Spark of science

first_imgThe Science Center Plaza was packed with the nearly 400 Cambridge eighth-graders on a recent morning. The students were on the Harvard campus to celebrate their partnership with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and to present their final science and engineering projects.The Student Science and Engineering Showcase brought together faculty and students from both the city and the University to highlight the projects, and to give students a feel of College life. Cambridge Mayor David Maher said the relationship was vital to the continued success of young students.“It’s great to be here with all our friends at Harvard who do so much to build strong connections in this community with Cambridge kids,” he said. “That’s what today is all about … we’re so proud of the great work and collaboration at Harvard, and the work that’s happening here with all of you.”“We have one of the most enlightened cities in the country for the sciences, engineering, the arts, and culture,” said Kevin Casey, acting vice president for Harvard Public Affairs and Communications. “This city understands that the only way for all of those to come together and make progress is when all of those fields work together.”Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools Jeffrey Young told students to think of Harvard not just as a local resource, but also as a potential destination. Harvard’s incoming freshman class includes 18 students from Cambridge, 11 of them from Cambridge Rindge and Latin.“Some of you will end up going to school here,” he said. “This is where you are going to be. And when you get here, you are going to be ready to do your absolute best partly because of the work you did at Cambridge Public Schools. All of you really are young scientists, and I’m excited to see the work you’ve been doing.”The showcase, in its fourth year, is among the initiatives generated by the ongoing collaboration between Kathryn Hollar, the director of educational programs at SEAS, and Lisa Scolaro, the coordinator of science programs for Cambridge Public Schools.Hundreds of experiments were on display, and students were eager to present their findings. Caroline Workman, Jackson Hardin, and Gabriel Colburn, all of the Vassal Lane Upper School, demonstrated their hovercraft experiment, which relied on materials such as a leaf blower, plywood, a shower curtain, and — of course — duct tape. The model worked, successfully lifting more than the team’s goal of 100 pounds. Radius of movement proved a bit trickier.“Our model uses an electric leaf blower,” Workman said, pointing out that “a gas leaf blower might be a little dangerous.”SEAS Dean Cherry Murray, John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, welcomed students to campus and specifically encouraged young women like Workman to pursue a career in the sciences. She said that when she was in eighth grade, her older brother mocked her dream of studying physics at MIT, driving her to prove him wrong.His dismissal “just flipped a switch in me,” she said. “So I applied, and I got in.” She advised the young women in the audience to do the same, adding that there is no better place to become a scientist than in Cambridge, “the center of science and engineering in the universe.”last_img read more

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PKA sees early fruits of new business push with 1,800-member deal

first_img“The more members PKA has, the more robust it is, and the greater chances it has to be able to give its current and future members concrete benefits in the form of a high return, low costs, and a competitive yield on pensions.”Damgaard Jensen said PKA was a pension fund for different professional groups and had a clear aim to provide pension products that matched their demands, regardless of whether they were public sector employees, private sector staff or self-employed.Tina Christensen, chairman of the Danish Chiropodists’ Association, said there were many reasons why PKA had been chosen.“It was very important for us that PKA can offer our self-employed and private-sector employed members a voluntary and flexible pensions package tailored to their needs,” she said.“At the same time, PKA understands employees in the healthcare sector, so our 1,800 members will get a pensions package that suits them for their whole lives,” Christensen said.Back in October, PKA launched a new drive to take on thousands of new members and win private-sector pension schemes from the hands of Denmark’s big commercial providers such as Danica and PFA. It said it had developed a pension product called PKA Private, which can be tailored to appeal to a wider range of customers.The following month PKA announced it had poached Søren Bang Palfelt from PFA to lead the new business push.Tomas Frydenberg, executive director in charge of membership matters, said the Danish Chiropodists’ Association deal was an early result of PKA’s new strategy to provide pension schemes to the entire healthcare sector.He said PKA would continue this strategy in years to come and bid for other groups within the healthcare sector. PKA, the DKK250bn (€33.6bn) labour-market pension provider, has won a contract from the Danish Chiropodists’ Association (Danske Fodterapeuter) to provide pensions for its 1,800 members.PKA, which currently has around 300,000 scheme members via the three social and healthcare pension funds it runs, said it won the tender process arranged by Deloitte to provide pensions for the association’s members, beating several other pension companies.It said this was the first step on the path towards its goal of attracting more members.Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive of PKA, said: “We have implemented a growth strategy at PKA, which we believe is necessary in an ever more competitive sector.last_img read more

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Badgers eyeing return trip to Pasadena

first_imgAs painful a memory as it remains, the Wisconsin Badgers’ two-point loss in the Rose Bowl has given them everything they have entering the 2011 season.New quarterback Russell Wilson chose Wisconsin over Auburn and his professional baseball career because, above all else, his best chance for winning football games is in Madison. The Badgers’ primetime schedule – UW will play in four of the Big Ten’s seven primetime matchups on ESPN this year – was made possible by the explosiveness of last year’s squad that won games by margins as large as 67, 63 and 47 points. Any national title aspirations – and depending on who you talk to, there are plenty – stem from the fact that despite losing the likes of J.J. Watt, Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and John Clay to the National Football League, Wisconsin’s offense remains one of the nation’s most potent, and the defense returns six starters from last year’s No. 20 unit in total defense.Simply put, last year’s 21-19 loss to Texas Christian University in Pasadena won’t just be washed away by the waves of a new season – not by the team, not by the media and certainly not by Badger fans. For as steady and pragmatic a program as UW is, led by head coach Bret Bielema’s “1-0” philosophy, any destination that isn’t Pasadena or New Orleans (the site of this year’s BCS National Championship Game) will be viewed as a disappointment.“It’s definitely a reminder day in and day out,” safety Aaron Henry said of last year’s Rose Bowl loss. “But I just think with the guys that we have, they didn’t lose sight of what happened last year. They’re focused on even bigger things now this year. It was definitely unfortunate what happened last year, but guys have been working nonstop to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”New quarterback leads the chargeWhen Wilson officially became a Badger in what seemed more like a free agent transaction than collegiate transfer (He’s eligible to play immediately since he already earned his degree at North Carolina State), the buzz around UW immediately surged from Big Ten title favorite to potential national title contender.Wilson, listed at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback with the kind of mobility that simply hasn’t been present in recent Badger quarterbacks. In three years as the starting Wolfpack quarterback, Wilson compiled 1,089 rushing yards (an average of 363 per season) and 17 touchdowns. For comparison, last year’s starting UW quarterback, Scott Tolzien, has -9 career rushing yards to his name.Of course, Wilson also excelled with his arm, throwing for 1,180 yards, 76 touchdowns and 26 interceptions at N.C. State. Wilson completed 57.8 percent of his passes and averaged just fewer than three touchdowns for every interception thrown.Clearly, Wilson was a player too enticing for the Badgers to pass over. Acquiring your starting quarterback the summer before he’s set to start is a rarity in college football, and for Wisconsin it’s nothing short of shocking. So far in fall camp, Wilson has been everything that’s been advertised, and he’s seamlessly made the transition into UW’s locker room. Along with fellow seniors fullback Bradie Ewing, defensive tackle Patrick Butrym and Henry, Wilson was voted a captain by his teammates. Quarterbacks are typically synonymous with leadership and the responsibilities that come with the “captain” title, but naming someone who hasn’t played a single down for the team is still eye opening.“I’m blessed, more than anything,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to be a part of this, just to be a part of this team in general, whether I was a captain or not. I’m still going to lead, even if I wasn’t captain. I’m excited to be a part of that and something special.”For Bielema, Wilson’s acclimation into the locker room was the main obstacle. Since his addition in late June, there haven’t been many issues to worry about.“The maturity level that that young man has and the way he can process everything going on around him – whether it be schematically x’s and o’s, whether it be locker room chemistry, whether it be media chemistry – he’s got a pretty good handle on things,” Bielema said.Leadership still veteran, but changedLast year, Watt, Carimi and Moffitt, plus quarterback Scott Tolzien and safety Jay Valai, were UW’s undisputed leaders. Tolzien was calm, steady and led by example, while Valai could trash talk and lay the wood with the best of them. Carimi and Moffitt were unrivaled in their physical presence and natural ability along the offensive line, and Watt set the tone in regard to on-field production.This year, they’re all gone. So are middle linebacker Culmer St. Jean and tight end Lance Kendricks, two other players who aptly led their respective positions.In naming four seniors captains this year, the Badgers clearly plan to follow whatever veteran experience they have. Henry might be the most talkative of the bunch, and his lingering memories of Pasadena alone seem sufficient to fuel UW this season.“It motivated us a ton [this fall], man,” Henry said of last year’s Rose Bowl loss. “You do everything you have to do during the season so that you will be placed in a huge game on a national level like that, but you come up a little bit short – it definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth.”Ewing and Butrym, meanwhile, seems bound to carry the roles vacated by Watt and Tolzien – quiet, but efficient and supremely productive. The 6-foot, 245-pound Ewing had arguably his finest season as a blocker in 2010, and he caught eight passes (the first of his career) for 82 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield. Butrym started all 13 games and recorded 28 tackles (three for loss) and 2.5 sacks.Chances are the Badgers will find key contributions from some surprise candidate, a l? Watt in 2010. But before that can become a priority, the Badgers’ four captains and the rest of their veteran leaders must lead the way.With Ohio State facing tremendous uncertainty and Nebraska still awaiting its introduction to the conference, the Big Ten is up for grabs – right when there have never been more eager eyes watching to see how its 12 teams perform. For a program that seemingly grows closer every Saturday to turning the corner toward becoming a national power, nothing is more pressing than a return trip to Pasadena – or beyond.“Guys are just itching to get back to the promised land, wherever that may be.,” Henry said. “Hopefully it’s a huge, huge bowl game, but guys just want to get better each and every week. I think if we can do that, the sky’s definitely the limit.”last_img read more

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