Basic science is the centre of gravity, says particle physics lab chief

After spending six years as the director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national particle and nuclear physics lab, Nigel Lockyer was hired away last year to become director of Fermilab, the U.S.’s premier particle physics lab and accelerator. His first degree was a bachelor of science in physics from York University, and this week he returned to Toronto to accept the school’s most distinguished alumni award, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 24. Read full story.

Do your homework before choosing your courses
Rhonda Lenton, academic vice-president and provost with York University, says it is valuable to find a program that not only fits well with personal and professional goals, but also one’s schedule, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 24. “Let’s say you were interested in working in human resources,” she begins. “How would you select among your options? You might consider whether a program allows the flexibility and schedule you need, has courses that suit your learning style, such as online versus in-class, and whether they provide you with credit toward a degree as well as toward the CHRP designation.” Read full story.

Burdens of grief: The rise of spontaneous memorial sites
Memorial sites have been a part of human culture since ancient times. Shelley Hornstein, a professor of architectural history and urban culture at York University, points to the Old Testament story of Rachel dying on the way to Bethlehem, and her husband, Jacob, marking the spot with stones or a pillar…. “Why would he have felt an obligation to mark the site?” Hornstein asked in the Edmonton Journal Nov. 24. “The obvious response is so we wouldn’t walk over it, and also so those passing by would understand that something happened here. Without that object – something physical, visible, tangible that marks the site – it disappears.” Read full story.

Uncertainty follows court ruling
A unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision that gives powerful title rights to Aboriginal people left many uncertainties in its wake, said an Ontario law professor in Kamloops This Week Nov. 12. Kent McNeil, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said during a lecture Nov. 12 that the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision giving title to 1,700 square kilometres of land follows an ancient common-law principle that the first to use or exploit land can take title of it. Read full story.

Income inequality is killing thousands of Canadians every year
“The crash of an airliner is a tragic disaster that triggers major investigations and quick action to make sure the same problem doesn’t occur again. As a result, these events are, thankfully, extremely rare,” wrote Dennis Raphael, professor of health policy and management at York University, in the Toronto Star Nov. 23. “And yet a recent report by Statistics Canada highlights a preventable cause of death that is having exactly that kind of impact, but which is being largely ignored. The study demonstrates that income inequality is associated with the premature death of 40,000 Canadians a year.” Read full story.

What Keystone XL pipeline means to Barack Obama
“Rather than taking offence, we should have taken [John Podesta’s] remarks as a signal that if Canada wants the Keystone XL pipeline approved, government and industry need to take real measures to show leadership on greenhouse gas emissions, if for no other reason than to help the president make the pro-Keystone case on the grounds that Canada is getting its act together on reducing the carbon footprint of the oilsands,” wrote Eugene Lang, BMO Visiting Fellow and interim co-director at York University’s Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, in the Toronto Star Nov. 22. “Instead, we spent the next four years blissfully ignoring the critique and warnings from this High Priest of the Democratic Party.” Read full story.

Nova Scotia neglecting sexual abuse victims
“One would be hard-pressed to find a province with a more disgraceful history of prosecuting those who sexually abuse children than Nova Scotia. Its treatment of victims is scarcely better,” wrote Jonathan Rosenthal, adjunct professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Cape Breton Post Nov. 22. Read full story.

Guest column: Deradicalization, or disengagement from violence?
“Speaking at a National Security Conference last week at the Vaparaiso University Law School in Indiana, Thomas Durkin and David Nevin, two lawyers acting for Guantanamo detainees, said that until we understand the motivation of those who use violence, we will not be able to curb the recruitment,” wrote Faisal Kutty, adjunct professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Windsor Star Nov. 22. “More than 130 Canadians have heeded the terrorist call over the past few years.” Read full story.

Tedium, kids? It’s all in a day’s work
Teaching by example was an approach that Mark Orlan, now the executive director of Information Services and Technology at York University’s Schulich School of Business, took with his three children, two of whom are in their 20s and one a teenager…. Mr. Orlan believes that being honest is the best approach, and that it’s important for younger workers to understand that their first job, despite its frustrations, remains a “door to the future.” “How many of us loved our first job? It was a means to an end, and I think you have to emphasize that,” said Orlan in the Globe and Mail Nov. 14. Read full story.

Re: Blair blasts negative poll results, Nov. 14
“A modern, professional police force faces many complex issues – made more complex by fiscal restrictions. Some answers to some policing issues may come from research, but that requires that there be a police management and a police culture that will accept unbiased research findings when they are offered,” wrote Margaret E. Beare, professor law and sociology at York University, in the Toronto Star Nov. 21. Read full story.

Universities need sexual assault policies: Porter
I called all three universities here, the University of Toronto, York and Ryerson, about this. They all deal with sexual assault of students – either through the vice-provost’s office, tribunals or hearings. At all three, students found to mostly likely have assaulted fellow students can be suspended by the university, with no police involvement, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 21. Read full story.

Urge to give thanks common across cultures, religions
There are threads of gratitude holidays in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Belarus, Japan, Liberia and many other countries, reported Nov. 21…. Giving thanks for everything from family and food to nature and prosperity is common to the human experience, says York University Professor Timothy B. Luduc. “Thanksgiving is a primal act of human natures, its spirited tendrils reaching into all cultures in a diversity of ways,” he explains. Read full story.