Congratulations Prof. Strickland!
Donna Strickland, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, became the first woman in 55 years and the third ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, sharing it with a scientist from the U.S. and another from France for their work in laser physics.
Source: Canadian among trio awarded Nobel Prize in Physics | CBC News
An interesting article about my colleague Prof. Emelko’s research. I’m somewhat jealous that she gets to fly in a helicopter!
Forest fires are sweeping North America with detrimental environmental, economic and human impacts. A research team, led by University of Waterloo Engineering professor Monica Emelko, will receive $5.5 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Strategic Partnership Grant for Networks to provide new knowledge on the impacts of different forest management strategies on drinking water source quality and treatability.
Source: Long-term effects of forest fires pose threats to drinking water | Water Institute | University of Waterloo
An interesting article about some co-op student efforts in one of our research labs. I learned about Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition, which is an interesting application of nanoscience and materials engineering.
With the help of seven University of Waterloo co-op students, Canada’s first Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (SALD) system is up and running. At the celebratory ribbon cutting on May 10, 2018, project leader Professor Kevin Musselman said he couldn’t have done it without the co-op students who helped design and build the machine. “I was sitting at my desk the whole time. I don’t think I ever lifted a finger so it was entirely built by the students,” laughs Musselman.
Source: Co-op students build first-of-its-kind machine in Canada | Engineering | University of Waterloo
Over the past month I’ve spent some time on research topics related to garbage. Or more accurately, energy from waste, sustainable materials management, circular economy issues, reduction and recycling. To the public, such things may not be as exciting as self-driving cars, but as landfills, oceans, and beaches fill with wastes they are becoming more noticeable and pressing issues.
First, I helped to organize our 5th annual Resource Recovery Partnerships Conference here at Waterloo in late June. Over two days, we had lots of presentations and networking among academic, industrial and municipal government people discussing various issues related to waste reduction and management. Shortly after that, I attended the Air & Waste Management Association’s annual conference, held in Hartford CT. There, I saw a number of interesting presentations on “zero waste”, sustainability, and case studies of projects. Between these two events I learned a few things that I can summarize below: Continue reading
There is a perception out there that Waterloo Engineering is a great place for a practical undergraduate education (I won’t argue with that), but when it comes to more theoretical graduate studies and research in Canada you should look to one of the other big names. I will argue with that, and of course present some data for analysis. Continue reading
One focus of my research group’s efforts over the past 10 years has been collaborative R&D with small and start-up companies. They often have some very interesting ideas and needs, but lack the facilities and technical team to do the work in-house. So this is a perfect opportunity for us to help them out with creating new businesses and for my students to get some “real-world” research experience with commercialization projects.
One major effort has been in the development of nanotechnology for rapid water quality testing, in particular for bacterial contamination. Traditional laboratory methods require 3 to 7 days to complete, which is a rather long time to wait if you’re concerned about your water quality. Through our collaborative R&D projects, we’ve developed a test method that can give an answer in a few minutes. This rapid feedback allows people to make informed decisions about what to do next, whether to treat the water further, or send samples to a lab for more extensive testing, etc.
Prototype ExactBlue water testing system.
One recent development is the creation of a more automated, smart-phone based system that’s suitable for regular consumer use. A prototype model is shown in the photograph. We’ve been testing the prototype devices with our nanotechnology-based reagent (which goes into the test tube), and doing validation and calibration work. Everything is looking good and everyone has been pleased with the results. It’s reliably and quickly detecting microbial contamination in our water samples, and there are some other water tests under development that will be able to use the same platform.
To get to the next stage, which is production of the first batch of devices for sale, the company has just launched a Kickstarter campaign. Have a look at their Kickstarter website to see much more information about the technology and where they are headed.
An interesting competition event showcasing environmental water quality innovations by student groups. Sponsored by the Water Institute at Waterloo, one of the research centres I belong to.
The AquaHacking 2017 semi-final competition unfolded last week at CIGI. By the end of the evening, five teams were chosen to move on to the final competition at Waterloo on September 13. It was a difficult decision for the five judges, as all 17 teams that competed offered innovative ideas that tackled the challenges and opportunities facing Lake Erie.
Source: University of Waterloo students make a big splash in the 2017 AquaHacking semi-finals | Water Institute