Then and Now

HISTORY

B A. Shawinigan Ltd. may have taken creative liberties with our nation’s iconic beaver, depicting it as a dual-toned animal with a penchant for hard hats, but it was still a Canadian company through and through.  Its roots lay with the British American Oil Company Ltd., created by 29-year-old Albert Leroy Ellsworth of Welland, Ont.,...

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Then and Now

HISTORY

It is curious to think that we can thank 30 million-year-old unicellular algae-like creatures called diatoms for the appealing appearance of such modern consumer goods as cooking oil, liquid soap, beer and wine. Fossilized diatoms are what make up diatomaceous earth, an abundant, soft, sedimentary rock rich in biogenic silica, derived from diatom cell walls....

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The King of Synthesis

CLASS DISTINCTION

University of British Columbia Okanagan undergraduate Jeff Kerkovius wants to create molecules that change the world.  Jeff Kerkovius of Kelowna, BC had an especially precocious predilection for chemistry. At age eight he asked his grandparents for a special Christmas gift: baking soda and vinegar, “so I could mix them together.” His grandparents indulged the request and Kerkovius...

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The Big Chill

MATERIALS CHEMISTRY

Is hockey the greatest sport on earth? Few Canadians would disagree. In terms of speed and intensity, hockey is unmatched by any other game. It is also the consummate team sport. A win is impossible unless every player works together, each athlete giving — as the cliché goes — 110 percent.

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Power Couple

ENERGY

It was a summer of extremes, from fires blackening Western Canadian forests to a shrivelling drought in California to heat waves that baked Pakistan and India. Meteorologists pointed the finger at El Niño, the irregularly occurring weather system that causes extreme weather events like droughts, flooding and tropical storms. But some scientists and environmentalists also...

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Safety catch

REGULATIONS

March came in like a lion for Port Metro Vancouver when a shipping container full of trichloroisocyanuric acid imported from China exploded, creating a massive chemical fire with toxic brown-grey smoke that swept east into the city as well as the neighbouring municipalities of Burnaby and Coquitlam.  The March 4 afternoon blaze forced thousands of...

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Quiet vigilance

DEFENCE SCIENCE

On Jan. 24, smoke rose into the air on the outskirts of Mosul, a large rebel-held city 400 kilometres north of Iraq’s capital of Baghdad. The black plume marked a successful air strike for the United States, which has carried out attacks since...

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Something fishy with nanotechnology?

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Nanotech: Think big by thinking small. That could be nanotechnology’s tagline, if indeed this hot area of science needed a cool slogan — which it doesn’t. That’s because nanotech is already the wunderkind of science and the darling of the industrial world. Embraced by the public and researchers alike, nanotechnology is being touted as the...

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