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Faculty of Science

News and Events for
UBC Science Alumni | Issue 5, 2016

No more abracadabra

UBC’s first computational thinking course is showing students that it doesn’t take a coding wizard to understand and use technology. Even though we may think young people are ‘auto-magically’ savvy in all things digital, professor Rachel Pottinger explains why the class is necessary.

Panel: How do we grow BC’s data science IQ?
Panel: How do we grow BC’s data science IQ?

Join representatives from Boeing, Microsoft, Visier and Vancouver Coastal Health to celebrate the launch of UBC’s Master of Data Science program this November 30. The panel discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities for careers in data science.

Simple test could detect early cancer

The BC Cancer Agency will use UBC cancer detecting technology in a pilot study to determine if a blood test can pinpoint early signs of cancer. The technology can detect 96 common mutations found in eight cancer types, and could improve treatment


Humanitarian Free and Open Software

Heidi Ellis explains how FOSS projects create software systems that benefit communities, such as apps for use during natural disasters.
December 1

Annual Faraday Science Show

Bring the family to a fun-filled science lecture. Remember to drop off a non-perishable item for the Vancouver Food Bank!
December 11

Night at the UBC Museum

Can’t visit the Beaty Biodiversity Museum during the daytime? Stop by for a family-friendly evening.
December 15

Siri, play ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’

Computer scientist Joanna McGrenere discusses how the field of human-computer interaction has changed as new devices are adopted by a wider range of people, including much older and younger users.

Drones offer glimpse into habits of whales

UBC researchers used drones to capture rare high-quality images of bowhead whales during their summer feeding period in Nunavut. The drones allow researchers to observe the whales in their natural habitat without disturbing them, and provide insights into their feeding and social activities.

  • Microbiologist Robert Hancock, biologist Sally Otto, fisheries expert Daniel Pauly and botanist Loren Rieseberg have been named University Killam Professors.
  • Maclean’s 2017 university rankings placed UBC Science first in environmental science and biology, and runner up in math and computer science in Canada.
  • UBC Computer Science ranks in the top four programs worldwide for computer graphics.
  • UBC computer science undergrads won first place at the ACM Pacific Northwest Regional Programming Competition. They’ll advance to the 2017 ACM world finals.
Love of tech and life sciences earns grad Microsoft award

Lisa Wong (BSc 2013) initially studied the life sciences at UBC, then added a second degree in computer science to combine her interests in health and technology. The combination paid off. Wong won the 2016 Microsoft Student Partner of the Year award this summer. She likes attending meetups and hackathons, and wants to inspire more girls to consider a career in computer science.

Alumni Pub Night

Alumni gathered for the first UBC Computer Science Alumni Pub Night this November. Didn’t make it? Check out our photo gallery and see what you missed.


Alumni Field Notes
  • Welcome to the UBC Science alumni community! Kudos to all Fall 2016 Science graduates.
  • Four UBC Science alumni made this year’s Business in Vancouver 40 Under 40. Congratulations to Ric Leong (BSc 2000), Kim Lucas (BSc 1999), Anne Stevens (BSc 2006) and David G Wong (BSc 2001).
  • Kudos to Colin Levings (BSc 1965, MSc Zoology 1967) for the release of his latest book Ecology of Salmonids in Estuaries Around the World.

Do you have fun and exciting news? Write us a note and we’ll share it on our website.

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UBC Faculty of Science, Office of the Dean, Earth Sciences Building 2178-2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4