Global News: Western University researchers develop breakthrough short-term tornado forecasting
November 27, 2017After collecting 16 years’ worth of data, two researchers with Western University ties have developed a system to forecast tornadoes with 90 per cent accuracy within a 100km radius. Tornado Identification and Forewarning with VHF Windprofiler Radars is the result of data compiled through 10 radar arrays stationed in Ontario and Quebec, including one just north of London. Western University professor Wayne Hocking and Western alumna Anne Hocking, PhD, compiled 16 years of tornado data and correlated that with real-time and archived data. Wayne Hocking told 980 CFPL that in contrast to tornado-chasers, they wait for tornadoes to come to them. “We’ve had to be very patient, we obviously can’t catch all of them but over the last 16 years we’ve caught 34 tornadoes which we’ve been able to analyze.” The data found that a combination of three factors were recorded in the majority of the tornadoes: specific profiles of cloud overshoot into the stratosphere, wind velocity, and turbulence. While they still can’t pinpoint exactly where and when a tornado will hit, the tornado-prediction method could buy as much as 20 minutes more warning time. Read the full article here.
CBC: Canadian researcher joins NASA hunt for meteorites in Antarctica
November 27, 2017An Ontario physicist is embarking on a NASA-funded expedition to Antarctica to collect meteorites, in hopes that the fallen space rocks will give researchers new insight into the outer reaches of the solar system. Scott VanBommel, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph, is joining the annual Antarctic Search for Meteorites for a six-week excursion to the Transantarctic Mountains, about 350 km from the South Pole. It will mean sleeping in a two-person tent in one of the least hospitable environments on Earth, but VanBommel said it's a chance to give back to the scientific community. "I'm just really happy to go and be a part of this important work," the 30-year-old said hours before his Friday departure. "We can learn a lot by studying these fragments of space rocks that potentially are in their native form, from when the solar system formed. They provide us little windows into the past, to study and potentially learn more." Read full article here.
CTV News: PhD student makes groundbreaking discovery that may prevent spread of cancer
November 22, 2017A PhD student in Ontario has made a groundbreaking discovery that may have the potential to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Caitlin Miron, a PhD student in the chemistry department at Queen’s University, has identified a chemical compound that may be able to “switch off” cancer cells in order to stop them from spreading. Studying at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in Bordeaux, France, Miron was able to use advanced screening technology to examine a number of compounds from the Petitjean lab at Queen’s University. During her internship, she was able to discover one compound that binds well to four-stranded DNA structure, or guanine quadruplex, which has been linked to the development of cancer and other diseases. Read the full article here.
Office of the Premier: Ontario Names Molly Shoichet the Province’s First Chief Scientist
November 17, 2017Ontario has appointed Molly Shoichet to advance science and innovation in the province -- and to make government smarter and more effective by providing decision-makers with the world's best scientific research and evidence. The Chief Scientist will advise Premier Kathleen Wynne directly on key scientific matters, demonstrating Ontario's ongoing commitment to grow our economy by investing in scientific research and promoting our world-class science both at home and to international audiences. Shoichet, a professor at the University of Toronto and a member of the Order of Ontario, will report to Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. Read the full article here.
The Hamilton Spectator: McMaster students win international prize for cancer-detecting devices
November 16, 2017A group of four McMaster University students has won a $50,000 prize to develop their idea for a hand-held device that detects skin cancer. The recent grads — all students in electrical biomedical engineering at the Hamilton university — earned the International James Dyson Award for their final-year project, called The sKan. They say the non-invasive device can diagnose melanoma by monitoring the heat emissions of various cells. The heat map it creates shows which cells recover more quickly from thermal shock, indicating the presence of skin cancer. Its creators are 22-year-old Rotimi Fadiya, and 23-year-olds Prateek Mathur, Michael Takla and Shivad Bhavsar. Read the full article here.
The Globe and Mail: Why don’t women go into engineering? It’s not just because of bias
November 15, 2017
What kind of program is more likely to lead to an increase of women graduating with engineering degrees: A college or university scholarship for promising high-school students, unconscious bias training for human resource managers or an intensive math and science education program for girls in elementary school?
New research shows that if governments have to choose, focusing their efforts on early learning interventions will have the most impact. A scholarship would come too late for the thousands of women who close the path to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as children. And addressing bias and hiring more women into those fields will help, too, primarily by providing more models of success for younger generations.Read the full article here.