Alien landscapes and swimming pool science

CHEMISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

A glimpse into the world of Feiyue Wang, this year’s winner of our Environment Division R&D Dima Award Feiyue Wang vividly recalls the first time a Twin Otter airplane neatly deposited him on the Arctic sea ice next to the Amundsen, Canada’s research icebreaker. It was 2008 and Wang – an experienced aquatic chemist used...

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The push to disinfect and reuse disposable PPE

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

The toll of pandemic-related plastic waste from discarded PPE is mounting at an alarming rate. Health Canada estimates that between June 2020 and June 2021, 63,000 tons of COVID-19 related PPE will end up as landfill waste. Researchers are investigating possibilities for disinfecting and reusing single-use PPE, including medical gloves and hospital gowns.

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Q & A on teaching with Alison Flynn, MCIC

EDUCATION

Alison Flynn, MCIC is an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biomolecular sciences at the University of Ottawa. She leads the Flynn Research Group, focused on learning at the postsecondary level, in chemistry and across disciplines. Flynn is the 2021 winner of CIC’s Award for Chemistry Education. CIC News recently asked Flynn to...

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New anti-psychotic nasal spray could ease side effects

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

Sneaking medications past our bodies’ blood-brain barrier has always been tricky. McMaster University chemical engineer Todd Hoare recently teamed up with a group of neuroscientist colleagues to make an antipsychotic nasal spray that does just that. The spray could reduce the drug’s often nasty side effects, including weight gain, diabetes, movement disorders and organ damage.

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“Buttergate” puts palm oil supplements on the stand

LEARN

When Calgary-based food writer Julie Van Rosendaal asked followers in a social media post last month whether they too were finding butter was no longer soft at room temperature, her “buttergate” musings went viral. But the questions she raised about butter’s chemistry were perhaps just as intriguing as the media storm she unleashed.

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Q&A on teaching with Leah Martin-Visscher, MCIC

CELEBRATE

Leah Martin-Visscher is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at The King’s University, Edmonton and the 2021 winner of the Margaret-Ann Armour Award for Early Career Chemistry Education. Her research with undergraduates explores the use of bacteriophages and antimicrobial peptides for food preservation. CIC News recently asked Martin-Visscher to share some insights from the classroom.

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Methane leaks from abandoned oil and gas wells underestimated

CHEMISTRY FOR ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

When Mary Kang landed an environmental policy fellowship at Princeton University in 2012, she decided to model methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells. It didn’t take long to discover a major roadblock. “I couldn’t find any data. And you need data for modelling,” recalls Kang, now a civil engineering professor at McGill University.

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Clean energy hub makes its debut

LEARN

Catalyst (noun): an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. ‘Catalyst for change’ is such a well-worn phrase that it has lost much of its descriptive power. But in the case of a new materials research centre in Mississauga, it is apt on so many levels that it’s hard to avoid.

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New life-saving medical isotopes

CHEMISTRY FOR HEALTH

In 1971, U.S. researchers published a proof-of-concept showing how a cyclotron could produce the world’s most commonly used medical isotope. For the next four decades, the paper sat on a shelf. In 2009, University of British Columbia radiologist Dr. François Bénard dusted it off and thought, ‘Why not try to develop that technology?’

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Raising a stink

CHEMISTRY FOR ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

When something fails to pass the ‘sniff test’ – whether it’s a plan of action or the milk in the back of the fridge – it’s often best to leave it be. But when it comes to unpleasant odours in the air, we don’t have much choice. We have to breathe.

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Q&A on teaching with Mark Workentin, FCIC

EDUCATION

Mark Workentin, FCIC, is a professor of chemistry at Western University who is lauded for his entertaining and rigorous organic chemistry classes. He is a multi award-winning university teacher with honours including the OCUFA Excellence in Teaching Award and Western’s Pleva and Marilyn Robinson Awards. CIC NEWS recently asked Workentin to share some insights from his years behind the lectern. (Although he says he rarely stands at the lectern).

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The Story of CO2

PUBLICATIONS

University of Toronto chemists team up to tell us why we need not fear this small molecule Geoffrey Ozin leans in close to his computer’s camera as he warms to his subject –- the many products that can be made with waste CO2 captured from industrial processes. “Aspirin!” exclaims the University of Toronto materials chemist....

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