Ralph Pudritz, Physics & Astronomy, and René Heller, a former post-doctoral fellow in the Department, have proposed a way to narrow down the search for extraterrestrial life. They suggest we should assume that extraterrestrial observers are using the same methods to search for us that we are using to search for them. Currently, scientists track the shadows of distant planets and moons as those shadows pass in front of their own host stars to learn more about these distant places. By concentrating efforts on observing exoplanets that can see our shadow on our sun, researchers could reduce the number of stars studied from billions to tens of thousands.
Paul McNicholas, Mathematics & Statistics, and Stuart Phillip, Kinesiology, have become the Faculty’s latest Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs. McNicholas, CRC in Computational Statistics, is exploring new approaches in statistical and computational methods that will allow users to make sense of massive datasets, work that has applications in everything from management science and disease diagnostics to bioinformatics and marketing. Phillips, CRC in Human Skeletal Muscle Health in Aging, will study what exercise paradigms combined with nutrition or nutraceutical approaches may help people retain skeletal muscle as they age. It was also announced that Patrick Bennett, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, received the renewal of his Tier 1 CRC in Vision Science. Congratulations to all three on their achievements.
The Faculty’s welcomes its newest academic unit, the School of Interdisciplinary Science (SIS), which opened on January 1, 2016. Maureen MacDonald, Kinesiology, is the School's inaugural director. SIS is the administrative hub of four of the Faculty’s undergraduate programs: Honours Integrated Science Program (iSci); the Life Sciences Programs; the Medical Radiation Sciences Program (offered jointly with Mohawk College); and the current undergraduate Medical Physics Program. The School was created with the mandate to foster exploration and discovery while emphasizing experiential, collaborative and student-centred learning. Located in General Sciences Building (GSB), Room 105, full contact information can be found here. Read the Daily News article on the School's opening here.
Takashi Imai, Physics, and graduate student, Mingxuan Fu, have established that an elusive form of matter, known as “spin liquid”, previously known only in theory, does in fact exist. Their results, recently published in the journal, Science, answer a complex question of condensed-matter physics and represent a career high for Imai, who has worked on the problem for nine years.
The proof had eluded other top physicists, even Nobel winners, for decades.