Past Issues About Edge

For the first time since we began publishing Edge in 1999, we are devoting an entire issue
to one subject - food.

Our original thought was to write a cover story about U of T research into the disturbing incidence of obesity among adults and - even more alarming - children. But in investigating the obesity epidemic, naturally the broader topic of food came up. We quickly realized that there was a wider story to tell about the multitude of aspects behind what we eat.

Food is one of the most effective prisms with which to examine the state of our global society. It is at the heart of so much of the news that grabs the daily headlines - health concerns, globalization, the environment, agriculture, business, wealth and poverty. Its effect on how we are as a global society is almost too complex to grasp.

Food is also the perfect way to demonstrate U of T's multi- and interdisciplinary nature. In this issue, you will read about the research of an incredible variety of scholars in medicine, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, biotechnology, history and education. It is fascinating to see how all their work is connected and how each new piece of knowledge strengthens research in other areas.

Sociologist Harriet Friedmann, for example, tells us about an organization called the Codex Alimentarius Commission that will have a profound effect on the burning hot issue of labelling genetically-modified food. Biotechnology expert Paul Horgen explains a new test he is developing to detect more effectively nasty E. coli bacteria in food. And paediatrics professor Glenn Berall provides startling insight into a frightening new reality, where children as young as one or two years of age are being brought to his obesity clinic.

These researchers and the others profiled in this special issue are doing exactly what world-class scholars are supposed to do - enlightening us with new information that simply did not exist before. This is knowledge that the University of Toronto not only discovers, but also passes on to our graduate and undergraduate students so they can, in turn, create their own new knowledge.

It's the research enterprise in action. And it is benefiting us all.

Business students will be better equipped to make sound management decisions thanks to the establishment of the country's first chair in Canadian business history at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management.

The L.R. Wilson/R.J. Currie Chair in Canadian Business History was funded by several prominent business leaders, including Lynton (Red) Wilson, chairman of the boards of CAE Inc. and Nortel Networks Corporation; Richard Currie, chairman of BCE Inc. and former president and director of George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited; Anthony Fell, chairman of RBC Capital Markets and University Health Network's board of trustees; James Fleck, professor emeritus of business government relations at the Rotman School and president of Fleck Management Services Limited; Henry N.R. (Hal) Jackman, former chancellor and alumnus of U of T; and John McArthur, dean emeritus of Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration.

The $3-million chair will fill a gap in management education by funding courses and research that will explore the evolution of the commerce industry in Canada and examine the legal, economic and political events that shaped the course of its history.

The business school will also launch a research program in Canadian business history, which will provide the chair holder with research resources including data collection, data processing and access to published information.

From business book awards to fellowship in renowned academic societies, U of T faculty members have won wide recognition this year. Recent awards and honours include:
Richard Bond
of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics received the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Award of Excellence. The honour is given to the three finalists of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, which is awarded annually for both the sustained excellence and the overall influence of research conducted in Canada in the natural sciences or engineering.

ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON FELLOWS Spencer Barrett of Botany and Peter St. George-Hyslop of the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases have been named Fellows of the Royal Society of London. Fellowship in the Royal Society, which is internationally recognized as one of the highest honours in science, is offered to only six foreign members each year.

U of T researchers took four of the spots in this year's Top 40 Under 40, a national program managed by The Caldwell Partners to celebrate leaders of today and tomorrow, and to honour Canadians who have reached a significant level of success before their 40th birthday.

Recipients are: Peter Dirks of Neurosurgery and the Hospital for Sick Children, David Jaffray of Radiation Physics and the University Health Network, Prabhat Jha of Public Health Sciences and St. Michael's Hospital - and a Canada Research Chair of Health and Development - and Edward Sargent of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Canada Research Chair in Emerging Technologies.

Kim Vicente of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is the winner of the 2003 National Business Book Award, announced this past April, for his book The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live with Technology.

Co-sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and BMO Financial Group, the $10,000 award is presented annually to recognize outstanding business books published in Canada and is considered one of the country's most prestigious and respected literary awards.

Vicente said he was pleased with the recognition of human factors engineering, a little-known body of knowledge designed to help people use technology more effectively.

"I truly look forward to witnessing a revolution in the way people live with technology, a revolution that will not only make our day-to-day life simpler and easier, but one that will lead to fewer airplane crashes, fewer nuclear power plant meltdowns, fewer catastrophic space shuttle explosions, fewer infectious disease outbreaks and fewer children being killed by preventable medical errors."

With files from U of T Public Affairs

University of Toronto Office of the Vice-President, Research and Associate Provost