Raising the bar for a life outside the lab

INTELLECTUAL MATTERS

When I was about halfway through my master’s degree, I began to think about what I would do in the “real world” and how I could capitalize on my chemistry degree. At the time, in my myopic view of the world, I had only one of two choices — work towards a doctoral degree and...

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Building public understanding with ‘molecular lego’

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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Deoxyribonucleic acid, the blueprint of evolution, is arguably the world’s most famous molecule. But as McGill University’s Hanadi Sleiman explained to Toronto audiences last fall, the possible applications of DNA range far beyond merely encoding and decoding genetic information. Her public talk, entitled “Molecular Lego with DNA: Building Structures for Medicine and Materials Science,” was...

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Fracking a boon for guar gum farmers

PETROCHEMISTRY

The price of guar gum, produced from the seeds of the guar plant, has been skyrocket­ing recently. While it has long been used in the food industry as a texture-modifying agent, it is its use in “fracking” that has dramatically increased its value. Fracking is the process of unlocking previously untapped oil and gas deposits...

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Then and now

HISTORY
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Shell was one of the first Canadian oil companies to expand beyond fuels to commodity chemicals like the methyl ethyl ketone trumpeted in this ad from the June 1949 issue of Chemistry in Canada. Like the ad says, such solvents were in demand for coatings for furniture and musical instruments, as well as the manufacture...

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Fireflies inspire LED coating

MATERIALS
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The jagged pattern of scales on the abdomen of a firefly has inspired researchers to create a new coating for light emitting diodes (LEDs) that extracts 55 per cent more light than noncoated LEDs. Researchers in Belgium examined fireflies and noted scales with a periodically repeating...

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Omega-3 fatty acids affect gene expression

HEALTH

Researchers at Université Laval have used transcriptomics and metabolomics to analyse the health effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) dietary supplements. The results provide new insight into how these chemicals work their benefits — and why they don’t affect everyone the same way. ...

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If academia is your path, think outside the university

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

The cover of the January 21 issue of Maclean’s, which promised to explain “why so many smart, educated, ambitious young people have no future” was enough to make any university student consider throwing in the towel on both their education and their career plans. The story goes that for the past several decades, society has...

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Milk protein enables targeted drug delivery

PHARMACEUTICALS

Chemists at Université Laval have combined a common protein found in cow and sheep milk with mesoporous silica to create a new type of functionalized nanoparticle that can deliver drugs to specific regions of the body based on differences in pH. The technology could even be made capable of distinguishing cancer cells from healthy cells....

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Job seeker, know thyself

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

In this issue's Q and A, ACCN speaks with Alan Kearns, founder of the career management firm CareerJoy, about how chemists and chemical engineers on the job hunt can leverage their skills.

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