Research briefs

Middle-aged women running for change

While running can be physically transformative, a researcher at the University of Calgary is examining the activity’s effect as an emotional and life-changing force. Faculty of education graduate student Patricia Knutson is interviewing middle-age women to record their experiences training for a marathon and the effect it’s had on their lives. Knutson wants to gain insight on the participants’ embodied or holistic learning through the interviews, as well as research positive accounts of middle-aged women.

“A lot of the literature on mid-life women kind of relates to menopause, which of course is part of the experience but it’s also a negative part of it,” Knutson said. “That information is very medical and quantitative, so I think it’s very important to understand the demographic of mid-life women and it’s a huge demographic.”

Knutson sees the research having implications in the fields of health and wellness as well as institutional learning. Due to overwhelming response, she hopes to continue contact with the participants, as well as others who couldn’t be a part of the study, to learn more about mid-life experience and provide motivation to achieve their goals.

Sulphates in the sky, with diamonds

While introducing sulphates into the atmosphere has been touted as a solution to global warming, a Schulich School of Engineering professor said the delivery system used may be the key to its success. David Keith recently published two papers that outline a novel way of introducing sulphates into the sky that mimics the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption. Keith proposed suspending nano-particles in the atmosphere or introducing sulphuric acid as a vapour which could condense above the Earth, providing a shield from the sun’s rays. He warned against the sulphur dioxide method as its effects on nature and ecosystems are untested. The alternatives his research proposed may be more effective in their cooling effect while less harmful to the environment.