Microplastic pollution more complex than we think

CHEMISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Scientists began reporting microplastic pollution in the ocean as far back as the 1970s but our understanding of these tiny particles’ impact on fish is only just catching up.  Their harm is due to factors not generally considered in toxicology testing – the plastics’ size, shape and chemical makeup.

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Dark Russian alleys and a shout out to Nixon

CONFERENCES

Zafra Lerman is an American chemist and President of the Malta Conferences Foundation, which promotes peace by bringing together scientists from hostile countries to discuss science and foster collaboration. Lerman recently spoke with CICNews editor Sharon Oosthoek in advance of her plenary presentation at IUPAC CCCE 2021 in August.

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Fast cars and lessons from the skating rink

CONNECT

Donald Sadoway is a materials chemistry professor at MIT who studies the scientific underpinnings for technologies that make efficient use of energy and natural resources in an environmentally sound manner. The overarching theme of his work is electrochemistry in nonaqueous media. Sadoway recently spoke with CICNews editor Sharon Oosthoek in advance of his plenary presentation at IUPAC CCCE 2021 in August.

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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, MCIC 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...

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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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