Around AU

Each year since 2005, the Athabasca University Research Centre has been hosting Arts & Science Research Talks, which look at topics near and dear to your professors. The most recent talk was done back in April of this year, but fortunately all the talks since 2010 are being kept online and can be accessed on the Research Talks archives page.

One presentation which might be of particular interest to students was done by Dr. Linda Chmiliar of the Psychology Centre, in February 2012: ?Self Regulation Skills and the AU Student.? You can watch the full presentation here.

As the archives show, the Research Talks cover a diverse range of topics, from writing historical novels to finding Earth’s Trojan Asteroid (an asteroid that is on the same orbit as earth is around the sun; the only such asteroid found so far was discovered by AU’s own Dr. Martin Connors back in 2010).

Keeping with the theme of astronomy, Athabasca University has opened a second observatory, AUGO II, in the wilderness to the west of Athabasca. The first observatory, where Dr. Connors found our Trojan asteroid, has become less useful for certain projects because of the increasing light pollution that comes as the University expands. The new observatory also suffers from much less radio noise and has living quarters so that visitors can have extended stays on the premises while pursuing their research goals.

The old observatory remains in operation, and there are plans to coordinate efforts between the two of them for experiments which have not been able to be done before as they require observatories in relatively close proximity. AUGO II itself looks more like a bomb shelter than our typical idea of an observatory, but the observatories are already helping AU’s international reputation; a group of space physicists from Japan were in attendance even before the official opening to do work on pulsating auroras. You can find more information, including a photo of what the Japanese scientists might have been seeing, here.