Art from architecture

Architecture isn't just about designing buildings. It's about interpreting your surroundings in a way that's fresh and unconventional. It's about trying out bold new approaches to creating forms and shapes. It's a marriage between engineering and art.

Students in the history and theory of architecture graduate program are currently displaying some of their creations -- and we're not talking about sketches of buildings here. The works range from videos to ceramics and they're the result of architecture professor Alberto Pérez-Gómez's studio course.

Art history student Jennifer Carter, one of the featured students, and the only non-architecture student in the mix, says she's impressed by what her classmates have wrought. "There is some really beautifully crafted work on display."

The exhibition continues until Friday, October 8, in the Macdonald-Harrington Building, third floor exhibition room. Viewing hours are between 9 am and 5 pm.

Germ warfare


Is there any reason not to teach evolution to schoolchildren? Will deadly infectious diseases evolve past our capacity to deal with them?

A three-part public lecture series, begun last night, features some internationally respected scholars dealing with some of the more controversial aspects of evolution.

The "Ape or Angel" series started off last night with Dr. Eugenia Scott, the executive director of the National Centre for Science Education in the U.S. and a veteran of such shows as Geraldo, Firing Line, The Pat Buchanan Show and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." Scott talked about recent attempts to ban the teaching of evolution in North American schools.

Next up is Amherst College evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald, a man described by The Atlantic Monthly as "the Darwin of the microworld." Ewald argues that many of the diseases we have long ascribed to genetic or evolutionary factors are actually caused by infections.

The notion was largely dismissed at first, but it's gaining converts. It was recently discovered that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, for instance, and some scientists are beginning to suspect that heart disease may be linked to a bacterium. Ewald believes that many cancers and mental illnesses also result from infectious diseases.

"Some people think it's scary to have these time bombs in our bodies," Ewald told The Atlantic Monthly, "but it's also encouraging because if it's a disease organism, then there's probably something we can do about it."

Paul Ewald's lecture, "The Darwinism of Disease," will take place October 13 at 8 pm in the Fieldhouse Auditorium of the Stephen Leacock Building.

Of course: Jews in North America


Sociology professor Morton Weinfeld began teaching "Jews in North America" in 1977. "It was the first course of its kind in Canada," says Weinfeld. "It might still be unique."

When Weinfeld introduced the class, there were plenty of Jewish studies courses around but they tended to concentrate on Bible studies, history, philosophy or languages. Weinfeld wanted to focus on contemporary Jewish life from a social scientific perspective.

One of the major themes of the course is to examine the differences between being a Jew in Canada and being a Jew in the United States. "The general finding is that Jews in Canada are much more Jewish in their behaviour and identity," says Weinfeld. "The American Jewish community is a lot older and much more native born. The Canadian Jewish community is one generation closer to the Old World.

"There is also the old American melting pot versus Canadian mosaic explanation. There may be some features of these societies that really differ. There is a more rigorous separation of church and state in the U.S. That has some consequences for Jewish life. You can't get government funding for Jewish schools, for instance."

In both countries, "continuity issues" are a source of debate among Jews.

"Intermarriage and cultural assimilation are concerns. Compared to other groups, Jews do quite well on these indicators in terms of their cohesiveness as a community, but mixed marriage rates are definitely on the increase."

Weinfeld says plenty of Jewish students register for the course "for self-exploration and self-knowledge," but notes that a growing number of non-Jewish students are also taking the course. In an increasingly multicultural society, it's seen as a smart investment to know a little something about your neighbours' cultural identities.

Get your giggles

To heck with the budget cuts, let's have a laugh. McGill's annual Leacock Luncheon, held in memory of Stephen Leacock, a McGill political scientist and a world famous satirist, is just around the corner and tickets are going fast.

As usual, Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations) Derek Drummond, that rarest of birds, a funny (on purpose) administrator, will serve as master of ceremonies.

The speaker this year is Ian Brown (pictured), an acerbic writer whose work regularly appears in Saturday Night and Toronto Life. He also hosts the "Talking Books" segment of CBC Radio's This Morning.

Lunch and laughs are served on October 15 at noon at the Radisson Hôtel des Gouverneurs. For information, call 398-5000.


Mr. Denis Savard, director, Internal Audit, has recently left the University. Projects currently underway by Internal Audit will continue. An announcement with respect to the restructuring of the Internal Audit Department will be made within the next few weeks.

Professor Olivier Receveur, the field coordinator for the Centre for Indigenous People's Nutrition and Environment (CINE), has left McGill to join the Université de Montréal. Receveur will remain affiliated with McGill's School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.

Professor Colin Rogers has joined the Department of Civil Engineering. He recently completed his PhD at the University of Sydney in Australia where he was a research associate in the Centre for Advanced Structural Engineering. He was involved with the laboratory testing and analysis of rack and scaffolding structures.

Mr. Ian McKinnon has retired from his position as the director of the Department of Pension Management. Ms. Christine Halse, the manager of pension administration, is currently responsible for the benefits aspects of pension administration, while McGill treasurer Mr. John Limeburner is now responsible for the pension fund's investments and financial aspects. Halse reports to Mr. Robert Savoie, the executive director of the Department of Human Resources. McGill will review the current set-up later this year to see if this arangement should continue or if McGill should hire a replacement for McKinnon.

Professor Andrew Higgins is a new faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Higgins has been at McGill for the last two years as a post-doctoral research associate in the Shock Wave Physics Group working on detonation physics. He did his PhD in aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Professor Benoit Champagne has joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In recent years he served as an adjunct professor in the department while also working as an associate professor at INRS Telecommunications. He did his PhD at the University of Toronto. He is a member of McGill's Telecommunications & Signal Processing Laboratory.

Mr. Micah Locilento, a recent graduate of McGill in English literature, is the new editorial clerk for the McGill Reporter. Mr. Locilento was a research and database coordinator for Neil Smolar Productions, a library assistant for the Serials and Microforms Department of the McLennan Library and a columnist with The McGill Tribune.

Professor Anthony Masi, from the Department of Sociology, is the new acting associate dean (academic) of the Faculty of Arts, filling in for political science professor Elisabeth Gidengil who is currently on sabbatical.

Dr. Catherine Bushnell, from the Department of Anesthesia, is the new director of the Anesthesia Research Unit. She takes over the job from physiology professor Kresimir Krnjevic, who led the unit for 35 years.