Today we have a guest student post, originally submitted as a class assignment for Communicating Science (CCOM 314). With support from Diane Dechief, Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre, we will be sharing more noteworthy student writing right here on The Turret.
Audrey Carleton chose to write a profile on Sierra Clark, a graduate student supervised by Dr. Jill Baumgartner in the Institute for Health and Social Policy.
Headline: Sierra Clark on indoor air pollution and academic uncertainty
Subhead: McGill Master’s student tests lifesaving interventions for Tibetan Plateau residents
By: Audrey Carleton
Date: December 1, 2017
Sierra Clark has been reading National Geographic for as long as she can remember. Even before she learned to read, she would eagerly flip through the magazine’s glossy pages to admire its photos. From this young age, she had her sights set on someday working for the publication as an archaeologist.
In the twenty years that followed, Clark had a few changes of heart. When she began her undergraduate degree at McGill University in 2011, she was enrolled with a major in Anthropology. But after sitting through a few convoluted lectures in an introductory anthropology course, she realized the program wasn’t the right fit for her. One meeting with an academic advisor later, she settled on a major in Geography, and swiftly fell in love with it. Upon graduating in 2015, she swiftly enrolled in a Master’s Program in Epidemiology at McGill, which she is completing now. All the while, Clark continued to read National Geographic religiously. Continue reading
The Fall 2016 Excellence in Written Communication Award goes to Brittany Stott for “Controlling myoelectric-prosthetics through the use of nerves and muscles.”
The accomplishment comes with a monetary prize of $500 from the Faculty of Engineering.
The CCOM 206: Communication in Engineering Writing Recognition Committee found the paper to be very clearly written and well organized, and noted the exemplary use of figures and a table.
The abstract is pasted below but you can download the full paper from the record in eScholarship, McGill’s digital repository.
People who are fitted with prosthetics due to the loss of a limb may have difficulty performing simple daily tasks that may be taken for granted, such as tying shoe laces or opening a jar. The prosthetics used today are often rigid, inflexible, bulky molds that are standardized and have minimal degrees of freedom. The development of myoelectric-controlled prosthetics has greatly facilitated the performance of daily tasks by the user, although the best method for controlling these prosthetics is still to be determined. This paper compares and discusses three major advancements in prosthetic control electrode arrays, osseointegration, and targeted muscle reinnervation by examining stability, accuracy, and movability of the user controlling the prosthetic. It is determined that the most beneficial solution for the user would be the implementation of osseointegration and targeted muscle reinnervation combined. This combination would allow the creation of a prosthetic that would increase the accuracy and stability of the artificial limb, and that would provide a more permanent and long-term solution. In addition, the creation of a myoelectric-controlled prosthetic that incorporates these two methods would allow for further research and would increase the stability, accuracy, and movability of the user.
Stay tuned for the winner of the Winter and Summer 2017 Excellence in Written Communication 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!
Next 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.
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.
The second winner of the Communication in Engineering (CCOM 206) Writing Recognition Award is, Elie Bou-Gharios. Thanks to the generosity of the Faculty of Engineering, this award now comes with a monetary prize of $500.
For the Winter 2015 term, the Writing Recognition Committee found that Elie Bou-Gharios’ paper, “Methods of Carbon Nanotube Production”, stood out from the rest.
Here is the abstract of the winning paper:
Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) have shown the potential to change the engineering world with their unprecedented strength, stiffness and semiconductive capabilities. However, the production and alignment of masses of high quality nanotubes has proven challenging at an industrial scale. This paper assesses the effectiveness of the three leading methods of CNT production in terms of quality, yield, cost and scalability. Chemical Vapour Deposition was found to produce higher quality CNTs at greater yields and lower costs than Arc-discharge or Laser Ablation. By engaging catalysts at the gas stage of production and utilising well-developed technology, it also has shown the most potential for large-scale implementation.
Read the full paper in eScholarship, a digital repository which stores and showcases the publications and theses of McGill University faculty and students.
If you missed the announcement of the first winner of the award, you can find it here.
At Schulich Library we ♥ science and we have created an amazing lineup of events to share our love of science with you. This year we are participating in Science Literacy Week and it is only one week away: September 21st – 27th.
I invite you to visit our guide to Science Literacy Week @ McGill, where you will find info on exhibits and events organized by the Library and the Redpath Museum.
There are so many events scheduled that I will let the list speak for itself:
I could not be more excited to be a member of the CCOM 206: Communication in Engineering Writing Recognition Committee, alongside some of the fantastic course lecturers. One of the assignments in CCOM 206 is to write a research paper and the committee had the difficult task of awarding the best paper to one student in the fall term. There were 337 students enrolled in the course and 12 papers were shortlisted for the award by instructors. We carefully considered the originality and practicality of the research question and proposed solutions in each paper, along with the depth of research and academic sources referenced, argument coherency and consistency, and overall clarity and quality of the writing.
The best paper among all those excellent research papers chosen for consideration is “Recycling Carbon Fibre Reinforced Composites: A Market and Environmental Assessment” by Maxime Lauzé.
McGill Library is hosting the winning paper in eScholarship, a digital repository which stores and showcases the publications and theses of McGill University faculty and students. Maxime will also receive a formal certificate from the McGill Writing Centre and a $50 gift certificate for the McGill Bookstore.
Here is the abstract of the winning paper:
Both environmental and economic factors have driven the development of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) waste recycling processes. This paper will present the causes of increased use of carbon fibre composites as well as the consequences of such growth. As well, the advantages and disadvantages of three current recycling technologies available are discussed, focusing on fibre quality, commercial flexibility, and environmental impact. Chemical recycling produces best quality fibre with negative environmental impact while mechanical recycling produces bad quality fibre with good environmental impact. As a result, this paper argues that the best recycling method available today is a thermal process called conventional pyrolysis, because it produces good quality recyclate while being very energy efficient, tolerant to contamination and therefore also the best commercial candidate.
On behalf of the Writing Recognition Committee, congratulations to all those who were shortlisted for the award!
The first edition of the list of 382 Highly Cited Researchers (h>100) according to Google Scholar Citations includes two McGill scientists: Alan Evans has an h-index of 152, putting him at #34 in the list, and Andreas Warburton is #99 with an h-index of 128. Alan Evans is no stranger to citation fame, as he was also included in the 2014 Highly Cited Researchers list from Thomson Reuters, along with Chemistry professor, Chao-Jun Li (read more on this from McGill News and Events).
The h-index marks the place where the number of citations a researcher receives meets the number of papers they have published (see the graph below). Read more about the h-index from Hirsch’s article in arXiv.
You can create your own citations page in Google Scholar by looking for the “My Citations” option.
Image is in the public domain.
Despite a risk of severe thunderstorms (very fitting for the evening’s theme!), about 50 participants braved their way to Schulich Library of Science and Engineering on Tuesday night for “Natural Disasters – Live from the MOOC’s Epicentre!” to hear all about Montreal-area natural disasters. A big thanks to everyone who joined us, and an even bigger thanks to Professors John Stix and John Gyakum for presenting loads of information on different types of natural disasters and their likelihood of taking place in Montreal. Their presentation was delivered in a conversational, fact-filled and thought-provoking style that inspired the audience.
So what natural disasters could happen here? Earthquakes, ice storms (of course!), and even hurricanes are all possibilities. Even though Professor Stix confirmed that Mount Royal isn’t a volcano, he did recount a dream he once had that Mount Royal erupted and lava came flowing down the middle of campus! (This just goes to show you the kind of things geologists dream about!) The professors also talked about increased risk of natural disasters due to human activities (such as the increased chances of extreme weather events due to rising CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and the increased likelihood of earthquakes from fracking to obtain natural gas). Professor Gyakum showed a video that gives the analogy of steroid use by baseball players to explain how climate change works (available here). He also explained that increased water vapor in the atmosphere caused by increased CO2 emissions ups the chances of more extreme weather, such as ice storms in Montreal. We are, after all, in one of North America’s freezing rain capitals. So make sure to keep those candles and bottled water handy this winter!
Their talk generated a lot of questions such as: Is there a risk of Yellowstone erupting anytime soon? Professor Stix says it is a very active geologic area, which may explain this recent news story . However, he also said “I don’t lose sleep over it.” Another participant asked: Generally, how prepared are Montreal’s buildings for an earthquake? Members of the audience concluded that we are not so prepared, especially considering the number of old buildings we have here.
In case you missed the event, you can always come check out the Natural Disasters display with information, photos and specimens related to ice storms, volcanoes and earthquakes. It is located on the main floor of the Schulich Library and will be up until, at least, the end of summer.
Finally, a special thank you to Teaching and Learning Services and Ingrid Birker from the Redpath Museum’s Science Outreach and Public Program for helping to make the evening a success.