Faculty of Science
Concerned by the low participation of women in careers in the sciences and engineering, Vice-President (Research) Dr. Kaplan decided that action was necessary. Returning to campus he brought a number of people together to form a committee to promote the participation of women in all scholarly disciplines. He also contributed name for the new group: WISEST - Women in Scholarship, Engineering Science and Technology. The mandate of the WISEST committee is to initiate action to increase the percentage of women in decision-making roles in all fields of scholarship. Since women are markedly under-represented in the sciences and engineering, many of the studies and actions of WISEST to date have concentrated on these fields.
Original: History Trails
Sixty girls and five boys are headed back to their Grade 12 classrooms after taking part in Women in Scholarship Engineering Science and Technology (WISEST), the summer program that brings students to the U of A to conduct research in areas traditionally explored by a specific gender. "We discovered a wide range of research possibilities, from isolating titanium minerals in oilsands tailings to improving your golf swing," said Fort McMurray student Jenny Thompson. The Westwood Community High School student thanked the U of A and the mentors on behalf of her counterparts.
The Faculty of Science was officially created in 1963 when Humanities and Social Sciences were moved to the Faculty of Arts. In 1908, as the Faculty of Arts and Science, it was the first faculty named by the Senate at the University of Alberta.
Today, the Faculty has seven departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computing Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Physics, and Psychology. The Faculty offers nearly 60 Bachelor of Science programs in 40 subject areas. Each department within the Faculty offers an Internship Program which consists of twelve to sixteen months of work experience for third-year students in areas related to their field of study.
Among the 315 faculty staff are winners of six Steacie Awards, sixteen Rutherford Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; 26 Canada Research Chairs; five iCORE, and three Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); two Alberta Ingenuity Centres of Excellence; and ten members of the Royal Society of Canada.
Funding for research topped $60 million in 2006, with sponsors including the United Nations, NASA, federal and provincial governments, and industry.
The Department of Biological Sciences can trace its roots at the University of Alberta back to 1912, when the Department of Biology within the Faculty of Arts and Science graduated its first MSc student in 1916. Today’s Department, a merger of Botany, Entomology, Genetics, Microbiology, and Zoology, was formed in 1994.
Key areas of research for the Department of Biological Sciences are environmental biology, molecular biology and genetics, microbiology and biotechnology, plant biology, cell biology, and systematics and evolution. Ninety-five percent of the academic staff have funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) or Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and per scientist, the average grant money is more than $200,000. The University and its community benefit from the work done in the Department of Biological Sciences, as it promotes ethical and scientific thinking about issues that are crucial to our times— from environmental concerns to genetics.
The Department of Chemistry prides itself on being research-intensive and on having a reputation as one of the top chemistry departments in the country: its excellence in teaching and research have garnered the Department an international stature. Faculty members have ongoing collaborations with colleagues in France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Areas of research include analytical, bioanalytical, bioorganic, and biophysical chemistry; chemical biology; chemical physics; combinatorial chemistry; glycoscience; inorganic, organic and physical chemistry; materials science; medicinal chemistry; nanotechnology; organometallic chemistry and catalysis; surface science; and theoretical and computational chemistry.
In 2006, faculty member and Associate Dean Dr Margaret-Ann Armour was named to the Order of Canada for her work with the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) program since 1982.
The Department of Computing Science was established in 1964 and is one of the oldest departments of its kind in Canada. Areas of study within the Department make it the focal point of advanced technology in support of our everyday lives. Because computers are complex and powerful tools involved in most facets of our lives today, students who graduate from this department have excellent job prospects.
Research areas are supported by the Artificial Intelligence team, the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine Learning, Advanced Man-Machine Interfaces Ingenuity Centre, algorithmics, bioinfomatics, databases, graphics, multimedia systems, networks, robotics, software engineering, and systems.
The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences has been in the news recently for the re-discovery of a number of fossils that had been hidden away and lost at the University for over 20 years. The eight ichthyosaur (marine reptile) specimens, discovered by Dr Micheal Caldwell inside a crate hidden under a ping pong table, resulted in the naming of this type of fossil as the "Ping Pong Ichthyosaur".
The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers five programs. Four of the programs offer students a BSc in Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Earth Science, Geology, or Paleontology, respectively. The Human Geography program is a BA program.
The courses offered through these programs study the atmosphere, surface, and interior of the Earth using an interdisciplinary approach. The three main areas of research include solid earth sciences, which focus on areas such as economic geology, geochemistry, paleontology, and geology; environmental earth sciences, which focus on studies of the Arctic and alpine, geomorphology, and GIS and remote sensing; and human geography, which focuses on environment and health and policy studies.
The Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences is supported by five institutes and centres: the Applied Math Institute, the Centre for Mathematical Biology, the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems Centre, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, and the Statistics Centre.
Courses offered in the Department are for programs leading to BSc Honours or Specializations in Actuarial Science with a Business Minor, Applied Mathematics, Mathematics (Computational Science), Mathematics, Mathematics and Economics, Mathematics and Finance, and Statistics.
The Department of Physics offers courses for programs leading to BSc Honours or Specializations in Applied Physics, Astrophysics, Chemistry, Computational Science (Physics), Environmental Physical Sciences, Geophysics, Mathematical Physics, and Physics.
There are a number of interdepartmental activities through a number of centres and institutes, such as the Space Physics Laboratory, which looks at Earth’s environment from the perspective of the atmosphere surrounding the planet, in all its cosmic glory, with solar winds, clouds, and storms. The Department of Medical Physics at the Cross Cancer Institute is dedicated to the application of physics and engineering to the study of cancer. Further information about the centres and institutes is available on the Department’s website.
The Department of Psychology was established in 1960, though a course in Psychology and Logic was offered in 1909. Courses were continually added so that, by 1911, students were able to obtain a Bachelors and Masters of Arts in Psychology. A PhD program became available in 1962.
Today, the Department of Psychology offers about 55 psychology courses. During the 2005–2006 academic year, the department received about $3 million in research funding from such sources as the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
The department has a number of research labs for studies in areas such as neuropsychology and memory.
|Deans of the Faculty of Science|
|1992–2002||Richard E. Peter|
|1982–1991||W. John McDonald|
|1977–1982||Kenneth B. Newbound|
|1965–1977||Donald Murray Ross|
|Deans of the Faculty of Arts and Science|
|1957–1963||Douglas Elstow Smith|
|1952–1957||Walter Hugh Johns|
|1938–1945||George Malcolm Smith|
|1936–1938||William Hardy Alexander|
William Alexander Robb Kerr