Seeing the green light at the end of the tunnel

A third year lab course on organic synthesis techniques should have been just one more milestone for University of Toronto chemistry students John Russell and Leanna Smid. Instead, it spawned an entrepreneurial adventure that could alter the environmental footprint of teaching laboratories everywhere. “We both noticed that the issue of solvent waste was ever prevalent...

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Chemistry clicks for the latest Lionel scholar

This year’s winner of the Lionel High School Scholarship proudly flaunts her passion for chemistry and all that it implies. “I have been a science nerd since the dawn of time,” says Emma Pflanz, who recalls making it to the all-school finals of a science fair competition with her Grade 4 entry about how the...

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Meeting a viral challenge

Laboratories around the world are racing to understand COVID-19, the potentially lethal virus that has upended everything from our personal lifestyles to the underpinnings of the global economy. Such work is also taking place in David Evans’ lab at the University of Alberta, where he contrasts the public perception of it with research he conducted...

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Stepping out of science and into something less comfortable

Patience is an undeniable virtue in science, and not just in matters confined to the laboratory. Alison Thompson, MCIC and winner of the 2020 Clara Benson Award, recently offered an intimate account of the instrumental role patience has played throughout her career. Thompson, who is a member of Dalhousie University’s Department of Chemistry, was the...

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Innovating along a linear path

It has been a decade since the world grappled with the challenge posed by Canada’s aging nuclear reactor, the NRU, which at one point was producing almost half of the global supply of Molybdenum 99, an isotope used in millions of medical scans every year. The reactor was finally retired in 2018, but a concerted...

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Celebrating the rainbow

The indefatigable scientist Richard Feynman once defended the subjectivity of beauty by pointing out that if our eyes were receptive to a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum, the only description of a rainbow would be found in dry research papers, devoid of all the romance we associate with this phenomenon. On the other hand,...

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Meeting a critical need in a supercritical way

It has been almost a decade since Gisele Azimi was pursuing post-doctoral work at MIT, where she realized just how dependent our technology was becoming on rare earth elements, which pose significant environmental and economic challenges as they are being processed into components for everything from cell phone sensors to wind turbine generators. “We are...

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Teaming up in the trenches of on-line teaching

COMMUNITY NEWS

Post-secondary chemistry instructors across the country have generally reconciled themselves to teaching in on-line settings for the foreseeable future and most of them are preparing to deliver all kinds of course content in this way. Depending on the size of their institution, however, some of these individuals may not have access to the knowledge or...

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Getting maple syrup to show its true colours

RESEARCH & INNOVATION

Gold may be among the most distinctive colours in nature, but the element shows a very different character at smaller scales. At sizes of less than 100 nanometers, they absorb green light from the spectrum and turn a burgundy red. As they bind with other molecules, these nanoparticles can clump together to absorb different wavelengths...

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Canada Research Chair-holder honoured by CSChE

RECOGNITION

Ajay Dalai, FCIC, a Distinguished Professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is the 2020 recipient of the R. S. Jane Memorial Award. This annual distinction, inaugurated in 1960, commemorates the outstanding contributions of the late Dr. Robert Stephen Jane by honouring others who have made their own exceptional achievements...

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Taking stock of a working group that has worked

COMMUNITY NEWS

Although the current COVID crisis means CCCE is not taking place in Winnipeg this month, The Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Working Group on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (WIDE) continues to build on the legacy of past conferences and develop new standards for future events. “The CSC put EDI forward as a strategic initiative in 2016...

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Nano-scale innovation makes an outsized impact

COMMUNITY NEWS

The same technology that safeguards the authenticity of the bills in our purses and wallets has provided a new medium for creative visual expression, thanks to an innovative collaboration between artists and the engineers who originally developed that technology. The roots of this work lie in the Bank of Canada’s never-ending quest to make the...

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