By tackling the challenges that our society faces, researchers at Western Science often publish papers highlighting new discoveries, receive awards for outstanding and novel science, and produce patents that transform discovery to application. Featured below are the most recent announcements from different research groups at Western Science regarding publications, awards, and patents. Explore the accomplishments of Western Science and be sure to come back to see the new and exciting projects that being are undertaken at Western Science.

Featured Highlights

2018 Fallona Family Research Showcase

Join us for a celebration of outstanding interdisciplinary research. The 2018 Fallona Family Research Showcase is your opportunity to re-engage with the research community at Western University. By highlighting recent research achievements, this event allows you to explore potential new collaborations with research colleagues across Science and Engineering and beyond the campus gates with industry, government and alumni guests.

The showcase will be held on Thursday, April 12th, 2018 from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm in the atrium of the Physics and Astronomy Building. A detailed agenda can be found here.

This year, Dr. Raquel Urtasun, Head of Uber ATG Toronto, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision at the University of Toronto will be our keynote speaker and recipient of the Fallona Family Research Award. A full biography is available below.

Poster presentations on the cutting-edge interdisciplinary research being conducted by the Faculties of Science and Engineering will be presented throughout the day.

The poster presentation registration deadline is April 5, 2018. Prizes will be presented to the top three posters.

A select group of students will also be invited to deliver a five-minute oral presentation during the main speaking portion of the event. If you would like to be considered for this opportunity, please be sure to complete and submit the registration form no later than March 30. You will be contacted during the first week of April if you are chosen to deliver an oral presentation.


Dr. Raquel Urtasun

Images of Dr. Raquel Urtasun and autonomous vechiles

Images of Dr. Raquel Urtasun and autonomous vehicles.

Raquel Urtasun is the Head of Uber ATG Toronto. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, a Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision and a co-founder of the Vector Institute for AI. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC), an academic computer science institute affiliated with the University of Chicago. She was also a visiting professor at ETH Zurich during the spring semester of 2010. She received her Bachelors degree from Universidad Publica de Navarra in 2000, her Ph.D. degree from the Computer Science department at Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2006 and did her postdoc at MIT and UC Berkeley. She is a world leading expert in machine perception for self-driving cars. Her research interests include machine learning, computer vision, robotics and remote sensing. Her lab was selected as an NVIDIA NVAIL lab. She is a recipient of an NSERC EWR Steacie Award, an NVIDIA Pioneers of AI Award, a Ministry of Education and Innovation Early Researcher Award, three Google Faculty Research Awards, an Amazon Faculty Research Award, a Connaught New Researcher Award and two Best Paper Runner up Prize awarded at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) in 2013 and 2017 respectively. She is also an Editor of the International Journal in Computer Vision (IJCV) and has served as Area Chair of multiple machine learning and vision conferences (i.e., NIPS, UAI, ICML, ICLR, CVPR, ECCV).

2018 C. Gordon Winder Memorial SCUGOG Public Lecture

Join us for the 2018 C. Gordon Winder Memorial SCUGOG Public Lecture given by Dr. Natalya Gomez.

Dr. Gomez is the Canada Research Chair in ice sheet - sea-level interactions at McGill University and will be giving a talk on Ice, Sea Level, and the Solid Earth. An abstract and Dr. Gomez's biography can be found below.

The talk will be Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 7:00 pm in Middlesex College, room 110. A reception will follow.

Ice, Sea Level, and the Solid Earth

Sea-level rise is projected to displace communities around the world in the coming centuries, and the melting of the polar ice sheets is expected to make a significant contribution to the rising water levels. In particular, recent research suggests that unstable, runaway retreat may already be underway in certain sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. A critical task of climate change research is to understand the response of present-day ice reservoirs to climate warming and estimate their contribution to future sea-level rise. In this talk, I will discuss the stability and evolution of the polar ice sheets, the physics of the associated sea-level changes, and the role that the solid Earth plays in these changes.

Natalya Gomez's Biography

Natalya Gomez is an assistant professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at McGill University and a Canada Research Chair in the Geodynamics of Ice Sheet - Sea Level interactions. She works at the intersection between two rapidly progressing areas of research: Solid earth geophysics and climate science. Her research centers around modeling the interactions between ice sheets, sea level and the solid Earth and understanding how these earth systems evolve in response to past, present and future climate changes in regions such as Antarctica, Greenland, North America and the Arctic. A highlight of her work has been to identify and quantify a previously neglected feedback between sea level changes and ice sheet dynamics. Her approach to modeling this sea level feedback has been adopted by groups around the world to study a wide range of problems in paleo, modern and future climate change. She has recently applied the approach to demonstrate the potential importance of local sea level changes and variations in Earth structure on ice-sheet evolution and the interpretation of geologic and geodetic records in Antarctica. She is also interested in the implications of climate change for coastal communities and environments in the Canadian Arctic.

3MT - Three Minute Thesis Competition

Imagine having to explain the entire breadth and significance of your thesis in 1 slide and 3 minutes. The 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition asks you to do just that to a non-specialist audience. This fun and challenging academic competition gives Western Science graduate students the opportunity to improve their communication skills while potentially winning a first place prize of $1000. 

The 3MT Competition was originally developed by The University of Queensland, Australia, but since then, it has become a truly international phenomenon with global competitions held each year. The exercise develops the ability to effectively communicate complex research using open language, allowing you to explain the significance of your research to your peers and the wider community.

The qualifying heat for Western Science is Tuesday, February 13, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Physics & Astronomy Building, Room 100. The winner from the heat will go on to compete at Western's 2018 3MT Final and will have the opportunity to win the $1000. You must register before Tuesday, February 6, 2018, to compete.

Western Science wants to see science graduate students come out on top! We have organized two, free workshops: Secrets of Professional Storytelling (Monday, January 22, 2018) and Voice Dynamic & Body Language (Tuesday, February 6, 2018) to help you prepare and maximize your potential for success. Interested participates must register for each workshop before January 18.

We encourage you all to participate and the best of luck in the competition!

Discovery circumstances of the first interstellar asteroid

Join us on Friday, December 8th, 2017 at 1:30 pm in Physics & Astronomy Seminar Room 100 to uncover the circumstances that led to the discovery of the first interstellar asteroid. Dr. Robert Weryk from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, a Western Science alumnus, will be talking about his role and the science that led to the identification of this interstellar object. The full abstract of the talk can be found below:

For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. Our team from the Pan-STARRS observatory – being the first to detect the interstellar visitor – has chosen the name 'Oumuamua’ for our discovery. The name is of Hawaiian origin and means a messenger from afar arriving first. I will discuss the results that appeared in Nature on 20 November 2017.

Science TD Gift Announcement Event

This announcement will recognize and honour the TD Bank Group for its generous support of the Data Analytics Program.

The event will be held on Monday, November 20, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. in the Physics & Astronomy Atrium.
All are welcome.

Open Education Day

The Science Students' Council invites you to Western’s Open Education Day on Friday November 17th. Four exciting and dynamic events have been planned by campus and provincial stakeholders throughout the day to speak on innovative teaching/learning practices for faculty and students. The agenda for the day can be found below.

An Engaging Keynote
9:00am – 11:00am 
“Serving social justice and pedagogical innovation with open educational practices”
Rajiv Jhangiani, Teaching Fellow in Open Studies, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

A Special eLearning Lunch and Learn
“Open Ontario: an eCampusOntario Lunch and Learn”
eCampusOntario will highlight Ontario's Open Textbook Library, Publishing Infrastructure, and the #OERangers. Lunch provided!

An Interactive Workshop
“Finding and Evaluating Open Educational Resources”
Join Western Libraries for a hands-on session on finding and evaluating OER

The Student Perspective
“The Student Impact of Open Educational Resources”
Western's Science Students’ Council, University Students’ Council, and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance join forces to demonstrate the various ways that OERs can have a positive impact on students.

Register Today:

Howard Alper Talks Canadian Innovation and Science for Western's International Week

International Week celebrates diversity at Western by engaging students, faculty and staff in discussion and debate about international issues while fostering international education, cross-cultural skills, and cultural traditions.

This year, Western Science is happy to host Dr Howard Alper, a distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa, who will be talking about Canada's science policy and its implication for future economic development.

In addition to his research on organic and inorganic chemistry, Dr Alper has served on a number of NSERC committees and councils advising the cabinet and the prime minister on science, technology and innovation issues. He is currently the chair for Canvassing Committee to Enhance Global Recognition for Canadian Research Excellence.

More details regarding Alper's talk can be found below and on the International Week website.

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development—Policy Advice and Benchmarking to Shape the Future of a Nation

Monday, November 13, 2017, at 3:30 pm in PAB 100

Science advice to decision makers can help shape the future of a nation. How the advice role/responsibility is structured, including opportunities, constraints, as well as outputs/impacts will be considered, using personal experiences for illustrative purposes. Benchmarking on a global basis is essential to maximizing prospects for success, as a country needs to determine its assets and deficiencies and make choices.