Quiet vigilance

DEFENCE SCIENCE

On Jan. 24, smoke rose into the air on the outskirts of Mosul, a large rebel-held city 400 kilometres north of Iraq’s capital of Baghdad. The black plume marked a successful air strike for the United States, which has carried out attacks since...

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Chemistry of Baking video takes the cake in YouTube contest

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The Chemical Institute of Canada’s (CIC) fourth annual “It’s Chemistry, Eh?!” YouTube contest for high school students saw Evangeline McLaren Devenyi, a Grade 12 student at Northern Secondary School in Toronto, take first place and a cash prize of $500 for her entry, The Chemistry of Baking.

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International Year of Soils

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. The goal is to enhance awareness of the important role that soils play in human life, especially as populations increase and global demand for food and fuel rises.

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Grapevine

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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Mark Lautens, FCIC, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto was named an Officerof the Order of Canada for his contributions to organic chemistry. Christophe Guy of École Polytechnique de Montréal Department of Chemical Engineering, was named a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of his accomplishments as a chemical...

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Creating crystals for cachet

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The Chemical Institute of Canada’s National Crystal Growing Competition is a popular annual contest that tests high school students’ ability to grow the best quality, largest and heaviest single crystal. Schools across Canada were provided with materials and instructions this past September and the blue crystals, made from copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate, were submitted for national judging in November.

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Mixer cultivates new connections

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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| (L-R) Nazanin Mobrhan-Shafiee, Iain McKenzie, Madhvi Ramnial and John Canal networked after the BC Academic-Industry Mixer II presentation. The Chemical Institute of Canada’s Vancouver CIC Local Section, in partnership with the NSERC-Pacific regional office, hosted the BC Academic-Industry Mixer II this past November, bringing together members of the chemistry community. The goal of the...

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Professor inspires love of science

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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Sophie Lavieri, a Simon Fraser University senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and director of SFU’s Science in Action outreach program, was named one of Canada’s 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians last year. Lavieri, who is originally from Venezuela, has been instrumental in bringing science education to children and teens through free workshops for...

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EAR spectroscopy assesses proteins’ good vibrations

BIOCHEMISTRY

As chemically intricate as proteins may be, understanding how they work may be a matter of listening very closely. “Proteins are like little machines in your body,” says Reuven Gordon, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Victoria. “They go around doing these jobs and it’s amazing what they can accomplish. But most of their functioning...

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TRIUMF ramps up rare isotope output with ARIEL

RADIOCHEMISTRY

Vancouver-based TRIUMF, already an international focal point for accelerator-based science, is poised to help researchers take stock of radioactive isotopes that have been too rare to examine in any kind of practical way. This capability comes with the recent launch of a new facility, the Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL).

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Revving the engine of biology to solve complex problems

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

According to Vikramaditya Yadav, biological systems have a considerable head start on us when it comes to solving sophisticated problems in chemistry and chemical engineering. While we struggle to sort out the behaviour of molecules that might generate new drug compounds or be the source of hydrocarbon fuels, humble microorganisms may have long since mastered the very processes we seek.

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Smog tucks in for the night in the darnedest place

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

One of the chemical agents responsible for smog has a sleeping spot — and it is right beneath your feet. Nitrous acid (HNO2), which quickly degrades in sunlight to form the hydroxyl radical OH, appears to spend the night tucked in the ground so that it can be steadily released under the right atmospheric conditions. “Oxidation of volatile organic compounds initiated by the hydroxyl radical..

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Paper platform holds promise for disease diagnosis

ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

With a population almost three times that of Canada’s, Vietnam has just two hospitals capable of confirming the presence of measles or rubella in a patient’s body. In places where that diagnosis cannot be made, doctors often present hard choices to patients suspected of having these diseases, which can wreak havoc on the health of unborn children. Expectant mothers can be forced...

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CFI throws support behind electron microscopy facility

TECHNIQUES

The Canada Foundation for Innovation has provided the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM) with a $1.4 million award through the organization’s Major Science Initiatives program. This funding stream is designed to sustain maintenance and repair work at research facilities that make a significant contribution..

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Chemical green screen

GREEN CHEMISTRY

When the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) set its sights on two widely used antimicrobial agents last year, the organization wanted the results to have a more profound impact than a typical product warning. Such warnings may be steeped in scientific research, but that does not mean they will get a fair public hearing —...

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A fight for integrity

POLICY PUNDIT

Members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) are demanding changes to how the government deals with “public science,” including reinstating government scientists’ right to speak freely about their research. Despite a genteel name and image, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) is actually a union representing...

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Entrepreneurship 101

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Early November drizzle falls outside the MaRS Centre in downtown Toronto but inside the atmosphere is warm and buzzing. Excited chatter echoes off the brick walls and glass ceiling of the four-storey atrium — part of a restored heritage building that artfully preserves the 100-year-old College Wing of Toronto General Hospital — and the floor...

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Reflecting upon a villainous 20th century chemist

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Hannah Gay’s lecture on “The Chemists’ War” reported in January/February’s Canadian Chemical News brought so many thoughts to mind: my stepfather, gassed with chlorine at Ypres; myself, during the Second World War in London, carrying over my shoulder a gas mask – never needing to use it. How ghastly one appeared when so equipped! But...

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With patents, the devil is always in the details

INTELLECTUAL MATTERS

While I am sure he gave many memorable speeches, Bill Clinton’s most famous statement as president may actually be the following: “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” This, of course, was Clinton’s response in 1998 when asked to elaborate upon former statements he had made about illicit sexual encounters with...

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1951 Chemistry in Canada

HISTORY
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The post-Second World War period was boom time in Canada for the chemical manufacturing sector, with companies like Canadian Industries Ltd., or C-I-L, offering the latest in goods to an eager nation of consumers. Especially popular was the tubular, airtight can that, as this 1951 ad from Chemistry in Canada shows, promised unprecedented convenience, able...

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Make a mint marketing the new wonder drug H2O

CHEMFUSION

Do we laugh or cry? According to its promoters, magnetized water cures all ailments. Despite the fact that water cannot be magnetized, website upon website sells various devices that claim to do just that. They may be cups, filters, rubber bands or jugs with electrical plugs. There is talk of water molecules being “restructured,” magnetization...

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