University community invited to share ideas about U of G's single greatest research or scholarly contribution
BY ANDREW VOWLES
Albert Einstein made a difference in the world. What difference is the University making?
U of G will hold an event next month to reflect on its research and scholarly contributions to society and to celebrate the centenary of Einstein's so-called “miracle year.” The May 2 gathering will include a public talk by Gilles Paquet, president of the Royal Society of Canada, on “Einstein as a Reframer: The Relevance of Einstein Today.”
Prof. Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research), will begin the event by sharing results of a “greatest hits” challenge designed to invite comment from faculty, staff and students about the University's broader societal impact.
The event, called “Research @ Guelph: A Reason to Reflect and Celebrate,” begins at 3 p.m. in War Memorial Hall. A reception will follow in the lower lounge.
Hoping to stimulate reflection and discussion about U of G's broader societal role before the event, Wildeman is inviting community members to share ideas prompted by the following question: “What single discovery or creation or outcome from work in any discipline — arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences or physical sciences — undertaken at U of G or its predecessor colleges has had the greatest impact on society anywhere around the world?”
Sharing the subsequent “greatest hits” collection during an event celebrating Einstein's annus mirabilis will give the U of G community “an opportunity to uncover all the ways in which the creativity of Guelph's minds has made a difference where a difference has really mattered,” says Wildeman. He hopes the event will underline pride in the Guelph community and an appreciation of the University's diverse contributions.
“People see themselves as citizens in a broader community, and Guelph has a long tradition of doing work that can be translated into real-life applications,” says Wildeman, who is also inviting area high school students to the event. “A number of people — faculty, alumni, business people and others — have asked me what our single greatest outcome has been for the world. I'm sure there are many answers to that question.”
He draws a parallel between applications of University research and the life of Einstein, whose contributions span not just science but also humanitarian endeavours. In 1905, Einstein, then 26, published five landmark papers, including his theories of special relativity and the photoelectric effect, in which he described light as packets of energy that behaved like particles.
“To me, the Einstein annus mirabilis is an occasion to reflect and an opportunity to use reflection as inspiration for the future,” says Wildeman.
To share your ideas about Guelph's single greatest research or scholarly contribution, send e-mail to GreatestHits@uoguelph.ca.
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