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Faculty of Science

News and Events for
UBC Science Alumni | Issue 4, 2017

CSI, for the birds

Meet UBC curator Ildiko Szabo, Canada’s only certified avian forensic morphologist. She helps identify birds killed in aircraft strikes, a mystery that often begins with Szabo receiving a package of ‘snarge’ in the mail.

View video | Read story | See pictures

Examining clothing artifacts with feathers can be tricky. These are  South American headdresses that UBC avian expert Ildiko Szabo analyzed for a MOA exhibit. View more photos in our gallery.


Algorithm teaches motor skills

Computer characters and robots could learn complex motor skills through trial and error, thanks to a machine learning algorithm developed at UBC. Using DeepLoco, characters can navigate through a narrow zigzagging path and even dribble a soccer ball.

VP research and innovation named

Gail Murphy, a leading expert in software engineering and chief scientist at Vancouver’s Tasktop Technologies, has been appointed UBC’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation. Murphy helped found the Cascadia Urban Analytics Consortium—a joint initiative with the University of Washington.


Beautiful Brain

Discover the connections between art and neuroscience through the drawings of pathologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Until December 3

Life in Colour

A new Beaty Biodiversity Museum exhibit takes a page out of coloring books, exploring nature via illustration.

Opens September 21

Apple Festival 2017

UBC’s Apple Festival celebrates 26 years. Taste rare and unusual varieties of apples. Admission $5 for adults, children free.

October 14-15

UBC’s vast genetic library

Pressed plants and flowers may sound quaint, but the UBC Herbarium’s DNA collection may be more important than ever. “It gives you a window into the past and answers to our future,” says curator Linda Jennings. A talk on botanical insecticides takes place in Victoria September 28.

From physics to filmmaking

A love of history drove physicist Alejandro Yoshizawa (BSc’09) to try his hand at documentary filmmaking, often about underrepresented communities. Now he wants to make a film about physicist and UBC alumnus Shuichi Kusaka, who worked with Oppenheimer. His latest film premieres on CBC September 30.


Astrophysicist Gary Hinshaw and chemist Laurel Schafer have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

Fisheries expert Kai Chan and computer scientist Joanna McGrenere have been inducted into the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Sara Harris—a 2015 3M National Teaching Fellow and professor of teaching at UBC—has been appointed UBC Science’s Associate Dean Academic.

UBC Science researchers have been awarded more than $16 million in NSERC Discovery Grant funding.

Program turns 3D objects into sketches

UBC computer scientist Alla Sheffer has developed software that can discern the shape of a three-dimensional object and turn it into a two-dimensional sketch. The sketches are comparable to those produced by professional designers.

Canada’s newest radio telescope

Canada’s largest radio astronomy telescope, known as CHIME, is ready to start mapping space. CHIME—a collaboration among 50 Canadian scientists, including researchers from UBC—will study dark energy, fast radio bursts and radio pulsars.

Computer scientists help auction airwaves

Phone carriers acquired spare TV airwaves in a $19-billion auction designed by computer scientists and economists at UBC and Stanford. Prices weren’t set by high bidders, but by how low broadcasters were willing to go to turn over their airwaves.

Statistician enjoys ‘extreme’ scenarios

UBC’s Natalia Nolde predicts and assess extreme events, helping to improve everything from dyke design to financial models. Since extreme events don’t occur in isolation—dyke failure could involve sea levels and wind patterns—the research involves complex variables.

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