Abilities and Interests

Described below are some of my interests that are (semi-) relevant to my academic work.


Computer Programming

I completed a minor in Computer Science during my B.Sc., and have continued to hone my programming abilities on scientific problems. I have experience with procedural programming (Assembly, C, Pascal), object-oriented programming (C++, Java, Visual Basic, etc.), expression programming (Mathematica, Matlab, shell scripts, etc.), markup languages (HTML, SVG, etc.), database syntax (MySQL, etc.), and alternative environments (Igor Pro, LabVIEW, etc.).

I apply information-hiding and object-oriented approaches considerably in my code. I try to keep up with modern programming practices and paradigms, and am always keen to learn a new language (most recently PHP and Python).


Computers (General)

I have an excellent understanding of computers, both theoretically and functionally. I'm experienced with all the 'major' operating systems, including Linux (Red Hat, Debian, Mandrake/Mandriva, Ubuntu, etc.), Windows (98, 2000, XP, Vista), and Mac OS X.

I am also constantly trying out new software. I'm familiar with all the usual applications (for word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) as well as programming environments, web-editors, graphic art programs (Photoshop, etc.) and 3D-rendering software (TrueSpace, Blender, POVray).

I'm comfortable with replacing hardware components or even building a system from scratch, if needed.

I have experience with designing, setting up, and maintaining a multi-user computer environment. This included running a web-server, file-server (with automated backups), computer recovery system, remote computer control, and so on.


Graphic Art

I enjoy making 'cool-looking' graphics for my presentations, papers, and just for fun. I'm also a believer in using animations to help visualize mathematical problems. I use a combination of vector-graphics (using Inkscape, for instance), bitmap graphics (using Photoshop) and 3D-renders (using POVray, for instance). Below is a sampling of projects I've worked on:

I produced descriptive images of an AFM in operation for a presentation I was giving. After I posted an animation on the web, the London Centre for Nanotechnology contacted me with a request to use it in a promotional video.

I prepared 3D images of liquid crystal mesophases for a tutorial that I posted online. I have had numerous requests to use them for presentations, teaching, and in software products. They also appeared in a review paper:

  • Stevenson, C.L.; Bennet, D.B.; Lechuga-Ballesteros, D. "Pharmaceutical Liquid Crystals: The Relevance of Partially Ordered Systems" Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2005, 94 (9), 1861. doi: 10.1002/jps.20435

I created the winning logo for the Centre for Self-Assembled
Chemical Structures
.

I was commissioned to create a frontispiece used in an issue of Angewandte Chemie :

  • Aldaye, F.A.; Sleiman, H.F. "Sequential Self-Assembly of a DNA Hexagon as a Template for the Organization of Gold Nanoparticles" Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 2006, 45(14), 2204  doi: 10.1002/anie.200502481

I created the cover art for the book Polymeric Nanostructures and their Applications, American Scientific Publishers (Dr. H.S. Nalwa, editor). I also wrote one of the chapters for this volume.

I produced cover art for the materials science journal Soft Matter, which depicted the work we published on photo-mechanical systems:

  • Barrett, C.J.; Mamiya, J.; Yager, K.G.; Ikeda, T. “Photo-mechanical Effects in Azobenzene-containing Soft Materials” Soft Matter 2008, 3, 1249. doi: 10.1039/b705619b

I created an image of directed self-assembly which was used in highlighting our work in NIST press releases and in an issue of APS News. This image was also selected as cover art for the Soft Matter issue I published this work in:

  • Yager, K.G.; Berry, B.C.; Page, K.; Patton, D.; Karim, A.; Amis, E.J. "Disordered Nanoparticle Interfaces for Directed Self-Assembly" Soft Matter 2009, 5, 622–628. doi: 10.1039/B813970A


Web Design

I am an experienced webpage designer and maintainer. I have a good aesthetic feel, and am familiar with all the technical aspects, such as web servers, database tools, and scripting environments (Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.). I am also familiar with installing and using content management systems (Wordpress, Drupal, etc.). I have produced a variety of webpages, including the "EXBAN" site, and a complete redesign of the McGill Chemistry website (in collaboration with E. Cranston).


Teaching

As a graduate student, I had many opportunities to teach and mentor:

  • I worked as a teaching assistant for the upper-level physical chemistry laboratory for several years. Duties involved supervising students, demonstrating use of instrumentation, instructing proper lab report writing guidelines, describing relevant theoretical aspects, marking of lab reports, and student evaluation.
  • I volunteered as a science fair judge for the Montreal Regional Science and Technology Fair, providing feedback to competitors.
  • By designing and maintaining the McGill Chemistry Undergraduate Advising web page, I became familiar with curriculum and degree completion issues.
  • I have also had the opportunity to teach lectures for undergraduate courses in nanotechnology and polymer science. My lectures were well received.


Academic Involvement

I keep myself involved in 'the academic process.' That is, I'm not just doing the day to day work of research, but I am also involved with presenting, publishing, peer-reviewing, and collaborating.

  • Presented at numerous national and international conferences.
  • Collaborated with other research groups. In particular, the collaboration with the NRC's Canadian Neutron Beam Centre was quite fruitful.
  • Actively involved in peer-reviewing papers in my fields of expertise.
  • Responsible for writing proposals for neutron and x-ray beam-time.
  • Acted as the corresponding author on many manuscripts.
  • Published letters to the editor of Nature Magazine:
    • Yager, K.G. “Wiki ware could harness the Internet for science” Nature (Correspondence) 16 March 2006, 440, 7082, 278. doi: 10.1038/440278a
    • Yager, K.G. “Each co-author should sign to reduce risk of fraud” Nature (Correspondence) 29 November 2007, 450, 7170, 610. doi: 10.1038/450610a
  • Volunteered for the 2001 CSC Montreal national conference.
  • Co-organized a session for the Pacifichem 2005 international conference.
  • Mentored undergraduate students in the completion of their Honours research projects.
  • Volunteered as an abstract sorter for the March 2009 meeting of the American Physical Society.