Memorial University releases 2010 research report

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Memorial University today released its 50-page 2010 research report titled "The Shining: Research Stars 2010."
The report notes the university's research income totalled more than $90 million in 2009-10.
Dr. Ray Gosine, Memorial's vice-president (research) pro tempore, said the university has world-renowned experts and respected authorities who pursue major opportunities and challenges in and across their disciplines.
"Here they advance knowledge, inspire new generations and shed light on the unknown," Gosine said. "They come from far and wide but share a vision of making Memorial's research among the best in the world. They do this in the context of thoroughly enjoying what they do."
Some of the projects/highlights included in report are:
• Dr. Bev Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music/Ethnomusicology, and professor of music and folklore, is researching the social history of recorded music in the province and beyond. This opportunity resulted from being named a Trudeau Fellow, one of the most prestigious humanities awards in the country. With $225,000 of support from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Diamond will write two books - the culmination of years of research in ethnomusicology.
• Dr. Matthew Kerby, an assistant professor in Memorial's Department of Political Science, has developed a computer model that predicts when cabinet ministers are going to be sacked. He has studied the experience of every cabinet minister in Canadian history, back to 1867, extracting relevant data and adding it to his model. He has found that there are specific and quantifiable factors that can extend - or sharply reduce - the careers of cabinet ministers.
• Memorial's Department of Archaeology has relied on research, a bit of luck and a lot of digging to discover world-class archaeological sites in Port au Choix, on the northwest coast of Newfoundland. Now, thanks to almost $1 million in federal and provincial funding, it is relying less on luck and more on groundbreaking technology. In choosing where to dig, archaeologists identify likely locations for settlement - often beach terraces near the ocean. The Great Northern Peninsula is rising due to plate tectonics, so former beaches are now vegetated. Dr. Priscilla Renouf, Department of Archaeology, works with geographer Dr. Trevor Bell to reconstruct the ancient coastal landscape, deducing the best places to send archaeological teams. Aided by precise real-time satellite technology, crews locate the exact elevation. A sophisticated, ground-penetrating radar is then used to search for anomalies before even breaking soil.
• Canada Research Chair in Ocean Technology and associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Ralf Bachmayer is spearheading research on what he calls the autonomous underwater glider, a much smaller and lighter device that "glides" through the water column, using ballast to ascend and descend and wings to propel it forward. Because it is largely self-propelled, the glider is capable of research runs lasting up to six months. Ralf won the 2009 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award to develop a propeller glide that will enable greater thrust when needed and can be retrofitted to existing gliders. Ron Lewis, an engineering PhD candidate and member of the CREAIT MERLIN laboratory, is custodian of the MUN Explorer, one of Memorial's unique pieces of research equipment. The AUV can be preprogrammed to perform deepwater research autonomously, on runs of up to 150 kilometres or 24 hours. The AUV can travel under ice packs - areas that are otherwise inaccessible. It has a payload bay, like an undersea space shuttle, that can carry testing, sampling and measuring equipment and has already been utilized for research in the Canadian Arctic and harsh North Atlantic.
• Dr. Carrie Dyck, associate professor in Memorial's Department of Linguistics, was recently awarded nearly $1 million to preserve and maintain the Cayuga language, the language of the Iroquoian First Nations. She has written a dictionary of the language, documented the grammar and transcribed many important recordings. With fewer than 100 fluent speakers of Cayuga left, mostly elders, the language is in danger of disappearing. The funding will be used to keep the language vibrant and alive through immersion courses for adults and language daycare for children.
• The Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) of Memorial University was awarded more than $16 million in federal-provincial funding to expand and enhance its facility, located on the ocean's edge at spectacular Logy Bay. A new research facility will be constructed, complete with the latest equipment, laboratories and coldwater holding tanks, for the specialized study of invasive species, deepwater organisms and marine diseases.


Organizations: Department of Archaeology, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Department of Political Science Ocean Technology Applied Science Department of Linguistics Iroquoian First Nations The Ocean Sciences Centre OSC

Geographic location: Port au Choix, Newfoundland, Cayuga North Atlantic Logy Bay

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