UVic microscope workshops coming soon

The University of Victoria’s mega microscope is once again in the news. Workshops to train scientists on how to use the behemoth are slated to start this fall.

“We have bragging rights. We have the highest resolution in the world,” Elaine Humphrey, manager of UVic’s Advance Microscope Facility told the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Size does matter in this particular area of technology. The seven-tonne, 4.5-metre-tall microscope views objects at a magnification of up to 20 million times larger than what the human eye can see. Built in Japan by Hitachi, it arrived at UVic in parts a year ago. (Imagine putting it together? I hope they had more than an IKEA-style series of badly drawn diagrams.)

The workshops could have international appeal for chemists, electrical and mechanical engineers, biologists and physicists.  The Times-Colonist reports Redlen Technologies, a Victoria firm making high-resolution radiation detectors used in nuclear cardiology and baggage scanning, could be a possible customer.

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UVic prof to explain mysteries of the Higgs particle

Michel LefebvreIf you are really into particle physics, then the University of Victoria physicist Michel Lefebvre is giving a talk about the quest to discover the Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider, which lies buried beneath the French/Swiss border near Geneva.

The talk takes place at UVic’s David Lam Auditorium in the MacLaurin Building on 9 April at 7pm. It’s free.

According to the UVic website….

Prof. Lefebvre’s research focuses on hadron collider physics.  Following activities in the UA2 experiment at CERN’s proton-antiproton collider, he acted as founding spokesperson of the ATLAS Canada Collaboration in 1992.  The ATLAS detector is currently studying proton-proton collisions at the energy frontier, at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN; The discovery of a new particle has been announced on July 4th 2012.

UVic on a list of the 9 best computer science schools

The computer science department at the University of Victoria goes to go from strength to strength. This blogger has some generous praise for what UVic is doing. (We have some graduates of this department at AbeBooks right now and they are impressive.)

There are also 4 hidden gems in the above list, Victoria, Mines, Alberta, and CSU. They’re not top 10 schools, but not every student is going to get in a top 10 school (nor is a top 10 school the best place for many students). But what these other 4 clearly offer is a student body with a strong sense of community and students that love programming for the pure joy of programming.

More telescope news: Andromeda & beyond

It must be me but it seems that UVic issues a story each month about some telescope or other. The latest story concerns two astrophysicists at the university, who have been analysing how a cluster of ‘dwarf’ galaxies are rotating around a neighbouring galaxy called Andromeda. Galaxies are not supposed to orbit things like planets and moons so this is a key discovery. Scientists using the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope in Hawaii collaborated on the project.

Lots of details on the project can be found here. There is also a little video, with some Mendelssohn thrown in, showing what they have seen through the big telescope in Hawaii.

UVic team helps smash data transfer record

During the SuperComputing 2012 (SC12) conference earlier this month, an international team of physicists, computer scientists, and network engineers from the University of Victoria, the California Institute for Technology, the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt’s Brookhaven National Lab broke their own record for data transfer using the latest generation of wide area network circuits. Apparently, this is just the start, according to this report, 1,000 Mbps speeds will be possible in the next 12 months.

Overall, the transfer rate achieved by the team hit 339 Mbps. For the sake of comparison, a 3G cellphone can usually achieve data transfer rates of around 18 Mbps while brand new super-exciting 4G cellphones can hit 30-35 Mbps in real-world scenarios.

$41 million boost for marine research sector

Marine researchers in Victoria received a financial boost earlier this month as federal and provincial governments put $41.7 million in funding towards Ocean Networks Canada.

Ocean Networks Canada is a University of Victoria project that uses sensor technologies to gather data and images from the sea floor and then streams it around the world.

The program includes a tsunami early-warning system, instruments to improve marine safety, and the first underwater instrument platform in the Arctic.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s major science initiatives provided $32.8 million and the Ministry of Advanced Education added $8.9 million.