Media RelationsWestern University

Western's Faculty of Science celebrates Eureka moments and major transformation

November 28, 2013

Legendary Greek scientist Archimedes famously, and perhaps fictitiously, experienced the world's first Eureka moment more than 2,000 years ago when he discovered how to measure the volume of an irregular object.

Western University is set to celebrate many of its own Eureka moments when the Faculty of Science officially re-opens the Physics & Astronomy Building at a special event this Friday (November 29) at 10:30 a.m.

One of two original buildings constructed on campus in the early 1920s, the Physics and Astronomy Building (then called the Natural Sciences Building) has undergone a three-year, $21.18 million renovation, which features new and structurally upgraded research labs, classrooms, offices and meeting rooms. The centerpiece of the renovation is the transformation of the courtyard into a multi-level, interconnected common space for students, staff and faculty to collaborate on projects and converge on ideas.

Western's Physics and Astronomy Building is now also LEED-certified as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and electrical systems have been retrofitted and replaced with more efficient technology.

A sampling of Faculty of Science Eureka moments, include:

•    Helen Battle, the first Canadian woman to be awarded a PhD in Marine Biology, pioneered the use of fertilized fish eggs to study the effects of pollutants on aquatic life and drinking water in the 1920s. 
•    Tony Brown clearly demonstrated the genetic basis of insect resistance to insecticides like DDT and pioneered studies to employ biochemical genetics and molecular biology techniques for investigating resistance in the 1950s.
•    Peter J. Schultz built the first positronic beam device in Canada and used it to advance the study of solid surfaces and thin films in the 1980s and 1990s. This technology allows aviation inspectors to detect damage to material at an atomic level before any visible damage is apparent.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

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