Staying healthy at the end of the term

Need some new techniques for relieving stress? Having trouble sleeping? Want to learn more about staying healthy during exams? The McGill Library has books that might help!

The Wendy Patrick Health Information Collection is located on the main floor of the Schulich Library. We currently have a small display of books on stress relief, mindfulness, and sleeping habits that might help you during this stressful end-of-term time. Take a study break and visit the Schulich Library to browse the titles or visit this reading list to check out the full list of titles.

Good luck with your exams and final papers!

Science cinema with Kanopy

Science CinemaIt’s Science Literacy Week and this year we’ve added movies to the calendar, selected from the Kanopy streaming video service.

We will also have popcorn, so be sure to join us at 5:30pm in the Redpath Library Building, Research Commons Room A, where the visualization wall is perfect for screenings.

Here is what’s on:

  • Monday: Google and the World Brain

  • Tuesday: I Dream of Wires: The Machine that Shaped Electronic Music

  • Wednesday: Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?

  • Thursday: Top Secret Rosies

  • Friday: GTFO: Get the F**k Out – Women in Gaming

Read descriptions here.

With Kanopy in the Library collection, every day can be movie day. Whether you love classic films or documentaries, there is plenty to explore.

Happy viewing!

Walk and work @ Schulich Library

Schulich treadmill deskIt is important to move around throughout the day to meet those fitness goals, reduce stress, and get our creative juices flowing. Living through your average Montreal winter does not make it easy. Once we arrive at our destination it is easy to rationalize staying put for as along as possible.

To help make moving around a little easier, we have installed a treadmill desk at Schulich Library. It is up on the group study floor so that the little noise it makes will not be an issue. The height of the desk portion is adjustable and the speed can be set up to 4 mph. While you can’t get a full on run on the treadmill, you can get a nice brisk walk going and get your heart rate up.

I know it is a little unusual but don’t be shy about getting on the treadmill and setting up your work on the desk. Seeing you there will help others feel more comfortable about walking while working. Also, if you get the chance, please fill out our short survey after your walk and give us your feedback.

Winner of the CCOM Writing Recognition Award

Christian Barker is the winner of the Communication in Engineering-Writing Recognition Award for the 2016 Winter and Summer semesters. The award comes with a $500 prize from the Faculty of Engineering.

Title: The Feasibility of Fibre Reinforced Polymers as an Alternative to Steel in Reinforced Concrete

 

Abstract: The corrosiveness of steel compromises the structural integrity of reinforced concrete (RC) structures and costs the infrastructure industry billions of dollars every year. In response to this, engineers have developed fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) – non-metallic composite materials of superior strength to be used in place of steel. The three most commonly used FRPs in construction are carbon, glass, and aramid. This paper discusses the feasibility of each FRP as an alternative to steel in RC structures by comparing their mechanical properties, sustainable merits, and costs. Research reveals that while glass FRP is most sustainable, its poor strength and durability render it unusable for most RC applications. Aramid FRP’s strength and durability fell short of carbon’s and it is most expensive. Carbon FRP demonstrates the highest strength, greatest durability, and lowest final costs making it the most feasible FRP to replace steel in RC. Recommendations for future implementation include establishing building codes, improving recyclability and lowering initial costs.

The full text of the paper can be downloaded from the record in eScolarship@McGill, McGill’s institutional repository.

Congratulations to Christian Barker on a well deserved award!

You Can Use More Resources Than You Expect

It was a nice sunny Saturday. I just walked out of a restaurant near Concordia. Nothing is better than a fruitful reading after a delicious meal. I was just about to take the 15-minute walk back to McGill campus when I received a call from my friend, who lived near Concordia and wished to have a conversation with me on her research paper. There was still nearly an hour before the scheduled time, and I didn’t want to bother to get back and forth between Concordia and McGill campuses. I just needed somewhere to read and work with a computer. So I simply went into the main Concordia library, presented the BCI card (Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire), which is a nice blue card for inter-university library services. This magic blue card enabled me to get a Concordia privilege card and a guest account for computer workstations in the library in just five minutes! With the guest account and that Concordia card, I was able to log in to the computer, access my material stored in Onedrive, print my documents and borrow books as conveniently as a Concordia student. Thanks to BCI, I could fill the time before my meeting in a super comfortable study environment in a nice library.

Yes, this is one of my privileges as a McGill student! A nice agreement called the Canadian University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement has enabled all students, faculty and staff from McGill University to borrow books from any Quebec University Library. Just simply fill out an application form in the library. Then you can get a key to every Quebec library in a minute! Whether you want to enjoy the food around Concordia, or go to UQAM to reactivate your OPUS card, or maybe give a workshop at the University of Laval, you will always find a nice place to work and study afterwards. No more wasting time on travelling!

If you are a graduate student, here is something even more exciting: this access to libraries extends to the whole of Canada! Whether you are doing field work in Alberta, or attending a conference in Ontario, you will never worry about a lack of research resources. Remember to carry your McGill ID and BCI card. You are free to borrow books, learn and study and even write papers in almost any libraries nearby. You can even enjoy a library tour around Canada, which makes the trip more interesting and meaningful! Ask the loans desk in any McGill library during regular service hours, and enjoy this fancy service right away! You may enjoy more resources than you expect!

More information:

Special thanks to Mi Lin.

MSES Team

Thinking Outside the Brain

Innovation Week MCIN posterNext week is innovation week at McGill!

I want to bring your attention to an event that is geared towards undergraduate students of all backgrounds. The MCIN is hosting an interactive talk (with breakfast) highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience research. 

It is happening at the Montreal Neurological Institute (de Grandpré Communications Centre), Thursday, November 17th, 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Registration is required so sign up today to reserve your spot.

We are entering a new era in our understanding of both healthy and pathological brain function, which underpins all human behaviour.  It is only through interdisciplinary convergence, pooling the expertise of individuals with extraordinarily varied backgrounds of study and experience, that we can continue to advance our understanding of the ultimate puzzle that is the mind.  In this event, we will present ways in which “thinking outside the brain” has proven beneficial to brain research within our centre, along with small-group workshops to foster collaborative learning and encourage synergies.

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo: Deciding where to submit a manuscript for publication

look-of-successI am one of the instructors for the MyResearch graduate seminar series, which just ended for the autumn semester. It will be offered again in the winter. Issues in scholarly publishing are one of the topics we discuss in MyResearch, such as which factors should we consider for determining the best journal to submit a manuscript.

I use the following multi-step approach for selecting a journal:

1- With the database search results I exported to EndNote, I sort the relevant references in my EndNote Library by the “Journal” column and pick out a few journals (usually 3-5) that published the most articles on my topic.  You can also click on “analyze results” in Web of Science and Scopus to see the list of journals in your results set, listed from the ones with the most articles to the least.

2- I visit each journal’s website, where I read about the scope of the journal and look at the instructions to the authors.  This helps me determine whether my article would be considered for publication by the journal.  If yes, I move on to the next step.

3- I search for the Journal Impact Factor in Journal Citation Reports (you can also click on the journal name for a result in Web of Science to view the Journal Impact Factor), and then I use the “Compare sources” option in Scopus to search for each journal, which will enable me to look at the journal’s SJR (Scimago Journal Rank) score, SNIP (the citation potential or the average times an article in that journal can expect to be cited in a given year) score, % not cited, and % reviews (review articles usually generate more citations, so if a journal publishes a lot of reviews, this might inflate its SJR and Journal Impact Factor scores).  All these metrics are calculated differently but viewed together they tell me a story of which journal has the higher impact, based on more than one criterion.

4- If the journals I’m comparing rank about the same, e.g., let’s say they both fall between the top 25-35% of highly cited journals, I consider other factors, such as:

i) How long will it take before I receive a decision about my manuscript, and what is the journal’s manuscript acceptance rate? (Look at the journal’s website for this information. If you’re short on time to meet a deadline that requires the work to be published, this factor might be very important because you want to give yourself enough time to resubmit to a second journal if the first journal rejects your manuscript.)

ii) In which databases is this journal indexed? (If there are more databases that provide references to articles in the journal, this increases the odds of someone finding a reference to your article and citing it.)

iii) Will the journal allow me to make, at least, a post-print (final text of your manuscript, incorporating changes from peer-review process) freely available on the web within 12 months after publication? (This will allow individuals without a personal or institutional subscription to the journal to be able to read your article without paying for it, and satisfy the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications for research funded by SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR. Search the journal in Sherpa Romeo to find this information or look at the journal’s website).

5- By this stage, I have usually narrowed down my list of multiple journals to two journals.  At this step, I consider personal preferences.  Which of the two journals do I read or use the most, or which one would make me the most proud if I received a letter of acceptance?

This is the seventh in a series of posts about topics relating to research skills and ethics. Happy Halloween!

Image from the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats cartoon strip by Adam “Ape Lad” Koford (creative commons license)

Fall 2015 writing recognition award winner

Congratulations goes to William Bouchard, winner of the Communication in Engineering Writing Recognition Award! His paper was the best of those submitted in the 2015 fall semester of CCOM-206.

Here is the abstract of the winning paper, A Study of the Material Best Suited to Replace Silicon as the Principal Semiconductor In Computer Chips:

Transistors made from silicon are more ubiquitous than ever, but the technology itself is not optimal. Some physical properties of silicon may hinder future technological progress. Two alternative semiconductor materials – diamond and gallium nitride (GaN) – are studied and their properties compared in order to find a suitable replacement. Speed is evaluated by using cutoff frequency and electron mobility; resistance to voltage and heat is evaluated by using the breakdown electric field, melting point, and thermal conductivity. It is found that diamond possesses superior characteristics in nearly every category. Of particular import are the cutoff frequency, the breakdown electric field, and the thermal conductivity of each transistor. The cutoff frequency of a silicon transistor is 0.055 GHz. For both the diamond and GaN transistors, it is 2 GHz. The breakdown electric field of silicon is 0.22 V.cm-1; for diamond, it is 4.00 V.cm-1; for GaN, 9.50 V.cm-1. Finally, silicon’s thermal conductivity at 300 K is 1.48 W.cm-1.K-1. Diamond easily bests its competitors with a thermal conductivity of 32.2 W.cm-1.K-1, while GaN’s thermal conductivity is 2.53 W.cm-1.K-1. In light of these results, a diamond semiconductor has the potential to offer much faster and much more reliable transistors to many markets, ranging from professional applications to consumer-grade electronics.

The full paper is available in McGill’s institutional repository, eScholarship.

William Bouchard is the third undergraduate student to win the Writing Recognition Award, an award that comes with a monetary prize of $500 from the Faculty of Engineering. Read more about the award and the first and second recipients, posted in The Turret.

Oct. 4: McGill Engineering Research Showcase (MERS) & Canadian Graduate Engineering Consortium (CGEC) Graduate School Fair

Please join McGill’s Faculty of Engineering on Tuesday Oct. 4, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the McConnell Engineering Building Lobby and 1st floor hallway to learn more about the innovative research taking place via poster presentations from graduate students at the McGill Engineering Research Showcase (MERS). More information/register here.

And hear from the Canadian Graduate Engineering Consortium (CGEC) to learn more about pursuing graduate studies with some of Canada’s top engineering schools: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo who will each have representatives present to speak with students. More information/register here.

From Star Trek to honeybees

United States design patent 307,923This year’s Science Literacy Week really does have it all, starting with two amazing library exhibits:

  1. The Science of Star Trek at Schulich Library
  2. Knowing Blood, Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings at Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

If you can’t make it up to Osler Library, we have a touch table coming to Schulich Library tomorrow that will allow you to explore the Knowing Blood exhibit from Tuesday to Friday.

The fun with technology does not stop there, however, because we have 3D printing and learn to code workshops. You can also explore virtual reality technologies with the Oculus Rift. I will definitely be there for that.

I haven’t forgotten about the bees…we have hives on the roof of Schulich Library and they make the best honey. Take a visit up there with an experienced beekeeper.

There is more happening than I can mention here but I don’t want to leave out Wednesday’s Wikipedia edit-a-thon on women in science, or the talk from Dr. Joe Schwarcz on the facts and myths of eating right on Thursday afternoon.

I will leave you with the calendar of events to explore. Now if only we had transporter rooms… Well, there is always next year!