View the March/April 2014 Canadian Chemical News (ACCN) print issue as a PDF.

DREAMS Weaver

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Dalhousie University chemistry and physics professor Mary Anne White likes to talk. She’s good at it. She’s good at materials science too — renowned...

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Pure pursuit

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

If it’s unfair to judge a book by its cover, it’s equally unfair to judge a promising new technology by the ho-hum building housing it. When first arriving at Xogen Technologies’ wastewater...

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Navigating a competitive advantage for science and business

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

In 1990, the University of Waterloo’s Janusz Pawliszyn developed a new method of collecting and analyzing water samples, a common practice that had scarcely changed since the 1980s. Pawliszyn’s method, called solid phase microextraction (SPME), allows some contaminants to be extracted on-site without the use of organic solvents while making sampling faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly. It was inevitable that industry would take note. Indeed, when one of Pawliszyn’s former students went to work for Maxxam Analytics in Toronto, she took the idea with her and a great partnership began.

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Conference will showcase advances in chemistry education

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

This July, about 500 scientists from around the globe will gather in Toronto to share and celebrate advances in the pedagogy and practice of chemistry education. The 23 rd International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) International Conference on Chemistry Education (ICCE) makes its way to Canada for only the second time in its...

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When it comes to contracts, know what you’re signing

INTELLECTUAL MATTERS

In my previous column, I discussed how intellectual property, like any other form of property, can be assigned, licensed, bequeathed, etc. When a patent application is filed, the inventors listed on the application are the original owners of the invention. The initial ownership of the invention is subject, however, to any pre-existing contract the inventor...

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Grapevine

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
BY:

Geoff Rayner-Canham, FCIC, of Memorial University and Tina Overton of the University of Hull, United Kingdom, authored the newly published Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, 6th edition. The textbook includes a correlation of...

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Students sparkle at crystal awards

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
BY:

Canadian high school students and teachers, including some international entries, competed last fall in the Chemical Institute of Canada’s annual National Crystal Growing Competition to create the best quality, largest and heaviest single crystal using sodium potassium aluminum sulfate (Na-K Alum). Regional and national prizes were awarded by competition sponsor Anachemia A VWR Company. Winners...

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2013 It’s Chemistry, Eh?! contest winners announced

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
BY:

The 2013 It’s Chemistry Eh?! YouTube contest was an overwhelming success with 22 entries from high school students across Canada. The videos embraced such chemistry topics as the benefits of chemistry in everyday life to contributions by recognized chemists and busting chemistry myths. First place went to David Aukema for the video “Chemistry is Everywhere.” Marta...

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Urine — a miracle substance through the ages

CHEMFUSION

The ancient Romans, of course, didn’t have washing machines. But they had the next best thing. They had fullonicae, laundries where servants called fullones washed clothes. Don’t picture some sort of hand-washing operation though. In a fullonica it was mostly feet that did the work. Clothes were sprinkled with wood ashes and then piled into...

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Then and Now

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
BY:

On going concerns about Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own civilians and Canada’s role in detecting and destroying the vast arsenal have renewed public interest...

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Glass toughens up with lessons from mother nature

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Mollusc shells consist largely of chalk, the same soft stuff that comes apart so easily on blackboards. Yet this material provides aquatic life with protection tougher than advanced engineering ceramics. The difference can be seen at the microscopic level, where the shell is revealed as an interlocking series of small tablets, intricately connected to provide remarkable resilience.

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Superconductors hang 10 riding the charge waves

FUNDAMENTALS

The extraordinary properties of superconductivity have regularly frustrated researchers, who have successfully identified it in many different materials, but always at temperatures too low for a widespread technological impact. The search for superconducting materials — which lack any resistance to electrical flow — has regularly frustrated researchers; while many such materials have been discovered, they only work at temperatures too low for widespread application.

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Water testing for E. coli gets smart treatment

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

A handheld system developed through an India-Canada research network promises to provide on-the-spot testing of drinking water sources in more remote locations, immediately confirming the absence or presence of harmful E. coli bacteria and transmitting the results electronically to all interested parties. This approach represents a significant improvement over standard...

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Nanoparticles deliver the goods against cancer, then go

HEALTH

The best way of applying medicines powerful enough to kill cancerous tumours is to ensure that they wind up in those tumours and nowhere else in the body. In a recent Nature Nanotechnology paper, researchers at the University of Toronto point the way to just this kind of targeted delivery, which takes advantage of the properties of gold nanoparticles.

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Shedding light on the secrets of plant photosynthesis

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

While untold numbers of plants have carried out photosynthesis for hundreds of millions of years, the nature of this subtle process continues to elude us. Scientists are, however, focusing increasingly sophisticated tools on this problem, raising hopes that this fundamental biological activity will eventually reveal its secrets.

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Small publication means big exposure for collaborators

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Three researchers at Polytechnique Montréal have published a paper that was featured as the cover story for the Wiley publication Small, which has an impact factor that puts it among the world’s leading publications covering topics in nano-scale and micro-scale chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering, medicine and biology.

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