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Connect Issue 4, 2015



$1.1 million bequest increases support for UBC geology students

A $1.1 million estate gift by geologist Wilbert R. “Ted" Danner will increase support for geology students at UBC this fall.

Danner, who taught at UBC since 1954 and passed away in 2012, bequeathed $320,000 for the Beer-Pop Can-Bottle Deposit Refund Award. The award was originally funded using the proceeds from the return of recyclable containers Danner collected around campus. Danner also provided $320,000 for the newly established Ted Danner Memorial Entrance Bursary in Geology and donated his mineral collection, worth $500,000, to UBC.

Help us rebuild UBC’s historic geological field school

UBC’s field school in Oliver, BC, has been a cornerstone of geology education at UBC since the 1950’s—and it’s time to write a new chapter in the school’s history. “We’ve had good use of the existing facilities,” says Ken Hickey, who runs the facility. “But we really don’t have enough space for everyone to sleep, we barely have enough space for everyone to eat, and we don’t have enough permanent space to teach.” 

Watch a video about the field school | Donate to the FS revitalization project today


Taking the 'neglect' out of neglected global diseases

Diseases like Chagas and Ebola affect a large number of people in poor countries, yet receive few resources, and often, little attention. Biologist Donald Moerman and chemist Jennifer Love are part of the Neglected Global Disease Initiative at UBC, which is working to bring these illnesses into sharper focus.

“More people suffer from nematode infections than people suffer from heart disease in North America,” says Moerman. “At a global level, a lot of time we think diseases like cancer are the most serious problem we face. But it isn’t the entire picture.”

Read full story | View video | View gallery


EOAS annual report now online

The latest Earth Matters annual report is online. It highlights EOAS research and activities, profiles new faculty members, and publications and awards. It also looks great.



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Celebrate UBC's Centennial
September 30
Help us recreate the iconic UBC photo taken at the end of the Great Trek in 1922 in the shape of the UBC100 logo. Plus music, food trucks and more.

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Wharton Lecture, Botanical Garden
October 2
Biologist Meg Lowman, known as “The Queen of Canopies,” will deliver a lecture on forest canopies and ecosystems.

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Earth’s Astonishing Climate History
November 7
Geologist Paul Hoffman on the connection between snowball Earth and the biodiversity of our current world.


Metal-eating microbes in African lake could solve mystery of Earth’s iron deposits

An isolated, iron-rich bay in East Africa is offering scientists a rare glimpse back into the Earth’s primitive marine environment, and supports theories that some of the world’s largest ore deposits were created by tiny microbes billions of years ago.

“The bay is giving us real-world insight into the structure and functioning of ancient microbial communities—communities that may have supported early life and sustained carbon-cycling prior to the proliferation of oxygen producing life forms,” says UBC geo-microbiologist Sean Crowe, senior author of the study.


UBC researcher helps develop astronomy in West Africa

UBC astronomer Linda Strubbe was busy this summer helping organize the second West African International Summer School of Young Astronomers. The program, held in Nsukka in South-East Nigeria, supports 50 university students.

The summer school began in 2013 and is the brainchild of Nigerian astronomer Bonaventure Okere. Okere met Strubbe at a conference in 2012 and talked about his ideas for developing astronomy in West Africa. Strubbe jumped at the opportunity to work with him to create the international summer school.


Send us your old photos and be #retroUBCscience

UBC Science needs your old snapshots. We are looking for photos that showcase the personal, unique and funny side of our history, from 1915 up to 2000.


Changing waters

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Climate change is forcing fish out of their current habitats and into cooler waters, UBC researchers say.

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The findings are part of the Ocean 2015 Initiative examining the latest data on climate change.

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The study is intended to inform discussions at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.



A $66.5-million investment from the Government of Canada—the largest government investment in a single UBC research program—will support quantum matter research.

Renowned quantum physicist Jennifer Hoffman has joined UBC’s Physics and Astronomy department as a Canada Excellence Research Chair.

UBC computer scientist Anne Condon and a team of 28 faculty, alumni, staff and students ran the Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5K run, raising $11,286 to fund programs aimed at increasing diversity and gender balance in computer science.

UBC researchers exploring forest genomics, fish conservation, ocean particle fluxes and software development where elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

Climate scientist recognized by UBC

Gordon McBean (BSc’64, PhD’70), an internationally recognized climate scientist who shared the 2007 Nobel Prize, will receive a UBC Alumni Award of Distinction in October. McBean is president of the International Council for Science, and played a key role in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with IPCC colleagues, including Al Gore.

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


Asteroid bombardments might have made Earth habitable

Earth's first crust — rich in radioactive heat-producing elements such as uranium and potassium — was torn from the planet when asteroids bombarded it early in its history. The finding by UBC and University of California researchers could explain why our planet didn't end up like present-day Venus.


Botanists conduct first large-scale genetic study of marijuana, hemp

The first large-scale genetic study of marijuana and hemp, co-authored by UBC botanist Jonathan Page, is providing a clearer picture of the genetic organization of cannabis.

“The genetic difference between marijuana and hemp has legal implications in many countries,” says Page. “Right now, the genetic identity of a marijuana strain can’t be accurately determined by its name or reported ancestry.”


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