This Week in Canadian Science 2018-05-20

 Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Minister Duncan thanks science leaders for sharing their love of science with young Canadians

OTTAWAMay 18, 2018 /CNW/ – When we ignite a passion for science in young minds, we encourage their imaginations to take over. The results can be remarkable: new inventions, incredible concepts and novel innovations that put today’s youth on a path to become the entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, architects and researchers of tomorrow.

Today, in support of nurturing this kind of passion, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, celebrated the three winners of this year’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Awards for Science Promotion. The awards honour individuals and groups who make outstanding contributions to the promotion of science in Canada through activities that encourage kids and young adults to take an interest in science.

Minister Duncan made the announcement while visiting the Canada-Wide Science Fair at Carleton University, where she met with young scientists exhibiting their science fair projects. She also toured the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Expo which shines a spotlight on the people who make up Canada’s science outreach community; those who open young people’s minds to polar research, robotics, radio communications and more.”

Source: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/celebrating-canadians-who-inspire-our-youth-to-choose-science-683036021.html.

OTTAWAMay 16, 2018 /CNW/ – Canada’s scientists are making discoveries that lead to new opportunities, a stronger economy and a growing middle class. To keep up Canada’s competitive edge, however, our researchers must have access to the most sophisticated tools and laboratories to help them break new ground in areas such as climate change, clean energy, ocean research and artificial intelligence. The Government of Canada, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), helps universities do just that.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, today announced support of $705,605 for two projects at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Dr. François-Michel Boisvert and his team will use the CFI funding to purchase sophisticated research equipment that will help expand their biomarker research. Some protein biomarkers can save lives by indicating cancer or other diseases in patients. Dr. Boisvert’s research could lead to better and earlier detection and treatment. Minister Bibeau had the opportunity to tour the lab with Dr. Boisvert and witness his team’s incredible work first-hand.”

Source: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/putting-the-best-research-tools-in-the-hands-of-canadas-scientists—more-than-705000-for-state-of-the-art-research-equipment-at-the-universite-de-sherbrooke-682820681.html.

“The creative minds behind animated films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo aren’t just actors and storytellers — they’re technical virtuosos.

A new exhibit opening Saturday at Science World British Columbia peels back the curtain on the science of Pixar Animation studio.

The 13,000-square-foot space guide viewers guides visitors through the technological, engineering and mathematical feats it takes to pull off beloved films such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

“Many of the jobs that are really talked about in this exhibit are technical artists,” said Elyse Klaidman, Pixar’s director of archives and exhibition.

“There are a lot of skills, like science, math and specifically algebra, physics and chemistry, that people have no idea are essential to the process.””

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/science-of-pixar-1.4670868.

Alan Bernstein is president and CEO of CIFAR, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Not a month goes by without another report about Canada’s lagging track record in innovation. The most recent report from the Council of Canadian Academies was typical, detailing how business-led research and development is low and declining. Our dismal track record matters. Canada’s economic well being and the fiscal room to maintain the social programs that we value, look after an aging population, and add new programs such as a national pharmacare program, will be very challenging unless we increase our productivity. That will require private sector investment in innovation, risk taking and entrepreneurship.

At the same time, not a day goes by without another story about Canada’s success in artificial intelligence (AI), or a visit by a foreign delegation eager to understand the reasons behind our success. Canada is an acknowledged world leader in AI and we are attracting significant domestic and international investment. If we want to know how to increase business-led investments in research and innovation and improve our productivity and competitiveness, one place we could start is to understand the underlying reasons behind our AI success.

What are those lessons? Canada’s global excellence in AI didn’t just happen. It started with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s (CIFAR) support of AI research, going back to the 1980s. That support was key in attracting, retaining and training AI talent. Geoffrey Hinton, universally regarded as the godfather of AI, came to the University of Toronto from the United States because he knew about Canada and U of T through his CIFAR connections. Dr. Hinton became a magnet for exceptionally bright students such as Yoshua Bengio (University of Montreal), now the acknowledged leader of the vibrant AI community in Montreal.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-to-increase-canadian-innovation-take-a-lesson-from-our-ai-successes/.

Federal auction policies are focused on creating better wireless service and value for the middle class

OTTAWAMay 18, 2018 /CNW/ – Canadians are demanding world-class high-speed mobile broadband to engage in social media, participate in the digital economy and access other important online services. That is why the Government of Canada is continually looking at how to best allocate wireless spectrum. Spectrum is the airwaves on which wireless connectivity is provided. Making good spectrum decisions helps pave the way for stronger competition, high-quality networks and lower prices for Canadians.

Today, the Government of Canada announced the results for the 2018 spectrum auction. Approximately 94 percent of the allocated spectrum licences went to regional providers and small companies, which will allow them to offer higher quality services to Canadians. In total, six providers obtained spectrum: Ecotel, Cogeco, Xplornet, Iris, Freedom and TELUS. This is further evidence of continuing support for a competitive wireless market, leading to better quality services and lower prices for Canadians.

The Government will continue to support competition and investment in telecommunications so that Canadians continue to benefit from next-generation technologies and that Canada remains at the forefront of innovation.”

Source: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-takes-steps-to-improve-competition-and-quality-of-wireless-services-683073491.html.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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