Profs Making Headlines

November 10, 2011 - In the News

University of Guelph professors are making international and national headlines this week, and two professors are appearing on national radio and television programs.

Research by U of G physics professor Ralf Gellert that is part of NASA’s next mission to Mars is featured today in the National Post and by CBS news.

In a month, NASA will launch Curiosity, a minivan-sized rover, to Mars. Gellert is the principal investigator for an international group of scientists that developed the new alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) to be mounted on Curiosity’s long arm.

The APXS is about the size of a soda pop can. It will measure exactly which chemical elements — and how much of each type — are in Martian rock or soil.

In a specially equipped centre on campus, Gellert and other Guelph researchers will receive daily information from the APXS and send instructions to guide its mission.

Gellert was the lead scientist for two earlier APXS systems on NASA rovers Opportunity and Spirit.

Ken Smith, associate dean of the College of Management and Economics, is quoted in a Toronto Star story today about power and leadership. Before arriving at the University of Guelph in August 2010, Smith had been a strategy consultant for almost 25 years. He had also researched mergers and acquisitions, and has published extensively in the business press. His work on business and public policy issues involving global restructuring and mergers and acquisitions is well-recognized in business and government.

OVC research on the effects of intense exercise on the heart rates and rhythms of racehorses is in the news following the sudden death of Hickstead, the champion show-jumper that won gold at the Beijing Olympics with rider Eric Lamaze.

Prof. Peter Physick-Sheard is featured in articles in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail exploring the circumstances of Hickstead’s sudden death at a Grand Prix event in Verona, Italy, on Sunday.

Physick-Sheard said the jumper's death appears consistent with his studies into sudden death in competitive horses. During a jump-off, a show-jumping horse would be working as hard as a racehorse streaking to the finish line, he said.

Prof. Stephen Henighan, School of Languages and Literatures, was a guest on the CBC Radio program Q. He talked about how prize-nominated Canadian fiction often fails to reflect contemporary Canadian reality.

Henighan, who teaches Spanish American literature, is a regular contributor to the literary pages of newspapers and magazines. His short fiction has been published in more than 30 journals and anthologies in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Europe. Henighan's essay collection, When Words Deny the World, was shortlisted for the 2002 Governor General's Literary Award.

An arts, culture and entertainment magazine show hosted by Jian Gomeshi, Q airs on CBC Radio One weekdays at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.

History professor Elizabeth Ewan is spending Saturday night, Nov. 12, at the movies with TVO. She was interviewed by the educational television network for its Saturday Night at the Movies program. The show weaves interviews with historians and other experts into the presentation of a feature film.

Ewan will comment on Rob Roy, the 1995 film about the eponymous 18th-century historical figure who fought feudal landowners in the Scottish Highlands. She compares the real-life Rob Roy with the big-screen character played by Liam Neeson. The film also stars Jessica Lange, John Hurt and Tim Roth, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of villain Archibald Cunningham.

Saturday Night at the Movies is hosted by Thom Ernst, a playwright, freelance writer, film columnist and on-air critic. It airs at 8 p.m. on Channel 2 in Guelph.

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