On Generation, November 11, 2012

WIDEN: On Generation
(A chilly November special)

1:00–3:00 p.m., Sunday, November 11, 2012
The Architecture Lounge: Cafe 059
230 College Street, enter at Huron Street west side entrance
(Cafe 059 is located on the ground floor of the Architecture Building)

All welcome. No advance registration required.
RSVP on Facebook


The Peculiar Afterlives of Letters
Erin Piotrowski (PhD candidate, English, University of Toronto)

When Thomas Carlyle laments that “thousands of human generations, all as noisy as our own, have been swallowed up by Time, and there remains no wreck of them anymore,” he gives voice to a widespread anxiety about the problem of cultural inheritance in the nineteenth century. The public archive, one of Victorian Britain’s most lasting inventions, is one response to this anxiety. As this talk will highlight, however, the Victorian archive itself is an institution wracked with its own internal problems, pressures and paradoxes—a fascinating set of concerns that I seek to elucidate through an investigation of a “peculiar” archivist and a prominent “bundle of letters” in Charles Dickens’ serial novel Bleak House (1850–1851).

Sell Yourself
Daniel J. Wilson (artist and filmmaker; BA, McMaster University; MSc, Art & Technology, IT University, Sweden)

Careers can, roughly, be divided into two categories: those which pay you a living wage in a direct and unambiguous way upon completion of requisite schooling, and others that offer no such guarantee. The second tend to fall under the umbrella of “creative” careers: writer, musician, artist and filmmaker, to name a few. The result of this situation is that often by choosing the creative career path you are also, indirectly, choosing to work a job unrelated to your real interests—in order to provide yourself with the financial means of pursuing your actual goal. This creates a large inefficiency as it is exactly at the time that an artist could potentially be the most productive (young, energetic, likely no children, lots of friends with common interests and time on their hands) that she or he has the least ability (time and money) to fulfill this potential. Sell Yourself is proposing a remedy to this situation through an alternative economic model that would employ legally binding contracts as a means for these creatives to sell shares of their future income streams upon graduation. For an up-front influx of capital from a group of investors the artist would then return a certain percentage of their income in perpetuity to these investors.

Creating Nano-catalytic “Production Lines” for Greener Chemical Synthesis: A Case Study for Generating Change through Mindful Engineering 
Julie-Anne Gandier (PhD candidate and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry)
As the world turns towards greener chemical processes, we face the challenge of developing catalysts, which while being effective, must also be non-toxic and biodegradable. Much work has been invested in engineering the active and/or binding site of an enzyme to develop biocatalysts suited to industry. Often, a mixture of these enzymes is necessary to achieve a desired product. Accordingly, the aim of my doctoral work is to lay the foundations for a novel method in which enzyme mixtures would self-assemble in solution to form catalytic “production lines” that could be scaled and rearranged, depending on the number and type of activities required for a specific given application. During this talk, I will not only discuss my work at the interface of science and engineering, but use its greater context to engage in a discussion of the responsibilities of engineers and scientists in generating novel products to society and the Earth.


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