York astronomer tells Scotland to watch for northern lights

Scots were expected to be treated to a northern lights display today caused by a solar tsunami shooting tonnes of superhot plasma directly at Earth, wrote Glasgow, Scotland’s The Herald Aug. 4.

Experts say the first of two possible storms caused by a huge sun “eruption” hit the Earth’s magnetic field last night.

“We’ve got a 50-50 chance that as those particles rain down into our atmosphere, they will trigger extensive aurora borealis – the northern lights – all across the northern hemisphere from about Toronto’s latitude and further north,” said Paul Delaney, a professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering.

  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the expected appearance of northern lights in the skies, on CTV News Aug. 3.

As corporate India expands, a Toronto business school sees opportunity

Ashwin Joshi, of the Schulich School of Business at York University, is excited by opportunities in India, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 3.

It’s expanding Indian businesses…that has Joshi giddy. He heads a promising new Canadian business school initiative cementing ties to the surging Indian market.

“What’s happening here is not just about India,” said Joshi, executive director of the Schulich MBA in India program. “Indian companies are making advances into Africa and North America and elsewhere and they need managers with a global mindset.”

Joshi said Canada, meantime, “needs more companies like Bombardier that are active overseas, and they, too, need managers who are comfortable in the developing world and don’t balk when they have to do something like open a new manufacturing facility in India.”

The expansion of York University’s business school comes at a critical time for India’s education industry.

Joseph Caron, Canada’s former high commissioner to India, said Schulich has good timing. Indian firms, Caron said, are about to make strides overseas the same way Chinese rivals have for the past few decades.

Big partners can be both good and bad for entrepreneurs

When Microsoft Corp. was working on its new Hohm line to help people track and conserve energy, it was looking to utilities to help it figure out how households could monitor their energy use, wrote The Globe and Mail Aug. 4.

St. John’s-based Blue Line Innovations Inc. heard about what Microsoft was doing, and it happened to have spent years developing and marketing its PowerCost Monitor, a sensor and hand-held device that allows homeowners to measure power use in real time. “We just picked up the phone and made the call – from St. John’s to Bellevue, Washington,” said chief executive officer Peter Porteous, whose firm now counts Microsoft as its partner.

The Blue Line-Microsoft partnership is typical of how small firms partner with larger ones, said Eileen Fischer, Anne & Max Tanenbaum Chair in Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise in the Schulich School of Business at York University. In most cases, the small business has the intellectual property that the larger company requires and the larger firm has the resources to commercialize the idea and bring it to market.

Some of the advantages of partnering with a bigger company include in-house expertise, better distribution, and “certainly small businesses get affiliation advantages from a company like Microsoft,” Fischer said.

The bigger company is usually able to speed up the time it takes to get the product to market, she noted.

On the flip side, Fischer said she has encountered many “sad stories” from such partnerships. Small firms, she explained, have to be aware of the potential downsides of dealing with bigger companies.

The major one? Theft of intellectual property. “It’s very difficult to protect it once you expose that to a partner.”

The important thing for smaller companies that take the risk in partnering with larger ones, Fischer said, is to learn from the experience. The larger company often has a lot of innovative ideas – see how they develop them and learn from the people there.

Search for Vaughan hospital foundation president underway

If you can bring in the big bucks for a good cause, the foundation that’s raising funds to build a hospital in Vaughan wants you, wrote the Vaughan Citizen Aug. 3.

The Vaughan Health Care Foundation is searching for a president to lead its upcoming capital campaign, a project expected to generate up to $200 million toward the Vaughan Health Campus of Care.

The plan is to build the hospital on an 87-acre site at the northwest corner of Major MacKenzie Drive and Jane Street, which the city bought last year for about $80 million.

“The plan of the Campus of Care has always been to co-locate other complementary services such as long-term care, assisted living and an academia component, perhaps York University or another university offering a medical school, on the same site. It is to be a robust health-care campus that spans what they call the continuum of care,” said foundation administrator Anastasia Vogt.

Osgoode grads are driven to fight cancer

Two Bay Street lawyers from Niagara hope to raise $30,000 for two cancer charities as they put the pedal to the metal on Newfoundland roads this September, wrote the Welland Tribune Aug. 4.

Rob Hansen (LLB ’97) of Pelham and Dean Novak (LLB ’97) of St. Catharines will team up in a 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata for their first Targa Newfoundland road rally.

For about 20 per cent of the 2,200 kilometres, competitors can open up their cars on closed roads.

They’ve been friends since they met at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Nursing involves ongoing learning

Ever since Sherry McKnight completed her studies and became a registered nurse in 1988, ongoing education has always been a part of her career, wrote The Brantford Expositor Aug. 4.

Today, McKnight continues to pursue her education and is now working toward a master’s degree in nursing (leadership) in York University’s Faculty of Health [and was recently promoted to be the director of nursing and professional practice at the Brant Community Healthcare System in Brantford].

On air

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the current advertising campaign for Old Spice, on BNN-TV Aug. 3.