A petition is going around to protest the move of the physics department lab from the Hall Building to new Loyola Science Complex, when the new building will be completed.
“This lab is jewel of the physics department,” said John MacKinnon, professor emeritus of Concordia’s physics department. “These teaching labs are state of the art.”
The physics department is slated to move with the other sciences at Concordia to the Loyola Science Complex, where the lab will be reduced from 80 cabinets to 54 cabinets.
“Right now the physics department is not accepting students and if the department is to be revived there will not be enough facilities for the students,” said Mostafa Showleh, the supervisor of the labs on the eighth floor of the Hall Building.
Third-year physics student Mark Beaudry, who is also a teaching assistants for students, who need to do CEGEP level physics for certain courses and departments, said the teaching style of the lab is unique.
“Because we have the eighty counters, any student can come in during the labs hours and conduct any experiment that they want, but at other university’s certain labs have are done at certain hours,” said Beaudry.
Showleh added that the move to new building threatens the way labs are done at Concordia because fewer cabinets means fewer experiments and teaching assistants to help the students.
“Students really learn from the experiments because the teaching assistants are very personalized,” Beaudry said, “[It] helps the students out, but with the new lab that may mean fewer teaching assistants and less personalized help.”
Fewer cabinets also means fewer experiments that can be conducted at one time. According to Showleh, the equipment of an experiment cannot be placed in a cupboard because it needs to be set up in a certain way and takes time to set up. “That means those cabinets that will not be used will go to the garbage. These counters are almost new. I convinced those involved with design of the new lab to bring along our cabinets.”
MacKinnon said the move to Loyola would be a huge problem for logistics. He would prefer to see the labs moved in with the new engineering building instead of the Loyola Complex. He said that about 1,500 student labs take place every year and that every class has about 10 labs making a total 15,000 visits per year.
“There is no metro near the Loyola campus and going to the lab at different times of the day in the dead of winter is not very practical,” added MacKinnon.
The chair of the physics department was unavailable for comment and the vice-rector for planning was also unavailable for comment.
The petition can be signed at H-815.