Fermilab names Nigel Lockyer as new director

York University alumnus and physicist Nigel Lockyer (BSc. Spec. Hons. ’75), has been appointed the new director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, reported Nature.com, The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal and others June 21. In September he will move from his post as director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver. Lockyer spent many years working on Fermilab’s Tevatron, and earned renown for measuring the lifetime of the bottom quark. Under his lead, TRIUMF built new experiments and international agreements, worked to produce better medical isotope supplies, and developed a commercialization arm, Advanced Applied Physics Solutions. Nature spoke with him about Fermilab’s future focus on a large neutrino experiment. Read full story.

Fit and fat: Not all agree obesity should be labelled a disease
When the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease this week, Ragen Chastain, a ballroom dancer, writer, public speaker and self-described “fat person” was offended. “Against their own recommendations, the AMA declared body size – including my body size – to be a disease,” she wrote on her blog, “Dances with Fat”, reported CTV News June 23. Research backs her up. The researchers, led by York University health sciences Professor Jennifer Kuk, said their study showed body weight alone cannot distinguish healthy and unhealthy obese individuals. “Our findings challenge the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight,” Kuk said at the time. Read full story.

How objective is objective enough?
Some people felt advocating strongly for a particular issue or making their politics publicly known would jeopardize how objective they were perceived to be by their peers and employers. Some said staying mum on particular topics enhances the impression of neutrality, which is essential to the role of a lawyer, wrote Rebecca Lockwood, a second-year Osgoode Hall Law School student in Canadian Lawyer Magazine June 24. First, while objectivity is certainly a goal worth striving for and utterly important in the law, its absolute existence is open for debate. I think it should be noted that human beings are biased creatures — period. It would be very difficult for someone to be absolutely objective in any sphere, law school or otherwise. So is it better to pretend to be without opinion or try and identify where our biases lie? Read full story.

Where multiculturalism fears to tread
Three years ago, there were precisely no women premiers in Canada. Today, Canada’s six women premiers govern 85 per cent of our population. Most of the students in 13 of our 17 medical schools are women. At the University of Toronto Law School, 51 per cent of students are women and 32 per cent are non-white. Meanwhile, at the U of T’s Rotman School of Business and York’s Schulich School of Business, 30 per cent of their students are women – and growing, reported the Toronto Star June 23. Read full story.

Why aren’t you voting?
Poor voter participation rates at the municipal level can be owed to a number of factors, York University political science Professor Robert MacDermid explained in the Aurora Banner June 20. For starters, many people simply don’t follow their municipal council enough to really get interested or care about its decisions, he said, adding another likely culprit is the pace at which our modern, always-connected society moves. People are busy with work, commuting and family commitments, he said. When you add all of those things together, there’s not a lot of time left for politics. Read full story.

Steve Gupta, Sharifa Khan, Ginni Sethi among Top 25 Canadian immigrants
Winners of the 2013 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award – a people’s choice award that celebrates the untold stories of outstanding immigrants – are being honoured at a ceremony in Toronto today, June 20. Hotelier and humanitarian Steve Gupta, the first black judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal Michael Tulloch, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, and physician and activist Izzeldin Abuelaish are among this year’s winners, reported South Asian Focus June 20. Read full story.

Retiring former Osgoode dean honoured by WLAO
Trailblazing women in law were recognized by the Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) at its annual awards gala on June 19. Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Marilyn Pilkington and family law lawyer Judith Huddart were the recipients of this year’s WLAO’s President’s Award, which “recognizes women who have made substantial contributions to the legal community as academics, adjudicators, litigators, solicitors, authors, or related professions,” reported Canadian Lawyer June 20. Read full story.

How reading makes us more human
Annie Murphy Paul argues that “deep reading”, the kind of reading great literature requires, is a distinctive cognitive activity that contributes to our ability to empathize with others; it therefore can, in fact, makes us “smarter and nicer”, among other things.…To advance her thesis, Paul cites studies by York University psychology Professor Raymond Mar and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto. Taken together, their findings suggest that those “who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective,” reported The Atlantic June 21. Read full story.

India, China and the press
In both India and China, developments in higher education receive substantial press attention, said panellists at a meeting here. But that attention doesn’t necessarily mean that the right issues are being explored…. Coverage in China has seen a notable improvement in the past 10 or so years, said York University education Professor Zha Qiang. Through the 1980s, media in China acted primarily as “a propaganda vehicle” for the state when it came to higher education. More recently, however, he said that the Chinese press had focused attention on issues such as plagiarism, even though this reporting casts some academics and institutions in a negative light, reported Inside Higher Ed June 21. Read full story.

Argos would have prospered at Varsity, ex-owner says: Cox
It was the dream of Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon, both York University alumni, who owned the Argonauts from 2003 to 2010, to move the Argonauts to a rebuilt Varsity Stadium on the grounds of the University of Toronto….But it never happened….If politics wrecked the Varsity deal, Sokolowski blames only himself for not following through on the plan to build at York. “I think Argos would have been better at Keele and Steeles in a perfectly intimate 25,000-seat stadium. We could have still done Grey Cups at Rogers Centre,” said Sokolowski in the Toronto Star June 21. “I wear it. It’s my responsibility. In hindsight, I would have done York. Argos would be on a healthier platform than they are today.” Read full story.