Woodward Blog

Great Reads! Woodward Library’s Leisure Reading Collection

For a lot of people it almost seems like a novel concept: a collection of books at an academic library that you can read for fun and relaxation, and not because a prof has required it for an assignment or exam. But guess what? This is a thing that exists at Woodward Library! A couple of years ago Woodward joined the Great Reads initiative at UBC Library and began offering a collection of popular leisure reading. The point of the Great Reads collection is to give students and community members books they can read, not for strictly academic reasons, but because sometimes it’s just nice to read a book . And if it seems like Woodward is an odd choice to join a leisure reading initiative, then boy are you in for a surprise.

Not only does the Woodward Great Reads collection include several works of fiction, like Life of Pi, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Neal Stephenson’s The Confusion, but the non-fiction collection is eclectic and surprising. For the layperson, there are several iterations of the Very Short Introductions series on topics like Bacteria, Fossils, and Robotics. There are books on topics ranging from the seemingly insignificant (The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms) to the building blocks of modern medical research (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks); from the mildly absurd (This is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Research) to the moderately terrifying (Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things). And of course, I can’t understand how anyone could pass up The True History of Chocolate.

The good news is Woodward Library has books you can read for fun. The bad news is you will eventually have to finish your assigned readings.

– Melanie Cassidy, Woodward Library Student Librarian

Z $3M Prizes for Math

From today’s NYT:

Yuri Milner, the Russian entrepreneur, philanthropist and self-described “failed physicist” who made a splash two years ago when he began handing out lavish cash awards to scientists, announced Thursday that he was expanding the universe of his largess again: This time, he will begin handing out $3 million awards to mathematicians.


Mini e-books on scientific topics

Woodward Library has access to two collections of short electronic books (50-120 pages) from Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Our newest purchase is the Colloquium Digital Library of Life Sciences which covers topics such as biotechnology, cell biology, genomic and molecular medicine, integrated systems physiology and stem cell biology.

In addition, we have continued access to the Synthesis Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science with e-books related to biomedical engineering, computer architecture, digital circuits and systems, mobile and pervasive computing, technology and society, and more.

These books are excellent reading for undergraduates and other researchers who want a primer on a new topic.

UBC researchers named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three UBC researchers have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Three UBC ecologists who study the natural world at very different scales–from marine ecosystems, to plant and soil systems, to microbial communities–have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and the publisher of the journal Science.

UBC’s Steven Hallam, John Klironomos and Daniel Pauly are among 388 members recognized by the AAAS today because of their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts” to advance science or its applications. Six researchers at Canadian institutions are among the new fellows.


November 27 FIREtalk: Learning Machines

Are you a graduate student at UBC? Consider attending or presenting at the next FIREtalk, “Learning Machines” – of particular interest to science students! Description from the Research Commons website:

When: Wednesday, November 27, 4-6 pm

Where: Koerner Library, Room 216

What are some cutting edge applications of computers and machines that help improve human life? What are the different approaches to the study and design of learning and intelligence? How can systems learn from data? What natural behaviors can be simulated by a machine? Can the brain be interpreted as a computer? How do our cultural perceptions of machines influence the way we interact with them? Where can speculative fiction and other works of the imagination take artificial intelligence?

More details at:

Applications for 2014 Innovative Dissemination of Research Award now open

UBC Library is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Innovative Dissemination of Research Award. Established by the Library in 2010, this Award focuses on new and innovative ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge. The recipient will be announced in early 2014 and will receive a framed certificate and $2,000 cash. All UBC faculty, staff and students are eligible.

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on November 25, 2013. For more information or to download the application, please visit http://scholcomm.ubc.ca/news-and-events/award

Today in math – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was born (1884)

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was born when an international conference in Washington, DC, decided “to adopt the meridian passing through the center of the transit instrument at the Observatory of Greenwich as the initial meridian for longitude.”

From our MAA friends.

Think computer was first? Try “comptometer”!

Today back in 1887, patent #371,496 issued for the “comptometer,” the first adding machine “absolutely accurate at all times.” It was invented by Dorr Eugene Felt of Chicago; a model was constructed in 1884.

From MAA – On This Day in Math