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 history, after being first hosted by the University of Waterloo in 1989. The ICCE reaches out to all members of the academic community: university and college faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates and high school teachers — anyone who has put effective pedagogy into practice or who wishes to learn more about novel instructional strategies and evidence-based research in chemistry education.

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Canadian Chemical News gets schooled

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
BY:

High school science teachers from across Canada now have free online access to ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News. The initiative, says Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Chair David Fung...

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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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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 in the issue of chemical warfare.However, some people might not realise that Canada itself was a major producer of chemical weapons and defoliants in the 20th century. During the First World War, chlorine and mustard gases were widely used by both opposing sides.Later, in 1939, Canadian Nobelist Sir Frederick Banting sounded the alarm about German efforts in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons.

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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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