British Columbia – The Old Barn Community Centre (10am – 2pm) Join UBC’s Let’s Talk Science for a hands-on day of science discovery. Make edible DNA and DNA bracelets, and finish the day off with slime.  Discover the future of touch screens, the foldable technology, and a glimpse into the future. Aurora Research Institute at East Three Schools (11am – 3pm) Meet with researchers and conduct hands-on experiments while discovering science in a whole new way. Learn about greenhouse composting and build your own flashlight! Check out harpoon-throwing, 3D printing, flying drones, fish dissections and meet visiting scientists at Science Rendezvous’ northernmost participating site. Complete the Science Chase passport to enter for a chance to win one of our exciting prizes. University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Campus, Science and Engineering Bldg (11am – 4pm) Sprint across a vat of corn starch and water to experience a non-Newtonian fluid, take home a balloon sculpture of all your favourite biomolecules and micro-organisms, scream as you test out the bed of nails, then scream some more for instant ice-cream (with just a touch of liquid nitrogen), jam out with a keyboard made of fruit, or play the piano with your feet as you run up and down a flight of stairs. The University of Manitoba is partnering with the Université de Saint-Boniface, Science First, and H2O CREATE to reveal the science all around us. University of Winnipeg (11pm – 3pm) Watch the Chemistry Magic Show, walk on non-Newtonian fluid and spot critters with your high powered scopes. Meet Batmen and Batwomen on campus as they try to save their species. The Prairie Climate Center will explore climate science with all. There might even be an explosion or two. Participants will get a chance to do fun and safe hands-on science activities. Plus, there’ll be a marine animal touch tank. Come and see what scientists are up to at Memorial University. Ryerson University at Yonge-Dundas Square (10am – 4pm) Come celebrate Science Rendezvous' 10th event in the heart of downtown Toronto. Ryerson’s Science Rendezvous event takes place in Yonge-Dundas Square, on the south-east corner of Yonge and Dundas in downtown Toronto, one of Canada’s liveliest public areas. Our event offers hands-on activities, demonstrations and stage shows in robotics, water science, energy, engineering, architectural science, and many other scientific areas. This year Ryerson's Faculty of Science is launching the first North American Soapbox Science. An award-winning science outreach platform, created in the UK in 2011, and promotes women in science. We have activities for young children, teens and adults. Spend the day with Canadian scientists and innovators and get connected with science. University of Toronto St. George campus (11am – 5pm) Science Rendezvous at the University of Toronto (St. George Campus) will feature numerous exhibits that integrate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and human ingenuity.  Shutting down large sections of St. George St, this event offers visitors of all ages and backgrounds a chance to interact with world-class researchers, witness awe-inspiring demonstrations, partake in hands-on experiments and, above all, have fun while discovering science in a whole new way. Come and see robots, solar cars, and 3D worlds, build bridges and arches, solve math tricks, identify Earth’s minerals, observe tabletop river bedforms, make slime, extract DNA, meet with zebrafish, leeches, and hissing cockroaches. Get in your time machine and conquer the ultimate Science Chase to be crowned the Science Rendezvous Time Travelling Hero of 2017. Carleton University and Let’s Talk Science (7:00pm – 10pm) Light up the Night with Chemistry In the Dark. If it glows up, or blows up you will see it here: spontaneous combustion, fireworks, melting iron, and anything else that can’t be done indoors. Before the show Let’s Talk Science volunteers will be serving up liquid nitrogen ice cream, delving into the chemistry of wine and chocolate and presenting new experiments and new hands-on activities. Science Odyssey Funfest (10am-4pm) Science Odyssey Funfest is a celebration and learning experience to spark youth’s interest in science and technology. Join us for family-friendly fun with hands-on science and research activities led by federal government departments, universities and external partners. The event will take place right across the street from Dows Lake, which is also where the Canadian Tulip Festival will be held. Queen’s University at Rogers K-ROCK Centre (10am – 3pm) The Rogers K-Rock Centre becomes a giant Science Discovery Centre with something for everyone. Participate in the Math Midway, make a kaleidoscope, be a mathemagical sculpture, explore space inside a Planetarium, see Canada's first Green Chemistry Magic Show, and meet the “real” Batman! There will be special presentations throughout the day inside the Rogers K-Rock Centre and outside on The Tragically Hip Way. The first 1000 families will receive a booklet filled with experiments that can be done at home and passes to local museums. University of Guelph-Humber (10am – 3pm) The Science of YOU: Learn about your body from the inside out. Begin with a peek inside our cells, basic anatomy and the science behind our brains. Explore the science of fitness, health and how the mind and body are connected. University of Ontario Institute of Technology & Durham College (10am – 3pm) Come learn how to make an indicator out of cabbage in our colorful chemistry lab. Explore the rainbow with an exciting dry ice experiment. Discover the magnetic properties of cereal. Uncover visually what is really in those tasty treats you love to eat. Hands-on workshops will allow you to experience being a real scientist. Solve a CSI Oshawa mystery using forensic techniques, play biodiversity bingo, create soap sculptures, flaming gummy bears and much more. GRAND FINALE CELEBRATION (2:30-3pm): music, cake and prizes in celebration of Science Rendezvous' 10th anniversary, Durham College's 50th anniversary and Canada's 150th Birthday. University of Toronto Scarborough at Toronto Zoo (10am – 3pm) To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, join us for a zoo-wide scavenger hunt: solve clues hidden throughout the different stations and learn all about Canadian species. Pick up your passport, visit our activity stations and collect a stamp at each station. Enjoy hands-on science activities presented by University of Toronto Scarborough in partnership with the Toronto Zoo and Let’s Talk Science. (Science Rendezvous activities included with regular Zoo admission). University of Toronto Mississauga and Let’s Talk Science at the Central Library (11am – 4pm) Join Let's Talk Science and scientists from the University of Toronto Mississauga at the Central Library for a day of fun science experiments for all ages. Learn about and get your hands on the innovative research happening in your city. University of Waterloo and Let’s Talk Science (9am – 4pm) Come celebrate Canadian innovation at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, and get your hands on science with fun activities for the whole family. Waterloo Public Library, Main Branch is also hosting activities from 11 — 11:45am. Western University (2pm – 11pm) Activities include making slime, panning for gold, programming mini-robots with color coded lines, solar observing, building Mars rovers to traverse the Martian landscape, and measuring action potentials in muscles. Take part in an action packed Science Chase and be dazzled by the Science stage show that will showcase engaging demonstrations from various science disciplines! University of Windsor Campus and Let’s Talk Science (10am – 4pm) The Science Carnival will once again feature many exciting demonstrations and hands-on activities, including: astronomy demos, Science Photo Booth, robots, Chemistry Magic Show, Phunky Physics Show and much more. York University at Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market (10am – 3pm) Science Rendezvous will be combined with the grand opening of the annual Farmers’ Market (starting at 8am). Activities include squishy circuits, constellation tattoos, vortex smoke cannon, Art of Bubblology, DNA jewelry and so much more. 24 heures de science 24 Hours of Science is Science Rendezvous’ French sister festival – a full day of activities related to science and technology for audiences of all ages starting on Friday at noon, ending at noon on Saturday. Multiple events across Quebec in French and English (http://www.science24heures.com/programme/index.php). University of Saskatchewan and Let’s Talk Science (10am – 3pm) Take a walk with the dinosaurs, explore the science of dark matter, design your own rockets and Lego robots. Tours of the Natural Science Museum and Rayner’s Dairy Barn will be available. University of Regina (11am – 3pm) The University of Regina is hosting the Canada-Wide Science Fair on May 15 – 20, 2017 and will be open to the public May 20, 2017 from 9am-12pm.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

TORONTO, May 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 300 free events will take place across Canada for the most ambitious edition of Science Rendezvous to date on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Science Rendezvous is Canada’s largest nation-wide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) festival. This year’s festival will celebrate 10 years of Science Rendezvous and 150 years of Canadian science.  It will launch Science Odyssey, a ten-day showcase of Canadian innovation that is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). “We’re excited to once again take the lab to the streets – and introduce some bold, new activities across the country,” says Science Rendezvous Executive Director Katie Miller. “Each explosion and experiment helps spark the curiosity of the next generation of great Canadian innovators.” Science Rendezvous is taking over the country from St. John’s to Vancouver, Yonge-Dundas Square and five city blocks of downtown Toronto, and most research institutions in Canada. The festival specializes in giving the public one-of-kind experiences with STEM including: edible liquid capsule creations, augmented reality, robotics, solar-powered race cars, exploding fruit, and Science Chase – an Amazing Race-style competition. In addition to the hands on activities, Science Rendezvous will host NSERC's Innovation Showcase at festival sites across Canada in an effort to bring current Canadian innovation to the public, and demonstrate what can be achieved by collaboration between industry leaders and top Canadian researchers. NSERC is the largest investor in science and engineering research and innovation in Canada. As a convener, they connect universities and colleges with industry partners to enable innovation-driven activities – allowing scientists and engineers across the country to develop world-leading discoveries and work with companies to turn these discoveries into inventions and products that will benefit Canadians. The NSERC Innovation Showcase will be presented by the researchers involved and will be at selected Science Rendezvous event sites across the country.  They are free and open to the public, with most taking place between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017. For more information about Science Rendezvous events and the NSERC Innovation Showcase in your city visit: http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event‐sites/ http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/category/nserc/ Science Rendezvous is an annual nation‐wide science festival dedicated to science outreach. Founded in 2008, it has grown to include over 300 simultaneous events in partnership with 40 of Canada’s top research institutions, 6,000 innovators and 122 community organizations across the country. www.sciencerendezvous.ca This year’s Science Rendezvous activities will launch the ten-day Science Odyssey series in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). http://www.sciod.ca/ Science Rendezvous is an annual nation‐wide science festival dedicated to science outreach. Founded in 2008, it has grown to include over 300 simultaneous events in partnership with 40 of Canada’s top research institutions and 122 community organizations across 30 cities. www.sciencerendezvous.ca This is only a sample of participating venues. See http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event‐sites/ for more details Cybermentor - Telus Spark (Science Centre) (10am – 3pm) Enjoy a fun engineering design activity, guest speakers, industry panel, planetarium live show and reception lunch. Last year, participants designed and built LED “thunder cloud” umbrellas. This year there is an outer space theme.  Take a look at the future solution to our fresh water requirements and desalinate water with bicycle power. Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Langley Campus (11am – 3pm) KPU Langley will be transformed into a family-friendly science festival where the public will get a chance to participate in hands-on experiments, magic shows, tour high-tech patient simulator nursing labs and the state-of-the-art craft brewing lab (19+). Check out the robots, dancing fire display, face painting and walk the campus labyrinth as part of World Labyrinth Day. Simon Fraser University – Burnaby campus (11am – 3pm) Discover the seemingly bizarre behaviour of gases and how they fit in our natural world at the science magic shows. Celebrate International Astronomy Day with tours of Trottier Observatory, astronomy presentations and astronaut photo shoots. Come get your hands on hundreds of other exciting activities including Let’s Talk Science’s game show, Science Chase, liquid nitrogen ice cream making, molecular viewers and more. Let’s Talk Science with the University of British Columbia – The Old Barn Community Centre (10am – 2pm) Join UBC’s Let’s Talk Science for a hands-on day of science discovery. Make edible DNA and DNA bracelets, and finish the day off with slime.  Discover the future of touch screens, the foldable technology, and a glimpse into the future. Aurora Research Institute at East Three Schools (11am – 3pm) Meet with researchers and conduct hands-on experiments while discovering science in a whole new way. Learn about greenhouse composting and build your own flashlight! Check out harpoon-throwing, 3D printing, flying drones, fish dissections and meet visiting scientists at Science Rendezvous’ northernmost participating site. Complete the Science Chase passport to enter for a chance to win one of our exciting prizes. University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Campus, Science and Engineering Bldg (11am – 4pm) Sprint across a vat of corn starch and water to experience a non-Newtonian fluid, take home a balloon sculpture of all your favourite biomolecules and micro-organisms, scream as you test out the bed of nails, then scream some more for instant ice-cream (with just a touch of liquid nitrogen), jam out with a keyboard made of fruit, or play the piano with your feet as you run up and down a flight of stairs. The University of Manitoba is partnering with the Université de Saint-Boniface, Science First, and H2O CREATE to reveal the science all around us. University of Winnipeg (11pm – 3pm) Watch the Chemistry Magic Show, walk on non-Newtonian fluid and spot critters with your high powered scopes. Meet Batmen and Batwomen on campus as they try to save their species. The Prairie Climate Center will explore climate science with all. Memorial University (11pm – 3pm) Discover glow-in-the-dark crystals, explore microscopic pond life, make slime, and solve puzzles. There might even be an explosion or two. Participants will get a chance to do fun and safe hands-on science activities. Plus, there’ll be a marine animal touch tank. Come and see what scientists are up to at Memorial University. Ryerson University at Yonge-Dundas Square (10am – 4pm) Come celebrate Science Rendezvous' 10th event in the heart of downtown Toronto. Ryerson’s Science Rendezvous event takes place in Yonge-Dundas Square, on the south-east corner of Yonge and Dundas in downtown Toronto, one of Canada’s liveliest public areas. Our event offers hands-on activities, demonstrations and stage shows in robotics, water science, energy, engineering, architectural science, and many other scientific areas. This year Ryerson's Faculty of Science is launching the first North American Soapbox Science. The award-winning science outreach platform, created in the UK in 2011, promotes women in science. We have activities for young children, teens and adults. Spend the day with Canadian scientists and innovators and get connected with science. University of Toronto St. George campus (11am – 5pm) Science Rendezvous at the University of Toronto (St. George Campus) will feature numerous exhibits that integrate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and human ingenuity.  Shutting down large sections of St. George St, this event offers visitors of all ages and backgrounds a chance to interact with world-class researchers, witness awe-inspiring demonstrations, partake in hands-on experiments and, above all, have fun while discovering science in a whole new way. Come and see robots, solar cars, and 3D worlds, build bridges and arches, solve math tricks, identify Earth’s minerals, observe tabletop river bedforms, make slime, extract DNA, meet with zebrafish, leeches, and hissing cockroaches. Get in your time machine and conquer the ultimate Science Chase to be crowned the Science Rendezvous Time Travelling Hero of 2017. Science Odyssey Funfest (10am-4pm) Science Odyssey Funfest in Ottawa is a celebration and learning experience to spark youth’s interest in science and technology. Join us for family-friendly fun with hands-on science and research activities led by federal government departments, universities and external partners. The event will take place right across the street from Dows Lake, which is also where the Canadian Tulip Festival will be held. Queen’s University at Rogers K-ROCK Centre (10am – 3pm) The Rogers K-Rock Centre becomes a giant Science Discovery Centre with something for everyone. Participate in the Math Midway, make a kaleidoscope, be a mathemagical sculpture, explore space inside a Planetarium, see Canada's first Green Chemistry Magic Show, and meet the “real” Batman! There will be special presentations throughout the day inside the Rogers K-Rock Centre and outside on The Tragically Hip Way. The first 1000 families will receive a booklet filled with experiments that can be done at home and passes to local museums. University of Guelph-Humber (10am – 3pm) The Science of YOU: Learn about your body from the inside out. Begin with a peek inside our cells, basic anatomy and the science behind our brains. Explore the science of fitness, health and how the mind and body are connected. University of Ontario Institute of Technology & Durham College (10am – 3pm) Come learn how to make an indicator out of cabbage in our colorful chemistry lab. Explore the rainbow with an exciting dry ice experiment. Discover the magnetic properties of cereal. Uncover visually what is really in those tasty treats you love to eat. Hands-on workshops will allow you to experience being a real scientist. Solve a CSI Oshawa mystery using forensic techniques, play biodiversity bingo, create soap sculptures, flaming gummy bears and much more. GRAND FINALE CELEBRATION (2:30-3pm): music, cake and prizes in celebration of Science Rendezvous' 10th anniversary, Durham College's 50th anniversary and Canada's 150th Birthday. University of Toronto Mississauga and Let’s Talk Science at the Central Library (11am – 4pm) Join Let's Talk Science and scientists from the University of Toronto Mississauga at the Central Library for a day of fun science experiments for all ages. Learn about and get your hands on the innovative research happening in your city. University of Waterloo and Let’s Talk Science (9am – 4pm) Come celebrate Canadian innovation at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, and get your hands on science with fun activities for the whole family. Waterloo Public Library, Main Branch is also hosting activities from 11 — 11:45am. Western University (2pm – 11pm) Activities include making slime, panning for gold, programming mini-robots with color coded lines, solar observing, building Mars rovers to traverse the Martian landscape, and measuring action potentials in muscles. Take part in an action packed Science Chase and be dazzled by the Science stage show that will showcase engaging demonstrations from various science disciplines! University of Windsor Campus and Let’s Talk Science (10am – 4pm) The Science Carnival will once again feature many exciting demonstrations and hands-on activities, including: astronomy demos, Science Photo Booth, robots, Chemistry Magic Show, Phunky Physics Show and much more. York University at Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market (10am – 3pm) Science Rendezvous will be combined with the grand opening of the annual Farmers’ Market (starting at 8am). Activities include squishy circuits, constellation tattoos, vortex smoke cannon, Art of Bubblology, DNA jewelry and so much more. 24 heures de science 24 Hours of Science is Science Rendezvous’ French sister festival – a full day of activities related to science and technology for audiences of all ages starting on Friday at noon, ending at noon on Saturday. Multiple events across Quebec in French and English (http://www.science24heures.com/programme/index.php). University of Saskatchewan and Let’s Talk Science (10am – 3pm) Take a walk with the dinosaurs, explore the science of dark matter, design your own rockets and Lego robots. Tours of the Natural Science Museum and Rayner’s Dairy Barn will be available. University of Regina (11am – 3pm) The University of Regina is hosting the Canada-Wide Science Fair on May 15 – 20, 2017 and will be open to the public May 20, 2017 from 9am-12pm.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New research suggests that simply telling a young man that an energy drink has been added to his alcoholic beverage can make him feel more intoxicated, daring and sexually self-confident. The study, led by the UBC Sauder School of Business, is the first to examine the effect of marketing on consumer beliefs related to alcohol mixed with energy drinks. "Red Bull has long used the slogan 'Red Bull gives you wings,' but our study shows that this type of advertising can make people think it has intoxicating qualities when it doesn't," said Yann Cornil, the study's lead author and assistant professor at UBC Sauder. "When alcohol is mixed with an energy drink and people are aware of it, they feel like they're more intoxicated simply because the marketing says they should feel that way." While earlier studies suggested that mixing energy drinks and alcohol could be dangerous, recent experiments in which people were not told what they were drinking found that adding energy drinks to alcohol had no effect on actual or perceived intoxication and was unlikely to increase alcohol's effect on behaviour. Despite this, those who knowingly mix energy drinks with alcohol have twice the risk of experiencing or committing sexual assault or being involved in a car crash, compared to people who drink alcohol straight. To test their theory that the marketing of energy drinks could result in a placebo effect, the researchers recruited 154 young men who were each given a cocktail containing vodka, Red Bull and fruit juice. The labelling of the cocktail either emphasized the presence of the energy drink, describing it as a "vodka-Red Bull cocktail," or not, describing it as a "vodka cocktail" or "exotic cocktail." Participants were then asked to complete a series of tasks on a computer to measure their perceived drunkenness and their attitudes and behaviors. The researchers found that emphasizing the presence of an energy drink significantly increased perceived intoxication, risk-taking and sexual self-confidence, especially among participants who already had a strong belief that mixing energy drinks with alcohol would have this effect. The researchers also measured how likely participants were to drive, and found that emphasizing the energy drink decreased participants' intentions to drive under the influence. "The silver lining was that emphasizing the energy drink in the cocktail made the participants less likely to drive," said study co-author Aradhna Krishna, marketing professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "It seems that drunk-driving education is working enough to make people think hard about driving when they are feeling drunk." "Given the study's findings about the psychological effects of energy-drink marketing, energy drink marketers should be banned from touting the disinhibiting effects of their ingredients," said co-author Pierre Chandon, marketing professor at INSEAD business school. "Regulations and codes of conduct should consider the psychological - and not just the physiological - effects of products." The study, "Does Red Bull Give Wings to Vodka? Placebo Effects of Marketing Labels on Perceived Intoxication and Risky Attitudes and Behaviours," was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

TORONTO, May 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 300 free events will take place in 30 cities across Canada for the 10th edition of Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Science Rendezvous is Canada’s largest nation-wide science festival. Science Rendezvous will launch the national science, technology, engineering and mathematics series of events for Science Odyssey; a ten-day national celebration of Canadian innovation that is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).  Science Rendezvous will host NSERC's Innovation Showcase at festival sites across Canada in an effort to bring current Canadian innovation to the public, and demonstrate what can be achieved by collaboration between industry leaders and top Canadian researchers. NSERC is the largest investor in science and engineering research and innovation in Canada. As a convenor, they connect universities and colleges with industry partners to enable innovation-driven activities – allowing scientists and engineers across the country to develop world-leading discoveries and work with companies to turn these discoveries into inventions and products that will benefit Canadians. The NSERC Innovation Showcase will be presented by the researchers involved and will be at selected Science Rendezvous event sites across the country.  They are free and open to the public, with most taking place between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017. For more information about Science Rendezvous events and the NSERC Innovation Showcase in your city visit: http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event‐sites/ http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/category/nserc/ Science Rendezvous is an annual nation‐wide science festival dedicated to science outreach. Founded in 2008, it has grown to include over 300 simultaneous events in partnership with 40 of Canada’s top research institutions, 6,000 innovators and 122 community organizations across the country. www.sciencerendezvous.ca This year’s Science Rendezvous activities will launch the ten-day Science Odyssey series in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). http://www.sciod.ca/ This is only a sample of participating venues. See http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/category/nserc/ for more details Cybermentor - Telus Spark (Science Centre) (10am – 3pm) Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will showcase their solution to our fresh water requirements at the Telus Spark. Desalinated water powered by bicycles. University of Alberta- May 12 (1pm- 4pm) Nasseri School professors and students will share advances in building engineering research at an Open House event. This event features the research of Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein, with support from NSERC. Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein is a professor and NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in the Industrialization of Building Construction at the University of Alberta, and a highly sought researcher and consultant in the areas of automated machine development, lean manufacturing, construction process optimization, CO2 emission quantification, and building information modelling (BIM), with the development of modular and offsite construction technologies and practices forming the hub of his research. Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Langley Campus (11am – 3pm) Kwantlen's Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) was created in 2004 to be a partnership of academia with B.C.'s horticultural industries and the community to support British Columbia in meeting demands for a higher level of sustainability and environmental responsibility from horticulture, silviculture, forestry, and urban landscapes. The development of biological pest management products useful to growers, and economically viable to producers, is one of the primary goals of Kwantlen's Institute for Sustainable Horticulture. The work of Dr. Deborah Henderson (Director, ISH and LEEF Regional Innovation Chair in Sustainable Horticulture), the Institute's innovative research into bio-products and pollination will be highlighted at this Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Science Rendezvous event.  Benefits for plants from extracts of a native kelp species, better pollination of greenhouse tomatoes with native bumblebee pollinators, biofertilizers made from insects, and biofungicides that can be used to replace pesticides, will be showcased. Simon Fraser University – Burnaby campus (11am – 3pm) Better brain protection will be demonstrated from the work of Dr. Farid Golnaraghi at the Head Injury Prevention Lab (the HIP lab). Collisions with the head are rarely normal impacts to the surface of the helmet; most come at an angle, causing both sharp twisting and compression of the brain. At the HIP lab a micro-engineered membrane called Shield-X membrane was developed; technology that can better mitigate the injurious effects of the sharp twisting of the brain. Shield-X membrane disengages the impacting force from the head and results in significant reduction of the sharp twisting of the brain. The technology has been successfully tested by helmet manufacturers in the US and Canada, and soon you may see bicycle, hockey, ski, and football helmets equipped with Shield-X membrane. Let’s Talk Science with the University of British Columbia – The Old Barn Community Centre (10am – 2pm) Discover the future of touch screens, the foldable technology, and a glimpse into the future.  The work of Mirza Saquib Sarwar, PhD Candidate and NSERC CGS (Alexander Graham Bell) Scholarship Holder and John D. Madden, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory, UBC will be showcased.  An innovative smart skin that detects the proximity and touch of fingers to a surface will be displayed. It is stretchable and bendable. It could be useful for providing touch sensation to robots, making it easier for them to work with humans, and to replicate human dexterity.  As a transparent and stretchable touch interface that could be used on stretchable tablets or smart phones, or any surface – kitchen cupboard, table top, floor etc. to make it interactive.  It is part of broader technology movements to make our devices more portable, wearable and connected. University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Campus, Science and Engineering Bldg (11am – 4pm) This event is featuring the research of Red River College, who have been working in collaboration with various partners, with support from the NSERC. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Red River College has developed an all-electric transit bus and charging system, and is currently developing MotiveLab – a climatic chamber with chassis dyno large enough for a highway bus. The research of Dr. Julissa Roncal, who has been working in collaboration with Stantec Consulting, with support from NSERC will be showcased.  Stantec turned to Dr. Roncal to help them understand how the specific environmental conditions of a particular geographical area - potentially being approved for natural resource extraction - may or may not support rare plants. This research collaboration has led to the development of unique probability models of suitable habitats for five rare plants in Labrador. This new knowledge will be added within Stantec's environmental impact statements, which will improve their assessments on the real distribution of rare plants, and the real impact of proposed natural resource developments. This work will also fill a knowledge gap that results in sometimes-unnecessary mitigation plans, therefore the general environmental assessment industry will benefit from the research outcomes, as well as the natural resource sector, and government regulatory agencies responsible for approving natural resource extraction. The research of Dr. Eric Vander Wal, who has been working in collaboration with Manitoba Hydro, with support from NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Manitoba Hydro turned to Dr. Vander Wal to help them understand how transmission right-of-ways constructed through the wilderness affects behavior in keystone predators (wolves) and prey (moose) and their population dynamics. The project also has value to rural and indigenous communities through which transmission right-of-ways are routed. It is hoped that this research collaboration will produce results that illustrate whether wolves select or avoid transmission right-of-ways and how this may affect predator-prey interactions. Canada will benefit from this information because it will help companies that transmit hydrogenerated electricity economize their transmission line routing and monitoring of right-of-way impacts, while balancing the possible local and ecological impacts of these large human-made features on the landscape. The research of Dr. Stephen Butt, who has been working in collaboration with Anaconda Mining Inc., with support from NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Anaconda Mining turned to Dr. Butt to help them solve the mine blasting challenge of identifying ore and waste rock intervals within a drilled blast hole due to the dilution of the cuttings. This challenge results in portions of the blasted muck being grouped in the wrong ore grade category for processing or, worse, being designated as waste with no gold recovery at all.  It is hoped that this research collaboration will lead to a more efficient way to determine if the content is designated as ore to send to the mill for processing, or waste. The project will also lead to further collaboration on rock penetration and fragmentation problems within the company's mining and development activities. The research of Dr. Baiyu (Helen) Zhang, who has been working in collaboration with Altius Minerals Corporation, with support from the NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Altius turned to Dr. Zhang to help them investigate the feasibility of natural processes to decrease concentrations of an oil-contaminated site in an Inuit community in Labrador. It is hoped that this research collaboration will ultimately lead to the development of a promising approach for monitoring microbial activities without drilling monitoring wells in Labrador; which could facilitate future remediation actions. The project will also lead to an improved and healthier working and living environment for Canadians, especially the Inuit community in Labrador. Ryerson University at Yonge-Dundas Square (10am – 4pm) Visit this year’s Science Rendezvous event at Ryerson University to see how chemistry can help to light up your life!  Featured at this year’s event will be dynamic young Ryerson researcher, Dr. Bryan Koivisto, who -- with support from ‘Engage’ and ‘Engage Plus’ Grants from NSERC -- has been working with London, Ontario-based Sciencetech Inc. to develop a prototype LED solar simulator that can be tuned to match any natural lighting condition – from ambient indoor conditions to compact fluorescent lighting to bright outdoor conditions in the Arctic. This great partnership between Dr. Koivisto’s Ryerson research team and Sciencetech Inc. has been able to create an innovative technology that will help the Canadian company stay competitive in the growing solar simulation market and shine brightly in Canada and around the world. University of Toronto St. George campus (11am – 5pm) Ever heard somebody say, ‘That’s about as interesting as watching paint dry?’  Well, for automotive manufacturers and their supplier companies, watching paint dry really is interesting --- and important.  That’s because the quality of a new vehicle’s paint finish is a critical part of buyer appeal.  Bad paint?  No sale.  Unfortunately, drying conditions at the manufacturer’s paint shop can result in all kinds of problems in the final finish -- problems with colorful names like ‘orange peel’ and ‘fish-eye’!  To try to understand how these defects happen and – more important -- how to prevent them, carmaker General Motors and Canadian manufacturing giant Magna Corporation recently partnered with Professor Sanjeev  Chandra at the University of Toronto’s Mechanical Engineering department to find some answers.  Funding support came from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) by way of a ‘Collaborative R&D’ grant.  Working together, the GM-Magna-U of T team prepared painted ‘coupons’ (small plates of freshly-painted sheet metal) and took videos of the paint drying under different temperature and humidity conditions.   The flow patterns in the drying paint samples were captured on video and then the video was used to generate a computer simulation of the drying process.  The end result?  A new computer-based tool that lets the companies predict the quality of the paint finish before it even gets sprayed on the vehicle.  Watching paint dry pays off! Queen’s University at Rogers K-ROCK Centre (10am – 3pm) Ever heard of ‘3D printing’?  In industry, it’s called ‘additive manufacturing’ and it’s rapidly changing the way that everything from aircraft engines to automobile parts to smartphones are made.  An Additive Manufacturing printer uses a computer-based ‘CAD’ drawing to guide a special laser beam as it scans over a bed of metal powder.  The laser beam fuses the metal powder, layer by layer, so that it ‘writes’ a 3D metal component.  Kingston and Queen’s are hotbeds of innovation for this laser-based manufacturing technology.  Starting back in 2014, Queen’s physics researcher Dr. James Fraser and local company Laser Depth Dynamics (itself born at Queen’s) have used funding support from NSERC to build an innovative research collaboration in this exciting area of technology. Come visit the Queen’s-Laser Depth Dynamics team at Science Rendezvous Kingston to learn more about how lasers are being used to turn piles of metal powder into complex parts that help products from smartphones to cars deliver better performance and offer great new features.  You’ll even be able to try your hand at being a laser physicist!  Visit Dr. Fraser and let him show you how to use a laser beam to measure the diameter of a single strand of your own hair! York University at Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market (10am – 3pm) Smartphones use all kinds of leading-edge technologies to help them deliver all the features and performance that users enjoy – and demand.  Like watching video content!  From anywhere!  Recent hardware developments in these mobile devices have created a demand for completely new video compression techniques with adjustable quality of services. When the receiver is a mobile user, the high bit-rate video data needs to be transcoded to a low bit-rate format that’s capable of being adjusted to the network and receiver’s specifications, while preserving the best possible video quality.  Working with funding support from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), York University computer engineering researchers Dr. Aijin An and Dr. Amir Asif launched a long-term research collaboration with computing giant IBM Canada in 2014 to develop an innovative ‘transcoding’ video compression strategy capable of sustaining video delivery performance with certain immunity to the bandwidth fluctuations which occur in network connectivity.  So what, you ask?  Well, now you’ll be able to watch your favourite videos on your smartphone even while you’re out in the middle of the lake in your boat at the cottage! University of Saskatchewan- Canadian Light Source tours (7pm) Dr. Matthew Lindsay and his graduate students recently completed a study of metal leaching from oil sands petroleum coke, which is a major byproduct of bitumen upgrading at oil sands mines. Their research, with funding from NSERC, in partnership with Syncrude Canada Ltd. identified geochemical conditions under which potentially hazardous metals – nickel and vanadium – are leached into groundwater. These findings are helping Syncrude identify locations for storing petroleum coke within reclamation landscapes to reduce metal leaching. Dr. Lindsay has partnered with Syncrude on several other projects aimed at minimizing long-term impacts of mine wastes on water quality within reclamation landscapes.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

TORONTO, May 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 300 free events will take place in 30 cities across Canada for the 10th edition of Science Rendezvous on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Science Rendezvous is Canada’s largest nation-wide science festival. Science Rendezvous will launch the national science, technology, engineering and mathematics series of events for Science Odyssey; a ten-day national celebration of Canadian innovation that is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).  Science Rendezvous will host NSERC's Innovation Showcase at festival sites across Canada in an effort to bring current Canadian innovation to the public, and demonstrate what can be achieved by collaboration between industry leaders and top Canadian researchers. NSERC is the largest investor in science and engineering research and innovation in Canada. As a convenor, they connect universities and colleges with industry partners to enable innovation-driven activities – allowing scientists and engineers across the country to develop world-leading discoveries and work with companies to turn these discoveries into inventions and products that will benefit Canadians. The NSERC Innovation Showcase will be presented by the researchers involved and will be at selected Science Rendezvous event sites across the country.  They are free and open to the public, with most taking place between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2017. For more information about Science Rendezvous events and the NSERC Innovation Showcase in your city visit: http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/event‐sites/ http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/category/nserc/ Science Rendezvous is an annual nation‐wide science festival dedicated to science outreach. Founded in 2008, it has grown to include over 300 simultaneous events in partnership with 40 of Canada’s top research institutions, 6,000 innovators and 122 community organizations across the country. www.sciencerendezvous.ca This year’s Science Rendezvous activities will launch the ten-day Science Odyssey series in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). http://www.sciod.ca/ This is only a sample of participating venues. See http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/category/nserc/ for more details Cybermentor - Telus Spark (Science Centre) (10am – 3pm) Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will showcase their solution to our fresh water requirements at the Telus Spark. Desalinated water powered by bicycles. University of Alberta- May 12 (1pm- 4pm) Nasseri School professors and students will share advances in building engineering research at an Open House event. This event features the research of Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein, with support from NSERC. Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein is a professor and NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in the Industrialization of Building Construction at the University of Alberta, and a highly sought researcher and consultant in the areas of automated machine development, lean manufacturing, construction process optimization, CO2 emission quantification, and building information modelling (BIM), with the development of modular and offsite construction technologies and practices forming the hub of his research. Kwantlen Polytechnic University – Langley Campus (11am – 3pm) Kwantlen's Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) was created in 2004 to be a partnership of academia with B.C.'s horticultural industries and the community to support British Columbia in meeting demands for a higher level of sustainability and environmental responsibility from horticulture, silviculture, forestry, and urban landscapes. The development of biological pest management products useful to growers, and economically viable to producers, is one of the primary goals of Kwantlen's Institute for Sustainable Horticulture. The work of Dr. Deborah Henderson (Director, ISH and LEEF Regional Innovation Chair in Sustainable Horticulture), the Institute's innovative research into bio-products and pollination will be highlighted at this Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Science Rendezvous event.  Benefits for plants from extracts of a native kelp species, better pollination of greenhouse tomatoes with native bumblebee pollinators, biofertilizers made from insects, and biofungicides that can be used to replace pesticides, will be showcased. Simon Fraser University – Burnaby campus (11am – 3pm) Better brain protection will be demonstrated from the work of Dr. Farid Golnaraghi at the Head Injury Prevention Lab (the HIP lab). Collisions with the head are rarely normal impacts to the surface of the helmet; most come at an angle, causing both sharp twisting and compression of the brain. At the HIP lab a micro-engineered membrane called Shield-X membrane was developed; technology that can better mitigate the injurious effects of the sharp twisting of the brain. Shield-X membrane disengages the impacting force from the head and results in significant reduction of the sharp twisting of the brain. The technology has been successfully tested by helmet manufacturers in the US and Canada, and soon you may see bicycle, hockey, ski, and football helmets equipped with Shield-X membrane. Let’s Talk Science with the University of British Columbia – The Old Barn Community Centre (10am – 2pm) Discover the future of touch screens, the foldable technology, and a glimpse into the future.  The work of Mirza Saquib Sarwar, PhD Candidate and NSERC CGS (Alexander Graham Bell) Scholarship Holder and John D. Madden, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory, UBC will be showcased.  An innovative smart skin that detects the proximity and touch of fingers to a surface will be displayed. It is stretchable and bendable. It could be useful for providing touch sensation to robots, making it easier for them to work with humans, and to replicate human dexterity.  As a transparent and stretchable touch interface that could be used on stretchable tablets or smart phones, or any surface – kitchen cupboard, table top, floor etc. to make it interactive.  It is part of broader technology movements to make our devices more portable, wearable and connected. University of Manitoba, Fort Garry Campus, Science and Engineering Bldg (11am – 4pm) This event is featuring the research of Red River College, who have been working in collaboration with various partners, with support from the NSERC. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Red River College has developed an all-electric transit bus and charging system, and is currently developing MotiveLab – a climatic chamber with chassis dyno large enough for a highway bus. The research of Dr. Julissa Roncal, who has been working in collaboration with Stantec Consulting, with support from NSERC will be showcased.  Stantec turned to Dr. Roncal to help them understand how the specific environmental conditions of a particular geographical area - potentially being approved for natural resource extraction - may or may not support rare plants. This research collaboration has led to the development of unique probability models of suitable habitats for five rare plants in Labrador. This new knowledge will be added within Stantec's environmental impact statements, which will improve their assessments on the real distribution of rare plants, and the real impact of proposed natural resource developments. This work will also fill a knowledge gap that results in sometimes-unnecessary mitigation plans, therefore the general environmental assessment industry will benefit from the research outcomes, as well as the natural resource sector, and government regulatory agencies responsible for approving natural resource extraction. The research of Dr. Eric Vander Wal, who has been working in collaboration with Manitoba Hydro, with support from NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Manitoba Hydro turned to Dr. Vander Wal to help them understand how transmission right-of-ways constructed through the wilderness affects behavior in keystone predators (wolves) and prey (moose) and their population dynamics. The project also has value to rural and indigenous communities through which transmission right-of-ways are routed. It is hoped that this research collaboration will produce results that illustrate whether wolves select or avoid transmission right-of-ways and how this may affect predator-prey interactions. Canada will benefit from this information because it will help companies that transmit hydrogenerated electricity economize their transmission line routing and monitoring of right-of-way impacts, while balancing the possible local and ecological impacts of these large human-made features on the landscape. The research of Dr. Stephen Butt, who has been working in collaboration with Anaconda Mining Inc., with support from NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Anaconda Mining turned to Dr. Butt to help them solve the mine blasting challenge of identifying ore and waste rock intervals within a drilled blast hole due to the dilution of the cuttings. This challenge results in portions of the blasted muck being grouped in the wrong ore grade category for processing or, worse, being designated as waste with no gold recovery at all.  It is hoped that this research collaboration will lead to a more efficient way to determine if the content is designated as ore to send to the mill for processing, or waste. The project will also lead to further collaboration on rock penetration and fragmentation problems within the company's mining and development activities. The research of Dr. Baiyu (Helen) Zhang, who has been working in collaboration with Altius Minerals Corporation, with support from the NSERC will be showcased. Assisted by NSERC’s innovation programming, Altius turned to Dr. Zhang to help them investigate the feasibility of natural processes to decrease concentrations of an oil-contaminated site in an Inuit community in Labrador. It is hoped that this research collaboration will ultimately lead to the development of a promising approach for monitoring microbial activities without drilling monitoring wells in Labrador; which could facilitate future remediation actions. The project will also lead to an improved and healthier working and living environment for Canadians, especially the Inuit community in Labrador. Ryerson University at Yonge-Dundas Square (10am – 4pm) Visit this year’s Science Rendezvous event at Ryerson University to see how chemistry can help to light up your life!  Featured at this year’s event will be dynamic young Ryerson researcher, Dr. Bryan Koivisto, who -- with support from ‘Engage’ and ‘Engage Plus’ Grants from NSERC -- has been working with London, Ontario-based Sciencetech Inc. to develop a prototype LED solar simulator that can be tuned to match any natural lighting condition – from ambient indoor conditions to compact fluorescent lighting to bright outdoor conditions in the Arctic. This great partnership between Dr. Koivisto’s Ryerson research team and Sciencetech Inc. has been able to create an innovative technology that will help the Canadian company stay competitive in the growing solar simulation market and shine brightly in Canada and around the world. University of Toronto St. George campus (11am – 5pm) Ever heard somebody say, ‘That’s about as interesting as watching paint dry?’  Well, for automotive manufacturers and their supplier companies, watching paint dry really is interesting --- and important.  That’s because the quality of a new vehicle’s paint finish is a critical part of buyer appeal.  Bad paint?  No sale.  Unfortunately, drying conditions at the manufacturer’s paint shop can result in all kinds of problems in the final finish -- problems with colorful names like ‘orange peel’ and ‘fish-eye’!  To try to understand how these defects happen and – more important -- how to prevent them, carmaker General Motors and Canadian manufacturing giant Magna Corporation recently partnered with Professor Sanjeev  Chandra at the University of Toronto’s Mechanical Engineering department to find some answers.  Funding support came from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) by way of a ‘Collaborative R&D’ grant.  Working together, the GM-Magna-U of T team prepared painted ‘coupons’ (small plates of freshly-painted sheet metal) and took videos of the paint drying under different temperature and humidity conditions.   The flow patterns in the drying paint samples were captured on video and then the video was used to generate a computer simulation of the drying process.  The end result?  A new computer-based tool that lets the companies predict the quality of the paint finish before it even gets sprayed on the vehicle.  Watching paint dry pays off! Queen’s University at Rogers K-ROCK Centre (10am – 3pm) Ever heard of ‘3D printing’?  In industry, it’s called ‘additive manufacturing’ and it’s rapidly changing the way that everything from aircraft engines to automobile parts to smartphones are made.  An Additive Manufacturing printer uses a computer-based ‘CAD’ drawing to guide a special laser beam as it scans over a bed of metal powder.  The laser beam fuses the metal powder, layer by layer, so that it ‘writes’ a 3D metal component.  Kingston and Queen’s are hotbeds of innovation for this laser-based manufacturing technology.  Starting back in 2014, Queen’s physics researcher Dr. James Fraser and local company Laser Depth Dynamics (itself born at Queen’s) have used funding support from NSERC to build an innovative research collaboration in this exciting area of technology. Come visit the Queen’s-Laser Depth Dynamics team at Science Rendezvous Kingston to learn more about how lasers are being used to turn piles of metal powder into complex parts that help products from smartphones to cars deliver better performance and offer great new features.  You’ll even be able to try your hand at being a laser physicist!  Visit Dr. Fraser and let him show you how to use a laser beam to measure the diameter of a single strand of your own hair! York University at Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market (10am – 3pm) Smartphones use all kinds of leading-edge technologies to help them deliver all the features and performance that users enjoy – and demand.  Like watching video content!  From anywhere!  Recent hardware developments in these mobile devices have created a demand for completely new video compression techniques with adjustable quality of services. When the receiver is a mobile user, the high bit-rate video data needs to be transcoded to a low bit-rate format that’s capable of being adjusted to the network and receiver’s specifications, while preserving the best possible video quality.  Working with funding support from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), York University computer engineering researchers Dr. Aijin An and Dr. Amir Asif launched a long-term research collaboration with computing giant IBM Canada in 2014 to develop an innovative ‘transcoding’ video compression strategy capable of sustaining video delivery performance with certain immunity to the bandwidth fluctuations which occur in network connectivity.  So what, you ask?  Well, now you’ll be able to watch your favourite videos on your smartphone even while you’re out in the middle of the lake in your boat at the cottage! University of Saskatchewan- Canadian Light Source tours (7pm) Dr. Matthew Lindsay and his graduate students recently completed a study of metal leaching from oil sands petroleum coke, which is a major byproduct of bitumen upgrading at oil sands mines. Their research, with funding from NSERC, in partnership with Syncrude Canada Ltd. identified geochemical conditions under which potentially hazardous metals – nickel and vanadium – are leached into groundwater. These findings are helping Syncrude identify locations for storing petroleum coke within reclamation landscapes to reduce metal leaching. Dr. Lindsay has partnered with Syncrude on several other projects aimed at minimizing long-term impacts of mine wastes on water quality within reclamation landscapes.

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