Got it past my committee
Now I have a job.”
R. Steve Colby
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dissertation Title: “Efficient high speed permanent magnet synchronous motor drives” (1987)
This work addressed some of the mechanisms in motors that lead to energy loss, and developed a control strategy that could maximize efficiency of a speed-controlled motor drive. Pretty esoteric stuff, but it was a pretty good piece of work, for its time. The last line of the haiku sums up the principal benefit – it allowed me to work on less esoteric, and ultimately more valuable stuff in the ensuing 20+ years.
‘suburb’, ‘slum’, ‘village’:
Labels matter in planning
Good places to live.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
Dissertation Title: “The Dreams Attached to Places: from Suburb, to Slum, to Urban Village in a Toronto Neighbourhood, 1875-2002”
I explored the relationships between successive images of a neighbourhood, social and housing conditions, and planning policy, using a case study of one neighbourhood in Toronto. The neighbourhood, Parkdale, was developed as a politically independent suburb in the late 1870s and 1880s. At the time, it was described as a middle-class, residential ‘flowery suburb’, although it was also a working class industrial community. During the early part of the 20th century, it began to be described as a declining neighbourhood at risk of ‘becoming a serious slum’, although it continued to offer good housing conditions. By the 1970s, a third phase of image-making had begun: Parkdale began to be described, in newspapers and planning reports, as a revitalized ‘urban village’ of historic homes, as well as a ‘dumping ground’ for psychiatric out-patients. The research suggests that the images of suburb, slum, and urban village used to describe Parkdale bore more of a relationship to changing societal norms than social and housing conditions. However, the images had both direct and indirect impacts on planning policies and mortgage lending, which in turn influenced social and housing conditions.
It was transformed into a book last year, called “Suburb, Slum, Urban Village”.
Unsafety links to
lack of opportunity
fix it all with love
Da Vinci Institute for Technology
Dissertation Title: “Safe Communities of Opportunity; a Strategy for a Safe South Africa”.
The thesis presents an argument that unsafety in South Africa is due more to the social engineering legacy of apartheid than for instance to poor policing. The social fabric is fragmented and frail and the risks and vulnerability inherent in a failed social system can only be addressed by a whole government, whole society approach. The dissertation proposes a model for safe communties of opportunity in which everyone can contribute to improved safety and everyone can access opportunities within their community. The model is enabled through an ICT toolkit that provides step-by-step guidance to faciltiate effective planning and implementation.
University of Stellenbosch
I’m working on a phd in systems biology modelling glycolysis in E. Coli using NMR.
Still they just sit there
My dissertation used molecular biology techniques (molecular phylogenies and molecular clocks) to address questions in early animal evolution. Specifically, when did the earliest animals evolve, what was the body plan of this animal, when (and how) did they first begin to biomineralize, and how early animal evolution relates to the changing ecology of the Precambrian. I’ve focused primarily on sponges and brachiopods, which are (I think!) very interesting from an evolutionary perspective but are benthic, sessile marine invertebrates and so perhaps not what catches the eye of the casual diver. I’ve particularly focused on whether these two groups form a real evolutionary group (monophyletic) or whether some members of that group are more closely related to another group of organisms (paraphyletic).
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