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UBC Publications

UBC Reports Apr 21, 1988

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Volume 34 Number 8, April 21,1988
Photo by Warren Schmidt
Students pack the UBC Armoury for the annual spring rite—writing their final exams
Cecil Green to unveil
bust during April visit
by Gavin Wilson
Cecil Green, one of UBC's greatest benefactors and a philanthropist of international stature,
arrives on campus Monday, April 25, for a week-
long visit.
While he is here Dr.
Green, 87, will unveil a
bronze bust of his late
wife Ida, his partner of 60
Cecil and Ida Green's
worldwide philanthropy
and dedication to science,
industry, education and
medicine earned them
many honors through the        CECIL GREEN
Their names grace dozens of buildings,
fellowships, reading rooms, parks, colleges,
professorships, lecture series and research
facilities from here to Dallas, Tex., their home
since 1930.
British-born Dr. Green grew up in Vancouver
and enroled in UBC in 1918. At the urging of a
professor who recognized his brilliance, he soon
moved to the Massachusetts Institute of
He went on to become a co-founder of Texas
Instruments, the Dallas-based electronics firm.
During his stay at UBC, Dr. Green will visit
the geophysics department, review renovation
plans for Cecil Green Park House, tour the
TRIUMF facility and attend two major dinners in
his honor — one given by Premier Bill Vander
Zalm and the other by the city of Vancouver and
Science World.
Public poll supports
Endowment Lands plan
by Debora Sweeney
In a recent public opinion poll, more than 80
per cent favored UBC's proposal to develop up to
20 per cent of the Endowment Lands.
Public support for the plan was consistent
across all regions and segments of the population, according to the survey done by Decima
Research in December, 1987.
However, the approximately 100 speakers
who attended a recent forum on the issue
opposed the plan, despite expressions of
sympathy for the university's financial plight.
While opposing UBC's bid to develop 287
acres for residential housing, several speakers
said the university should not be insulted by
being forced to "beg and scrounge" for money.
John Jansen, a Chilliwack MLA appointed to
review options for the UEL and come up with
recommendations for the provincial cabinet,
chaired the public forum.
Jansen said his work involves pouring
through a two-foot-high stack of reports,
correspondence and other information submitted
during the last 15 years. He expects to report
back to the cabinet in about two weeks.
In considering what to do with almost 1,800
acres of crown land, he is studying the possibility
of establishing an endowment fund for the
Several UBC faculty members and retired
professors who attended the forum told Jansen
the UEL should remain an undeveloped regional
The natural area of the University Endowment Land is an essential laboratory,'' said
Margaret North, a geography instructor for 26
years. North said the constraints of lab time
make it impossible for students to go on field trips
to other wilderness areas.
"People seem to think UBC is against the
concept of a park but that is not the case," said
UBC vice-president research, Peter Larkin. "The
university has a strong interest in using the
parkland for teaching and research."
Larkin added the university's proposal for the
UEL comes as a result of several years of
planning and consultation with the Greater
Vancouver Regional District.
Dr. Dan Overmyer, head of Asian Studies
and chairman of the Endowment Lands Regional
Park Committee, said housing and development
of the UEL would cut the forest in half. "I'm in
favour of more resourses for UBC, but not at the
expense of the forest," said Overmeyer.
On the 102nd birthday of Vancouver and the
100th birthday of Stanley Park, the best thing the
province could do would be to declare the UEL
as parkland, said Vancouver Mayor Gordon
"If the university wants funds, it should
continue to develop the land it already has," said
UBC's proposal for the UEL includes setting
aside 1,300 acres for parkland; 287 acres for the
university to generate income through a
residential development scheme; and 100 acres
for an expanded research park.
UBC waits for
news on budget
from Victoria
by Debora Sweeney
UBC administrators are anxiously awaiting word from Victoria on what the university can
expect from the provincial
budget, tabled in the Legislature
nearly a month ago.
The document says B.C. universities win receive operating
grants of $332-million this year,
an Increase of five per cent,
However, tt does not say how the
money will be distributed to UBC,
SFU and U-Vic.
A* well, the budget outlines
additional funding of $t9-milllon
for ui?rversities, colleges aiKl
Institutes, but does not specify
"We're hoping to find out as
soon as possible," said Bruce
Qettatty, vice-president, finance.
"We can't develop our final
budget until we know what's
going on and we're already Into
the new fiscal year."
The government has made it
clear there will be no money for
new initiatives in the Funds for
Excellence program. During the
last two years, funds have been
set aside for research in areas
specified by the provincial government, including biotechnology, robotics, computer and
forestry research.
While 11 research projects
initiated at UBC during that time
wW continue to be funded In
1988/89, the university will not
receive funding for new programs
Last year, the university did
not get detailed information from
provincial government officials
until the middle of June.
Class will investigate
medicine wheel enigma
by Gavin Wilson
They stand as silent testimony to a vanished
Medicine Wheels — the native Indian-built
Stonehenges of Canada — are scattered across
the prairies and found to a lesser extent on the
U.S. plains as far south as Arizona.
These ancient, sacred rock formations have
intrigued researchers for decades.
"I've always thought Medicine Wheels evoke
the same sense of human interaction with the
deep, dark past that the megaliths of Europe do,"
said Geophysics and Astronomy curator David
Vogt, who leads an investigation of the phenomenon by a continuing education class this June.
"It gives you a sense of a huge human
heritage, an ancient heritage tied to the land.
There's almost an aura that's tangible when you
go to a site like that."
Built with stones that range in size from
grapefruit to basketballs, the rim of a typical
wheel is about 10 metres across with spokes
radiating from a central cairn. Some cairns are as
tall as three metres and made with boulders
weighing up to a ton. Often there are outer cairns
as well as effigies of humans and animals.
"Some of the wheels were in relatively
continuous use for as long as 6,000 years. That
predates the pyramids and European megaliths
such as Stonehenge," said Vogt.
The people who built these enigmatic
structures disappeared from the face of the earth
long ago. Living in bands of 20-30 people they
wandered the prairies following the migrations of
vast herds of plains bison.
They lived like this for thousands of years,
until the horse was introduced to the native
peoples of the Great Plains of North America and
their culture vanished.
The builders died, but many of the Medicine
Wheels survived. Usually constructed on high
hilltops and plateaus, they lay undisturbed by
farmers' plows.
Vogt's class will drive across Alberta, visiting
some of the more spectacular sites where they
will learn about the myths and legends of the
Plains Indians.
This is not just a rubbernecking trip," Vogt
said. "Everybody's going to participate in
fundamental research."
It was commonly thought that the wheels
were built to honor the memory of chiefs or
important events. But in 1974 an astronomer,
noting that a spoke of one major wheel pointed to
the sunrise on summer solstice, proposed that
the wheels were celestial observatories.
Another theorist, the late Dr. Michael
Ovenden, a professor of geophysics and
astronomy at UBC, suggested the wheels were
geometric in origin after discovering that the
circles of the rims were imperfect, but uniform in
their imperfection.
Vogt believes aspects of these and other
theories are true, but that the wheels were
primarily ceremonial in nature.
Each spring or summer all the bands of a
tribe would gather at their Medicine Wheel. It was
a time to marry, to assert the status of chiefs and
shamans and perform rituals to guarantee good
The wheels may reflect their view of the
cosmos and the position of heavenly bodies at
this key time of the year. Societies through the
ages have always built their largest structures —
pyramids, temples, totem poles — in relation to
the cosmos, Vogt said.
"They saw form in the universe with the same
sense of order that we do, but not with the same
kind of technology. You really have to start
respecting what a given group of people, living
for 10,000 years undisturbed in a single environment, dreamt up to explain the universe."
Honorary degrees
The Tributes Committee is seeking nominations of outstanding candidates for honorary
degrees to be awarded in 1989.
Those making nominations or suggestions
will be asked to complete a short form giving
pertinent details about the candidate.
Nominations or requests for forms should be
mailed to:
Secretary, Tributes Committee
c/o Ceremonies Office, Room 210
Old Administration Building
UBC Campus AT:
,  ***** ,r.-^s '**
by Lorie Chortyk
Home Sweet Home may be hazardous
to your health, according to UBC psychologist Dr. Wolfgang Linden and doctoral
student James Frankish.
The researchers say the right choice of
spouse could be a secret to avoiding stress-
related illness.
"Communication in a good marriage
plays a key role in reducing stress," said
Linden and Frankish are looking for 120
volunteer couples to take part in a unique
study that measures stress levels in couples
during a communication exercise. The
study will show partners how their bodies
react to each other during discussions and
how accurately they're able to assess their
body's response.
"We'll measure each partner's reaction to
a standard low-level stress situation (solving
mental arithmetic questions) to see how they
respond individually to stress," explains
Frankish. "Then we'll measure their blood
pressure and heart rate while they're
discussing some aspect of their everyday
life that may cause friction, such as
household chores, in-laws or finances."
The researchers will study the interaction
between partners during the taped discussion, and couples will be asked to complete
questionnaires regarding their emotional
reactions to everyday situations. The study
will examine if there is a link between a
couple's physical responses, their level of
marital satisfaction and their susceptibility to
common illness.
"Most people have no idea how
interaction with their spouse affects them,"
said Frankish. "They may say that they're
relaxed during a discussion, but their
physiological responses are skyrocketing.
In other cases, a person will say they're
experiencing a lot of stress, but their
physical responses are quite low.
"It's important for them to be aware of
how they react to each other, because
marital dissatisfaction is a source of chronic,
low-level stress."
In addition to information about how they
communicate, couples will receive tips on
how to deal with stress through relaxation
"If couples need further help, we'll also
identify resources available to them," said
If you're interested in participating in the
study, contact Jim Frankish at 734-2979.
Participants should be between 30 and 60
years old, have been involved in a relationship for at least three years, and should not
be taking any blood pressure or heart
Reduce wind resistance
Director sought
The university is searching for a director of
physical planning and development, Vice-
President for Administration and Finance Bruce
Gellatly said.
The position will bring together planning and
development functions currently spread out
among the Facilities Planning Office, the Budget
Planning and Systems Management Office and
the Design and Construction Division of Physical
There's a real need to integrate these
functions. Right now I've got three separate
areas reporting to me on space and development," said Gellatly.
Gellatly said a new Department of Physical
Planning and Development will be established as
soon as a director is hired. He hopes to fill the
position by July 1.
"We're using the director's position in
Physical Plant, which is vacant, but we're
changing it to focus entirely on matters related to
space allocation, development and urban design
of the campus," said Gellatly.
Fire dept. open house
The University Endowment Lands fire
department, 2992 Wesbrook Mall, will hold its
annual open house May 7, from noon until 4 p.m.
Visitors are welcome to see B.C.'s newest and
most up-to-date fire truck, the Jaws of Life in
action, firemen rappelling from the top of the drill
tower, a simulated house fire and other demonstrations of skills and equipment.
2   UBC REPORTS April 21,1988
Truckers stand to save on fuel
by Jo Moss
If transport trucks were shaped more like
sleek Ferraris, the Canadian trucking industry
would save millions of dollars a year in fuel
With that in mind, UBC's Mechanical
Engineering Department is looking at way of
cutting down wind resistance.
Depending on speed, the average transport
truck uses between 40 to 60 per cent of its
engine power to overcome wind resistance.
"You don't have to be a mathematician to
figure out that if we can reduce wind resistance,
the industry would save enormous amounts of
money," said mechanical engineering professor
Vinod Modi.
"We wanted to find out if there was some
combination of geometry that could be applied to
the big trucks that would diminish wind resistance."
The most successful modification was the
addition of rotating cylinders to the front and back
of the cab and trailer. They proved to reduce
wind resistance by 16 per cent. Powered by tiny
electric motors, the cylinders run the width of the
truck and rotate at varying speeds depending on
how fast the truck is moving.
They performed much better than we had
expected," Modi said. "We're very excited about
the results."
Combining the addition of rotating cylinders
with modifications to body design can reduce
wind resistance by 28 per cent, he said.
Researchers investigated a number of other
design changes including the optimum distance
between the cab and the trailer and optimum
vehicle height. They tested the inclination of the
roof and back of the truck to see if changes in
body shape made a difference.
These changes reduced wind resistance by
about 12 per cent, a significant fact considering
that cab shields, touted by some truck drivers as
improving performance, were found to reduce
resistance by only one or two per cent," Modi
The benefits of add-on devices like
Photo by Warren Schmidt
Mechanical Engineering professor Vinod Modi studies a scale model which is helping him design an
aerodynamically efficient truck which could save the trucking industries millions of dollars.
deflectors and skirts proved marginal. They are
not particularly effective," he added.
Researchers used a scale model of a truck,
one twelfth size, to test design modifications in a
unique lab—an 80-foot wind tunnel located in the
department of Mechanical Engineering. Only two
such wind tunnels exist in Canada, and only
three in North America.
Preliminary tests will be finished by the end of
the summer and researchers will be looking for a
life-size truck to test the cylinders in a working
Trauma of sibling death studied
by Jo Moss
The woman who telephoned Nursing
professor Betty Davies had lost her sister and
brothers to diptheria when she was eight years
"All her life, she had wondered why it was
that she had survived, what was so special about
her," Davies recounted. "She felt because she
hadn't died too, that she should accomplish
something special in her life. When she was 55,
she realized she hadn't done that, and had a
The death of a sibling can affect a person's
life well into adulthood, Davies said. And
although a lot of research has been done on how
parents handle the death of a child, little has
been done on how it affects the surviving
The people I've talked to say the effect is
profound," she said. They say it changes their
outlook on life."
Davies runs community workshops to help
people who are grieving cope with their loss.
She is currently looking for eight more volunteers
to continue a study on bereavement. Volunteers
must be over 25 and have experienced the death
of a brother or sister before their 17th birthday.
She believes the trauma of sibling death
affects people's actions in subtle ways. Three
years after the death, Davies found siblings were
more withdrawn than their peers.
They have increased internalized behavioral
problems, such as more sadness and depression. And they tend to be less involved with
friends, or in sports," she explained.
Surviving children experienced a sense of
loneliness, at the time of the death, and long
Part of the problem, Davies said, is that many
children grow up without discussing the death of
their brother or sister—even with remaining
siblings. And health professionals aren't
equipped to deal with a subject that is taboo in
our society.
"Our emphasis is on youth, beauty and life.
We ignore what is old, ugly, and dying. Because
we are not comfortable with death, children don't
see death as a normal part of life," she said.
Even nine years after a siblings' death,
volunteers said they still dream about their
brother or sister or talk to them as if they are still
"The trauma often affects the mental health of
the next generation. When the person is an adult
they may name their child after their sibling.
When their own child becomes the age of their
dead brother or sister, parents often become
overprotective," Davies
Some bereaved
children did experience
positive effects such as
higher sense of self-
"Some children said
they felt as if they saw life t'
in a different way to other --
people. They sensed
they were different from
their peers. As they grew;
older, they felt satisfaction from the support they DAVIS
could give to other people who had experienced
Those children are in a better position to
handle the stress of bereavement, Davies said.
But she was curious as to why there was a
disparity in the feelings of the surviving children.
Further research showed that children who
had a low self-esteem before the death, felt even
more keenly afterwards that they weren't "good
They felt as though the least favorite child
had survived," Davies explained. The situation
was aggravated if the parents had another child
because the children then felt even more strongly
that they weren't "enough" for their parents, she
Davies found children coped best when their
family was involved in community activities that
put them in contact with other people. She said it
is important to include the surviving child in
discussion and activities that surround the death
because it helps them understand the situation.
"Children are usually not included in the
funeral plans, in fact, they are often sent away
until the whole event is over. Many times nothing
is explained to them, and the surviving siblings
have told me they resented that," Davies said.
Health professionals can do much to help
parents help their surviving children, and guide
them in doing what is best, she said.
Drug data system will
help unborn babies
by Debora Sweeney
A UBC medical geneticist has developed a
database that provides doctors with information
about the effects of drugs on unborn babies.
"Usually, a woman has taken something
before she realizes she's pregnant," said Dr. Jan
Friedman. "We get about a dozen calls a week
from pregnant women and their doctors. We
developed this database in response to a
tremendous increase in concern from the public."
The Teratogen Information System (TERIS)
has been adopted by approximately 20 institutions in the United States. UBC's medical
genetics clinic at Grace Hospital is the only
Canadian subscriber.
Teratogens are agents which can cause
malformations in fetuses. Doctors who subscribe
to TERIS can enter the name of a drug into their
computers and get a printout which rates the
drug, reporting its risk after exposure during
pregnancy, and the quality of the data on which
the estimate of risk is based.
To establish the ratings, Friedman works with
an advisory board of representatives from five
major institutions across the United States
reviewing the most up-to-date information on
The agent we're most frequently called about
is alcohol," he said. "Usually the situation is a
woman didn't know she was pregnant and went
partying. Another situation is where a woman
had surgery before she found out she was
pregnant and was subjected to a whole slew of
drugs — anasthetics, pain killers, antibiotics and
several other things."
Most doctors rely only on drug-prescribing
information on package inserts from pharmaceutical companies, which does not include
information on the risks of exposure to the fetus,
said Friedman.
Currently, the database contains information
on prescription drugs and alcohol, but in the
future, Friedman wants to expand it to include
street drugs and environmental chemicals.
The benefit of this system is that usually it
reassures patients because the vast majority of
exposures people are concerned about are not
associated with increased risk of birth defects,"
said Friedman. * '   '*„** if   ft *
:•   '-\*.:-"...ft
Excellence in research
18 awarded Killam Prize
by Gavin Wilson
Eighteen UBC faculty members have
been awarded the Killam Research Prize for
excellence in their fields of research.
The prize of $20,000 over two years is
usually given to just 17 faculty members, but
this year the committee decided to grant an
additional award because of the difficulty of
narrowing down the field, said Dr. Peter
Larkin, Vice-President, Research.
Instituted by President David Strangway
in 1986 and drawn from the University Development Fund established by donations from
the Killam family, the prizes are equally
divided between the arts and sciences.
Faculty members can win the prize only
Selections are made from candidates
nominated by deans. A committee comprised
of rnembers of the standing committee on
faculty awards and 12 nominees of deans
chose the winners.
The award carries no stipulations on how
it should be spent. Some faculty take it as a
research grant, others as a supplement to
salary. It has even been donated for use as
student scholarships.
This year's winners are:
Or. Robert Hare, Psychology, is
considered to be the world's leading expert
on the psychopathic personality. He studies
the biological bases of psychopathic and
criminal behavior and has done empirical and
theoretical research in the area of assessment of psychopathy. He has produced much
of the world's important literature on this
Dr. William Fredeman, English, is a
master of virtually every aspect of Victorian
culture, but the focus of his study is the Pre-
Raphaelite period. He is currently completing
what could be the most important project of
his career, the nine-volume Correspondence
of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Or. Timothy Oke, Geography, is an
acknowledged leader among the small group
of climatologists who have transformed urban
climatology from an essentially descriptive
field of study to a science capable of
generating physical theory.
Dr. William New, English, is well-known
as an interpreter of Canadian literature and its
cultural contexts, and as a commentator on
Commonwealth and Third World literatures.
He was one of the first scholars to appreciate
the critical significance of these fields. He is
editor of the quarterly Canadian Literature.
11 ofthe 18 Killam Research Prize winners are: (front row from left) Dr. Lawrence Walker, Dr. William
Fredeman, Dr. William New, Dr. Pieter Cullis, Dr. John Grace. (Back row) Dr. Robert Hare, Dr. Kinya
Tsuruta, Dr. Myer Bloom, Dr. Andrew Ng, Dr. Timothy Oke, Dr. Brian James.
Dr. Kinya Tsuruta, Asian Studies, is known
on both sides of the Pacific as a major figure in
the field of modern Japanese literature. He has
many publications in both English and Japanese
and is currently working on a book on the
portrayal of Westerners in Japanese fiction.
Dr. Lawrence Walker, Psychology, has
made major contributions to the controversial
issue of the development of children's moral
reasoning. He has documented the validity of a
stage model of moral judgment and has resolved
the long-standing controversy about claims of
sex differences in moral reasoning.
Dr. Richard Johnston, Political Science, has
built a national and international reputation based
on his original research and publications on a
wide range of subjects. He often writes on topics
of public controversy, but unlike some other
pundits, his broad historical knowledge and
theoretical focus put these issues into a broader
Dr. Jon Willms, Education, is an expert in
the sociology of education and assessment of
school effectiveness, program evaluation and
development of programs for the mentally
handicapped. He has examined neighborhood
attitudes to retarded adults in the community and
achievement levels in public and private high
Robin Elliot, Law, is one of Canada's top
authorities on Canadian constitutional law, civil
liberties, comparative constitutional law and
human rights. He is in high demand as a
speaker, commentator, consultant and lecturer.
Dr. John Grace, Chemical Engineering, is a
world authority on fluid-particle interactions.
Much of his research has a very strong industrial
component, especially in processes used by the
petroleum industry. His publications have
become landmark references and he has
lectured in many parts of the world.
Dr. Jack Rachman, Psychology, has made
many contributions in a wide variety of fields in
clinical psychology and is in the forefront of new
developments in behavioral medicine and
therapy. He focuses his research on behavioral
models of anxiety, panic, fear and related
Dr. John Brown, Physiology, is one of
Canada' most outstanding scientists in the
field of gastrointestinal physiology and is
credited with the discovery of two new
peptides, gastric inhibitory polypeptide and
motilin. He has also added greatly to our
understanding of diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Pieter Cullis, Biochemistry, is a
world leader in the field of liposome
research. His work on the physical properties of naturally occurring lipid membranes
will have far-reaching effects in both our
basic understanding of membranes and in
therapeutic applications of drug delivery
Dr. Myer Bloom, Physics, has shown
that pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
techniques could be used to study pure
quadrupole interaction, done important work
in antiferromagnetism and conducted
research in the study of liquids and gases.
Recently, his work has a biological interest,
using powerful NMR techniques to study
Dr. Robert Hancock, Microbiology, is
one of world's leading experts on the outer
membrane of bacteria. His research centres
on the study of proteins involved in transport
through the outer membrane of bacteria.
Other work has helped our understanding of
the mechanism of resistance to some
Dr. Andrew Ng, Physics, centres his
research on the properties of matter under
conditions of extremely high density and
pressure, which is of considerable interest in
condensed matter physics. His most recent
research project provides another means of
studying matter under extreme conditions
using a "gas gun."
Dr. Michael Blades, Chemistry, has
earned an international reputation in
analytical chemistry. His main area of
research has been the development and
characterization of analytical plasma
sources. His research has attracted
international attention in the field of analytical
atomic spectroscopy.
Dr. Brian James, Chemistry, has
developed an outstanding research program
in catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry. His
research in the mechanism of homogeneous
reactions has significantly influenced the
direction of all phases of synthetic and
biological chemistry. His work has tremendous implications for industrial oxidations.
Quality is
of concerts
at UBC
by Lorie Chortyk
What does professional hockey and UBC
concerts have in common?
Quality, according to internationally acclaimed pianist Robert Silverman. Dr. Silverman
(Coordinates the School of Music's popular
Wednesday noon-hour concert series, and he
says audiences attending the free performances
are hearing some of the world's best musicians.
"It's like hockey fans seeing NHL games for
free. The concerts are presented by professional
touring musicians on the faculty at UBC and by
celebrated musicians visiting the school."
Pianists Jane Coop and Rena Sharon,
violinist Geoffrey Michaels, cellist Eric Wilson,
soprano Alexandra Browning, trumpeter Martin
Berinbaum and violist Gerald Stanick — all UBC
faculty members — are just some of the national
and international artists who have been featured
in campus concerts.
The School of Music sponsors almost 200
daytime and evening public concerts throughout
the year, ranging from individual recitals to
symphony performances and opera theatre.
"Ifs fun for us because we love performing,"
said Silverman, "but I also see it as a valuable
service to the campus and the community."
Dr. William Benjamin, director of the Music
School, agrees.
Building smarter robots
the goal of scientists
Music student Karen Opgenorth plays viola
"I'd have no hesitation about inviting someone
interested in professional symphony, for
example, to hear our UBC Symphony Orchestra.
The performances are extremely good."
He points out that several student choral
groups, including the University Singers led by
James Fankhauser and Cortland Hultberg's
University Chamber Singers, have won major
national and international competitions.
Benjamin said UBC offers concert-goers a
variety of music found nowhere else in the city.
"Under one roof you can hear everything from
music of the'Middle Ages to music composed   -
yesterday," said Benjamin. "We present
orchestral music, choral music, chamber music,
solo recitals and opera. In addition to Western
classical music we offer jazz, computer music,
Asian music and other special concert fare."
Benjamin said he'd like to see more students,
staff and faculty take advantage of the concerts.
by Jo Moss .
The word robots conjures up images of
sophisticated machines, like Star Wars C3PO,
which talk and act like humans.
In reality, scientists are a long way from
producing a robot which can match humans in
even one characteristic.
"A lot of people think the basic problem in
robotics is building the mechanical parts, but the /
most difficult problems don't lie in that area," said
David Lowe, a computer science professor who
develops software programs for robotics.
Lowe was one of the speakers at a recent
robotics conference sponsored by UBC's Centre
for Integrated Computer Systems Research
(CICSR) and the Advanced Systems Institute of
B.C. Five world-renowned robotics and artificial
intelligence experts joined university and industry
researchers to provide an overview of this rapidly
developing field.
Scientists are currently less concerned with
how to make robots move like humans than with
how to make robots see, hear, touch and think
like humans. They have developed sophisticated
devices that can perform extremely complex
actions, but that mobility and dexterity is usually
wasted because the robot can only be programmed in a simple way.
"Robots in factories are very much like a blind
and deaf person. They really have no idea about
what's going on around them. They can only
move to a predetermined point and hope the part
they are going to pick up is in position," Lowe
Because robots operate on a limited, fixed
amount of pre-programmed information, they can
only perform repetitive tasks and that makes
them too expensive to use in many industrial
settings. A lot of money must be spent on
special equipment to organize the parts robots
handle and set them into the right position.
"We would like to have robots that can wiggle
a peg into a hole, for example, notice when it's
not in, and adjust their movement accordingly,"
Lowe said. That's not possible right now for
most industrial robots. Then there's the issue of
inspection. Robots can't recognize if a part is
faulty, or worn."
Recognition is where Lowe's research fits in.
He's working on computer vision—how to
program robots to recognize what is significant in
their environment.
"People are so used to vision, they don't
realize what a complex and sophisticated
process it is," Lowe explained. "With robots, you
have to describe precisely in a mathematical way
what objects you would like to be recognized,
then they can figure out where those objects
Much of Lowe's research application is
drawn from what other scientists know about
human vision.
"We're looking at data collected by psychologists which describes the stages people go
through when they're identifying objects," Lowe
said. "One of the basic stages is detecting
contrasts, things like edges."
Using a TV camera linked to a computer,
Lowe's aim is to develop a robot that can reliably
recognize a specific object when it appears
anywhere in the camera frame. That means
recognizing an object from any angle, under
variable light conditions, or when partially hidden.
3   UBC REPORTS April 21,1986 UBC Calendar
Percussion Ensemble
Featuring John Rudolph, Tony Phillips, Salvador Ferraras, Ken
Moore, and Graham Boyle. Program will include traditional
African Music, works by Chick Corea, and the Beatles. For
information call 228-4604   Great Hall, Museum of Anthropology. 2:30 & 3:20 p.m.
Biochemistry Seminar
Penetration of Salmonella through a Polarized Epithelial
Monolayer. Dr. Brett Finlay, Medical Microbiology, Stanford
University. For information call 228-2792. Lecture Hall #4,
IRC. 4:00 p.m.
Economics Seminar
Topic TBA. Peter Neary, Queen's and UCD. For information
call 228-4505. Room 351, Brock Hall. 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Law and Society Seminar
Constitutional Values and the Financing of Elections. Dr. Keith
Ewing, Law. Cambridge University. For information call 228-
6506. Faculty Conference Room, Curtis Building. 4:30 p.m.
Health Promotion & Systems Studies
Factors which Influence Adjustment at Home After a Stroke: A
Qualitative Study in Progress. Dr. Lyn Jongbloed, Occupational Therapy. Free. For information call 228-2258. Board
Room, Fourth Floor, IRC. 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Faculty & Staff Golf Tournament
Tournament to be followed by Dinner at the Faculty Club. For
registration forms and information call Norm Watt at 228-2581.
McLeery Golf Course.
Paediatric Grand Rounds
Paediatric Renal Transplantation: 5 Years Experience at B.C.
Children's Hospital. Dr. D. Lirenman, Division of Nephrology,
Department of Paediatrics, BCCH; Dr. J. Carter, Division of
Nephrology, Department of Paediatrics, Children's Hospital.
For information call 875-2437 or 875-2451. Auditorium, G.F.
Strong. 9:00 a.m.
Medical Genetics Seminar
Clinical Case Presentations. Clinical Geneticists, Clinical
Genetics Unit, Grace Hospital. For information call 228-5311.
Parentcraft Ropm, Main Floor, Grace Hospital, 4490 Oak
Street, Vancouver. 1:00 p.m.
Economics Seminar
Topic TBA. Rick Harris, Queen's University. For information
call 228-4505. Room 351, Brock Hall. 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Winds of Vancouver
Featuring Kathleen Rudolph, flute; Roger Coe, oboe; Wesley
Foster, clarinet; John Gaudette, bassoon; Richard Mirvgus,
horn. Program will include works by Beethoven and Ibert. For
Information call 228-4604. Great Hall, Museum of Anthropology. 2:30 & 3:20 p.m.
Chemistry Symposium
Symposium of International Mass Spectrometry Manufacturers.
For information call 228-3235. Graduate Student Centre. 8:30
a.m. -5:00 p.m.
Lecture and Garden Tour
Sponsored by the Centre for Continuing Education. The
Classical Chinese Garden. Jeannette Leduc. $20. For
information call 222-5254. Conference Room, Carr Hall. 7:00-
9:00 p.m.
UBC Reports is published every second
Thursday by UBC Community Relations
6328 Memorial Road, Vancouver, B.C.
V6T 1W5, Telephone 228-3131
Editor-in-chief: Don Whiteley
Editor: Howard Fluxgold
Contributors: Jo Moss, Lorie Chortyk, Debora
Sweeney, Gavin Wilson.
Photo by Warren Schmidt
Canadian Chris Pridham displays his winning form against top-ranked Chilean Ricardo Acuna in
Davis Cup play at UBC April 8-10. Pridham's victory helped Canada defeat Chile.
Calendar Deadlines
For events in the period May 8 to May 21, notices must be submitted on proper Calendar forms
no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27 to the Community Relations Office, 6328 Memorial
Road, Room 207, Old Administration Building. For more information, call 228-3131.
Biomedical Research Centre Opening Symposium
Molecular Approaches to the Regulation of Growth and
Differentiation. J.D. Watson, A. Bernstein, V. Paetkau, G.J.V.
Nossal, M.J. Crumpton, S. Schlossman, T.M. Dexter, E.A.
McCulloch, M. Feldmann, M. Oxman, LE. Hood. For
information call 228-7810. Lecture Hall #2, IRC. 8:30 a.m.-
6:00 p.m.
UBC Nursing Research Day
Research Studies in Nursing. For information call 228-7417.
Koerner Pavilion. 9:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Social Work Symposium
Improving Practice through Research Paper Presentations.
$15, Students $7. For information call 228-2576. Graham
House, School of Social Work. 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Lecture and Garden Tour
Sponsored by the Centre for Continuing Education. The
Classical Chinese Garden. Jeannette Leduc. $20. For
information call 222-5254. Conference Room, Carr Hall.
10:00-1 T:00 a.m.
Painting Exhibition
Sponsored by the Institute of Asian Research and the Golden
Maple. May 7-15. Paintings by 24 students of the Golden
Maple Art Studio. Free. For information call 228-2746.
Auditorium, Asian Centre. 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily.
Interactive Satellite Teleconference
Sponsored by the English Language Institute, Centre for
Continuing Education. Interact '88 - Emerging Technologies in
Modern Language Education. A video tour of language
laboratories and learning centres across the U.S. Dr. Wilga
Rivers, Harvard; Dr. Frank Otto, Brigham Young University.
Pre-registration required. Free. For information call 228-5459.
Room 60, Family and Nutritional Sciences Building, Centre for
Continuing Education.
Laboratory Chemical Safety Course
Sponsored by Occupational Hearth & Safety. May 16 & 17.
Chemical Storage, Handling and Disposal, Lab Inspections,
Emergency Response and Spill Clean-up. Suitable for faculty,
research assistants, storeskeepers, and safety committee
representatives. For registration information call 228-2029.
Short Course in Animal Cell Culture
Sponsored by the Department of Physiology and the S.P.C.A.
Eight Lectures given by invited speakers. Three practical
demonstrations. Open to all. Registration fee $55. Deadline
for registration June 1. For information call Dr. D. Mathers at
228-5684. Rooms 3009 & 3612, D.H. Copp Building. 9:00
a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Golf Lessons
Get into the swing of things this spring with Golf Lessons.
Community Sport Services is once again offering Golf Lessons
at the basic or intermediate level. The first set of lessons begin
April 25th. Tuition waivers acceptable. For information call
Fine Arts Exhibition
Terragraphs and Calligrams: Recent work by Keith Mitchell.
Now until April 29. Fine Arts Gallery. Basement, Main Library.
Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday, Noon-5:00
Faculty Club Art Exhibition
Now until April 30th. Watercolour and Ink Paintings of
Histological Designs, Local Architecture, and Native Plants. By
Anne Adams. For information call 228-2708. Faculty Club.
Final Exams for Disabled Students
Disabled students requiring assistance with access to final
exams or anticipating specialized problems, contact Jan del
Valle, Co-ordinator of Services Disabled Students, at 228-4858.
Room 200, Brock Hall.
Arts Review '88
Sponsored by the Arts Undergrad Society. Accepting
applications now at the A.U.S. Office, Buchanan A107. No
hand written submissions. Include S.A.S.E. Deadline is May
1 St. Prizes are for best poetry and fiction. For information call
UBC Cricket Club
Sponsored by the Athletic Department. First practices of new
season. For information call 266-0683 or 666-8059.
Copying in the Libraries?
Save time and money with a UBC Library copy card. $5 cards
sold in most libraries; $10, $20 or higher cards in Copy Service,
Main or Woodward. Cash/Cheque/Departmental Requisition.
For information call 228-2854.
Psychology Research Project
Families wanted for child development study. Mothers and
their 3-6 yr. old children (2 boys or 2 girls) are urgently needed
for a project studying sibling interaction. Approx. 1 hour. For  '
information call Cindy Hardy at 228-6771 or 684-2142.
Fitness Appraisal
Physical Education & Recreation, through the John M.
Buchanan Fitness and Research Centre, is administering a
physical fitness assessment program to students, faculty, staff
and the general public. Approx. 1 hour. $25, students $20.
For information call 228-3996.
Statistical Consulting and Research Laboratory
SCARL is operated by the Department of Statistics to provide
statistical advice to faculty and graduate students working on
research problems. For information call 228-4037. Forms for
appointments available in Room 210, Ponderosa Annex C.
Language Exchange Program
Exchanging Languages on a One-to-One Basis. For
information call 228-5021. International House. Office Hours
9:30 a.m.~4:30 p.m.
Walter Gage Toastmasters
Public speaking and leadership meeting, Wednesdays, 7:30-
9:30 p.m. Guests are welcome to attend, ask questions, and
participate. For information call Geoff Lowe at 261-7065.
Room 215, SUB.
M.Y. Williams Geological Museum
Open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.. The Collectors
Shop is open Wednesdays 1:30-4:30 p.m. or by appointment.
For information call 228-5586.
Nitobe Memorial Garden
Open daily 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. in April. Open Daily 10:00
a.m.-8:00 p.m. May • August. Admission $1. Free on
Botanical Garden
Open daily 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. in April. Open Daily 10:00
a.m.-8:00 p.m. May - August. Admission $2. Free on
Clowes wins medal for Lithoprobe study
The Past President's Medal of the
Geological Association of Canada will be
awarded to UBC Geophysics professor Dr.
Ronald Clowes for his work as principal
investigator of the successful trial phase of the
Lithoprobe project conducted on Vancouver
Island in 1984-85.
The Lithoprobe project is set up to study
the interior forces that shape the crust of the
earth, the lithosphere.
Clowes is now director of the Lithoprobe
secretariat, one of the largest multi-disciplinary
earth sciences studies undertaken in Canada.
The formal presentation of the medal will be
made in May at the association's annual
meeting in St. John's.
Doctors William Borgen and Norman
Amundson of the Department of Counselling
Psychology have received the Ontario College
Counsellors' Association Award for their
outstanding contributions to career and
vocational counselling. The award recognizes
their research into psychological reactions to
unemployment and their book The Experience of
Third year Law student Thomas Hulley and
second-year Arts student Stephen Brewer tied
for first place in the 1988 William G. Black
Memorial Prize essay competition. The students
will share the $1,600 prize money. The essay
competition focuses on a topic related to some
aspect of Canadian citizenship each year.
Third year Law student Delwen Stander
and Bryan Young (unclassified studies)
received honorable mentions.
Jane Coop, a highly
acclaimed pianist and
associate professor in
the School of Music, has
returned home after an
international tour playing
to appreciative audiences
in the USSR, England,
France, Holland, Poland
and Yugoslavia.
Based in Paris from
September to December,
1987, she gave 21
concerts and broadcasts
with repertoire ranging
from Scarlatti to Jean
Coulthard. Since COOP
returning to Canada, Coop has played concerts
in Toronto and Montreal that were broadcast on
national radio.
Walter Marsh, one of Vancouver's best
known character actors, is retiring after 14
years as the senior talking book narrator at
UBC's Crane Library.
Hundreds of disabled readers locally and
in more than 40 countries have enjoyed
Marsh's artistic recordings of novels,
biographies, Canadian history and other
This may be Walter's least-known and
most unusual sideline," said Crane Library
director Paul Thiele, "but it could well be
considered his most magnificent performance."
Marsh recorded 154 complete books and
voiced significant parts of hundreds more.
He has also acted in many films, television
programs and radio dramas.
4   UBCREPORTS April21,1988


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