Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

in several times

Date created: 
2017-09-28
Abstract: 

in several times is a choreography of space, memory and the body. Developed from personal stories, family history and nostalgic association, the work aims to create a place in which several times and environments can be remembered and acknowledged simultaneously. The process of creating this work began with a trip to spaces that held significance to my family, searching for traces of the past in the present, and the recollection of senses that connect my body to these spaces and my history. The work has been developed with the creative input of five performers, two sound designers and a lighting designer who meet in an ever evolving concert, enveloped in wafts of fresh dill and lemon. Presented in traverse arrangement, with two different sound spaces at either end of the corridor, the performance surrounds the viewer bringing them into the collective act and embodiment of remembering, recalling and sensing.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rob Kitsos
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

visiting hundun's territory

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-19
Abstract: 

visiting hundun’s territory is a sculpture that stands 3 m tall, 2 m wide, and 0.9 m deep. The sculpture is made up of several elements: a drawing cut into a screen, fluorescent lights, a plastic curtain, and automated fans. The sculpture breathes, blowing its curtain when it exhales and sucking it against a screen door when it inhales, revealing the abstracted drawing. As a research project, this work intersects Daoist philosophies, Islamic art practices, and contemporary theories to agitate settled concepts such as infinity, spontaneity, and spirituality. The work explores the relationship between knowledge and intuition; going beyond concepts of quantifiable knowledge and embodied knowledge in an attempt to think through a concept of non-discursive knowledge.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Video detailing visiting hundun’s territory as installed in at the Audain Gallery, Vancouver, September 2017.
Senior supervisor: 
Laura Marks
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Channelized deposits and regional parasequence sets of the Grouse Paleovalley: McMurray Formation, Alberta, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-20
Abstract: 

The Grouse Paleovalley occurs in the south-central portion of the McMurray Sub-Basin. Regionally continuous parasequence sets and associated channel belts, capped by allogenic flooding surfaces were investigated within the McMurray Formation to determine depositional settings and their stratigraphic significance. Core descriptions and wireline data were used to map surfaces and facies associations across the study area. Three stacked parasequence sets were investigated. The two oldest parasequence sets are interpreted to represent deposition of a prograding, sheltered shoreface to bay-margin, punctuated by brackish-water channels in a low accommodation setting. The youngest parasequence set is interpreted to have been deposited in a wave/storm-dominated prograding delta, also in a low accommodation setting. A new stratigraphic model for the upper McMurray is proposed, consisting of transgressive and highstand systems tracts. The progradational successions represent the highstand phases, whereas ravinement and retrogradation constitute the transgressive phases.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Shahin Dashtgard
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Food Sovereignty and Community Development: Shellfish Aquaculture in the Nanwakolas First Nations

Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

Aquaculture is promoted by governments and industry as a solution to the impending crisis of a growing and hungry world population, although technological solutions to food shortages have historically had social consequences. In partnership with the Nanwakolas Council, we researched the social and economic impacts of land-based aquaculture development with a focus on a potential shellfish hatchery. The two aims of the project were 1) to develop a Sustainability Assessment tool that the community could use to assess such projects and 2) to investigate the likely impacts of a potential shellfish hatchery in relation to food systems. First, we found that the Nanwakolas’ existing Community Wellbeing Wheel could be developed into a Sustainability Assessment framework by testing it with a community dialogue about a potential shellfish hatchery. We identified gaps in the first iteration of the framework as recommended improvements in several sustainability dimensions, along with the proposed new sustainability dimension of Community Capacity. Next, we explored a shellfish hatchery from the perspective of food sovereignty using the Nyéléni conference principles as an analytical framework to analyze interview and dialogue responses. We isolated some of the strengths and weaknesses of a shellfish hatchery for Nanwakolas food sovereignty, particularly highlighting ways in which this non-traditional method of food production might build sovereignty and resource governance capacity. Additionally, our results indicate that a discussion between consumption vs. commodification of community food resources over-simplifies the possible paths to food sovereignty, as defining production can itself help build food sovereignty. Lastly, we found Community Capacity to be an underlying limit to food sovereignty, but also something that the Community Wellbeing Wheel could specifically address through future community dialogue.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Roseland
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Investigation of H atom and free radical behavior in gas hydrates

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-15
Abstract: 

Gas hydrates (or clathrate hydrates) are solid crystalline materials composed of a framework of hydrogen-bonded water molecules arranged to form cages which can contain small guest molecules. They have been a subject of research in the oil and gas industry, for carbon dioxide sequestration, gas storage and separation. In order to better understand the applications of hydrates, there is a need to study them at the molecular scale, but there has been relatively little investigation of chemical reactions of the guest molecules. In this thesis project, muon spin spectroscopy was used for the first time to investigate the behavior of muonium (a light isotope of hydrogen) and free radicals in hydrates. Muonium (Mu) and muoniated free radicals were observed in the hydrates of cyclopentene, furan, 2,5- and 2,3-dihydrofuran, pyrrole, thiophene, isoxazole, benzene and acetone. In order to confirm that hydrates were formed, they were characterized by PXRD and solid state 129Xe-NMR and 13C-NMR. The free radicals were formed by addition of Mu to unsaturated organic compounds that reside as isolated guests in the hydrates. Muon and other nuclear hyperfine coupling constants (hfcs) were extracted from μSR spectra of the radicals and compared to liquid-phase data. DFT calculations of hfcs were used to guide the spectral assignments and distinguish between competing radical products where applicable. An extra μ-LCR resonance was seen in the spectra of radicals in the hydrate, indicating that they have restricted motion compared to the liquid state. Muonium and muoniated free radicals were observed simultaneously in the hydrates of acetone and benzene. This was previously only observed in C60 powder and shows that Mu and the radical are in physically separated environments in the hydrates. The Mu amplitude decreases while the radical amplitude increases with temperature. This is consistent with Mu diffusion from the small cage to the large cage in the hydrates, where it can react with the guest. The diffusion occurs at a lower temperature in the acetone hydrate compared to the benzene hydrate.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Paul Percival
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Impossible places: The aesthetic unconscious and post-migrant Iranian subjectivity in Los Angeles

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-27
Abstract: 

This dissertation contributes to the geographical literature on migration, aesthetics, and psychoanalysis by examining the social and psychical spaces of Iranian-American artists, migrants, and cultural producers in Los Angeles, California. Attending to the dynamic formations of the unconscious during fieldwork, data analysis, and the writing phase of the research, the dissertation explores the emergence of a distinctive Iranian aesthetic in Los Angeles, which since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has become home to the largest Iranian population outside of Iran. I conceptualize such an aesthetic using the psychoanalytic works by (and associated with) Jacques Lacan, especially his concept of “the Real,” which defines how people’s senses of reality are threatened by the inconsistencies of language, blind spots in the field of vision, antagonisms that permeate social bonds, and intense affects such as anxiety and shame that threaten a coherent sense of the self. The study asks what are the main symptoms that accompany the experiences of Iranian-American migrants and artists? How do art and aesthetic experiences produce and inform encounters with the traumatic dimensions of migration? What role do images play in the discourses of cultural organizations, film festivals, and other art events? To answer these questions, I conduct ethnographic research consisting of empirical observations of Iranian-American artists, art institutions, art and film festivals, and members of my own immediate and extended family in Los Angeles through participant observation, psychoanalytic listening, semi-structured interviews, and autobiographic insights. I argue that much of Los Angeles’ Iranian aesthetic can be understood as an attempt to creatively respond to the painful and unspeakable aspects of migration. Crucial here are the life trajectory disruptions and displacements that comprise the Real of migrant experiences in their new home city: a fraught yet productive conflict that emerges out of the potentialities of the past (what could have been but never happened) and the immediacies of the present (life as it is currently lived). My study reveals that while some actors and communities seek to harness the artistic energies of the Real, others attempt to avoid it altogether.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Paul Kingsbury
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Model for police dispatching and shift scheduling

Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

Emergency services have been in existence since the beginning of recorded history, yet most efficient and effective use of resources in this field is still considered an open problem. In this thesis, we explore the challenges involved in police services, and present an approach for determining police force capacity for a given call for service data. We use mathematical programming for modeling police dispatching and shift scheduling, and test our method on real occurrence data.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Binay Bhattacharya
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Ion Exchange Materials with Enhanced Stability

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-21
Abstract: 

Fuel cells are often seen as an alternative to batteries and internal combustion engines to provide electrical power in portable, stationary, or automotive applications. However, several challenges have to be overcome to enable widespread market penetration. One of these challenges is the limited lifetime of fuel cells, or more specifically, the durability and stability of polymer electrolyte membranes. In proton exchange membrane fuel cells, the chemical degradation of widely used perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes can be inhibited by radical scavengers. Instead of time-consuming in situ investigations, radicals are widely generated ex situ by Fenton’s reagent, but this also leads to an unrealistic accumulation of iron species. In a newly developed, time saving test protocol, CeO2, ZrO2 and yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) are investigated for their ability to protect PFSA membranes against radical attack and their diverse impact on the membrane properties. In alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cells, the durability depends on the caustic resistance of the functional groups providing anion conductivity. Theoretical considerations are performed to understand the stability of benzimidazolium and imidazolium with different substituents for steric protection. Limited structural integrity of anion-conducting polymers in challenging environment can lead to restricted usability. The incorporation of crosslinks is investigated as a convenient approach to control ion exchange capacity, prevent dissolution and enhance anion conduction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Holdcroft
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

DNA Repair by DNA with Visible Light: Investigations and Implications

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-27
Abstract: 

The DNAzyme UV1C was selected previously on the basis of its ability to utilize UV-B light to catalyze the repair of a cis-syn cyclobutane thymine dimer in which no phosphodiester linkage exists between the dimerized thymines. Systematic replacement of each of nine guanines in and around the active site by the guanine analog 6-MI allowed the expansion of the photocatalytic cross section throughout the UV-A and to the edge of the visible. The behaviour of these mutants fell into 3 classes. In one class, replacement of guanines in the quadruplex did not disrupt the wild-type activity. In another class, quadruplex positions, when replaced with 6-MI, led to a decrease in activity in the UV-B but new activity in the UV-A, providing strong evidence for exactly which guanine residues are catalytic in the DNAzyme. Most surprisingly, the G-23 position, thought to be near the active site but not catalytic in UV1C, when replaced with 6-MI, leads to a full retention of activity in the UV-B with the strongest gain of activity in the UV-A. Further modifications to the G-23 position pushed its activity to maximize in the visible, but also ultimately disrupted the quadruplex-dependent activity in the UV-B. While selected against a model thymine dimer substrate, the DNAzyme is also shown to have photocatalytic activity on a bona fide DNA substrate. The continuity of the natural DNA substrate allows us to measure for the first time the effect of the UV1C DNAzyme on the rate of both thymine dimer formation as well as the rate of repair. When compared to double-stranded and single-stranded controls, at its photostationary state, UV1C leads to an overall reduction in fraction of dimerized thymines. Surprisingly, UV1C catalyzes both the repair and formation of thymine dimers in natural DNA, but more slowly than the model substrate that it was selected against. Together, these results shed further light on the emerging field of protein-independent thymine dimer repair. Arguments connecting the self-repair properties of DNA to the RNA world and prebiotic chemistry are offered.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dipankar Sen
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Finding beauty in the dissonance: Analysis and applications of Bayesian inverse problems

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-27
Abstract: 

Inverse problems – the process of recovering unknown parameters from indirect measurements – are encountered in various areas of science, technology and engineering including image processing, medical imaging, geosciences, astronomy, aeronautics engineering and machine learning. Statistical and probabilistic methods are promising approaches to solving such problems. Of these, the Bayesian methods provide a principled approach to incorporating our existing beliefs about the parameters (the prior model) and randomness in the data. These approaches are at the forefront of extensive current investigation. Overwhelmingly, Gaussian prior models are used in Bayesian inverse problems since they provide mathematically simple and computationally efficient formulations of important inverse problems. Unfortunately, these priors fail to capture a range of important properties including sparsity and natural constraints such as positivity, and so we are motivated to study non-Gaussian priors. In this thesis we provide a systematic study of the theory and applications of Bayesian approaches to inverse problems with non-Gaussian priors. We develop the theory of well-posedness of infinite-dimensional Bayesian inverse problems with convex, heavy-tailed or infinitely divisible prior measures. We also introduce new prior measures that aim to model compressible or sparse parameters. Next, we demonstrate the applications of Bayesian approaches to important inverse problems in industrial applications: the estimation of emission rates of particulate matter, and the estimation of acoustic aberrations in ultrasound treatment. We propose two Bayesian approaches for the problem of estimating the emission rates of particulate matter into the atmosphere from far field measurements of deposition. Next, we present a Bayesian method for estimation of acoustic aberrations in high intensity focused ultrasound treatment of tissue in the brain using magnetic resonance images. The final contribution of this thesis is a systematic construction and convergence analysis of regularizations of the Dirac delta distribution. Point sources arise naturally in many models and we discuss smooth regularizations of these.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John M. Stockie
Nilima Nigam
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.