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UBC Science Connect Issue 4, 2012
New technology allows safe, convenient wireless charging of electric cars

UBC researchers have invented a safe, efficient technology to wirelessly charge electric vehicles using “remote magnetic gears."

One of the challenges of electric vehicles is the need to connect cords and sockets in often cramped conditions and in bad weather. Wireless charging solves that problem.

The charger uses a rotating base magnet driven by electricity from the grid, and a second located within the car, to eliminate the use of radio waves. The base gear remotely spins the in-car gear, which in turns generates power to charge the battery.

The system is more than 90 per cent efficient compared to a cable charge.

Read More » | Watch the video »

Elusive seahorse is ready for its close-up

Researchers from UBC’s Project Seahorse have released the first-ever footage of a rare West African seahorse in the wild.

Kate West was conducting fieldwork with local fishing communities in Senegal when she spotted unusual seahorses being pulled up in a trap. On closer inspection she discovered one of them was a luminous yellow — and extremely rare — Hippocampus algiricus. West convinced the fishers to release the seahorse and captured the footage.

Read More » | Watch the video »


Twitter icon Judea Pearl Biological world

Open UBC: #Arseniclife and science advocacy
Discover how social media helped overthrow erroneous NASA findings, and how crowd sourcing science rocks.
» November 1


The Math of Cause and Effect
Turing Award winner Judea Pearl on how math can demystify seemingly impossible problems in data intensive science. A CS Distinguished Lecture.
» November 8


Peering into the Biological World
Head to the spectacular LSI for a chat on viewing the biological world with x-rays and magnetic fields. Part of Café Scientifique.
» November 14

UBC to offer free science courses online

This spring UBC will pilot three free online courses in genetics, computer science and climate literacy. The courses will be available through the online learning platform Coursera.

"Our partnership with Coursera will enable us to reach people around the world, and to evaluate an exciting new teaching and learning technology," says Simon Peacock, Dean of the Faculty of Science, where two of the courses are housed.

Read More » | Watch the video »

Professor Rosie Redfield

Alumni profile: Alia Dharamsi

Alia Dharamsi’s (BSc 2010, Integrated Sciences) extensive community service and leadership have earned her a 2012 Outstanding Future Alumnus Award from the UBC Alumni Association.

While completing her undergraduate degree at UBC Dharamsi focused on the interplay between nutrition and disease. She travelled to Guatemala in her final year of studies to teach oral hygiene, English, science and math to children.

She founded the UBC chapter of Meal Exchange and coordinated efforts to fundraise $56,000 for local food banks. She has been recognized with the BC Community Achievement Medallion and the YWCA Vancouver’s Young Woman of Distinction Award.

Now a third-year pediatrics student at UBC, Dharamasi hopes to eventually work with the World Health Organization or Doctors Without Borders.

The 2012 UBC Alumni Achievement Awards take place November 14. For tickets, and to learn more, visit the alumni awards page.

Alia Dharamsi

Glacial rivers and fjords provide unique learning experience
Iceland Iceland Iceland

An intensive three-week field course launched this year takes UBC Science students to the Land of Fire and Ice.


Iceland’s dramatic geological features and unique climate serve as a self-contained sustainability lab.


There are plans to travel to different destinations around the world in the future. Learn more and view a gallery of photos.


Botany, CS and Fisheries Centre get new CRCs
Three new Canada Research Chairs have been appointed at UBC Science, with an additional two renewed. The CRCs are worth $3.5 million, and boost the faculty's research capacity in conservation, algorithm design for large scale communication and transportation networks, and fisheries management.

Two UBC Science researchers elected to Canada’s Royal Society
UBC Science's Anne Condon and Michael Doebeli are among 71 fellows elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) this year. Condon, who heads UBC Computer Science, and Doebeli, a world-renowned mathematical evolutionary biologist, will be inducted during a ceremony held November 17 in Ottawa.

Research into faster DNA analysis receives funding boost
Microfluidic expert Carl Hansen is one of several UBC researchers to receive $4.5 million in federal support for multidisciplinary initiatives that combine science, engineering and medical expertise. Hansen, with Physics and Astronomy and the Center for High-Throughput Biology, received $965,950 to continue his research on increasing the speed and sensitivity of DNA analysis.

Chemistry, zoology researchers awarded Vanier scholarships
Two UBC Science researchers have been awarded Vanier scholarships, Canada's most prestigious scholarship for doctoral students. Zoologist Joanna Bernhardt will study the impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems. Chemist Léanne Racicot will investigate the synthesis of thiopeptides, a family of antibiotics with potent activity against drug-resistant pathogens.

Mathematician nets NSERC supplement
UBC Mathematician Jim Bryan has been awarded a NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement. The award provides additional resources to outstanding researchers who have a well-established research program and who are at a key point in their careers at which they can make, or capitalize on, a significant breakthrough.

Research-based field trips can help engage students in STEM careers

UBC researchers have documented their success delivering hands-on science field trips, and are encouraging other institutions to attempt similar outreach programs.

Joanne Fox, lead author on findings published in PLoS Computational Biology, believes that a taste of real-world science delivered by enthusiastic graduate students, is key to promoting careers in science and technology.

Read More »

STEM students

Science Undergraduate Society reunion: January 21, 2013

If you served with SUS, come celebrate 52 years of undergraduate science spirit this January. Reconnect with fellow alumni, faculty and staff. The reception will feature an impressive exhibit of photographs of the Abdul Ladha Science Student Centre, as well as memorabilia from half a century of SUS.

Visit the UBC Science website for more information.

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