Chemistry on Mars

RESEARCH

Just over a year ago, the biggest Mars space exploration vehicle, or rover, yet built was gently lowered from a rocket-powered ‘sky crane’ onto the surface of the red planet.

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Advances in Rubber

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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Members of the CIC Rubber Division pose in front of a giant tire at the organization’s 62nd technical program held June 18-19 in Leduc, Alta. The theme for the biannual event was “Rubber Technology Advances in the Oil Field Industry,” which attracted about 60 attendees including 11 speakers from the rubber industry. Presenters gave talks...

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CIC Toronto Section AGM

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The Chemical Institute of Canada Toronto Section annual general meeting was held this past June at the University of Toronto. The agenda included a review of activities the section had undertaken since the last AGM as well as the election of the new officers. The event also featured a presentation by U of T chemistry lecturer Effiette Sauer titled, “Teaching chemistry for the future: what do we want our students to remember...

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Grapevine

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) 2013 Award winners will be recognized at the Oct. 20-23 Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Fredericton, N.B. ...

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Canada nabs triple bronze at Chemistry Olympiad

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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The Canadian high school team at the 45th International Chemistry Olympiad in Moscow, Russia had an outstanding showing at this year’s July 15-24 annual event. All four team members received awards: Isabelle Yang, of Don Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto, David Pechersky of Vaughan Secondary School, Vaughan, Ont., and Ji Sup Kim of Yale Secondary...

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Inorganic chemistry graduate winner

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
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This year’s winner of the Award for Graduate Work in Inorganic Chemistry goes to Kiyoshi Robson of the University of Calgary. Last December, the Vernon, B.C. native completed his PhD, studying tridentate cycloruthenated sensitizers for the dyesensitized solar cells under professor Curtis Berlinguette. The work has spawned one patent and 12 peer-reviewed articles, with five...

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Deadly Dust

MATERIALS

In January 2012, an explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C. killed two workers and injured 19. Three months later a second explosion, this one at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., killed two people and injured 22. In both cases, combustible dust from mountain pine beetle-killed wood was...

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Prometheus Unbound

MATERIALS

Simon Fraser University, a scattered collection of glass and concrete buildings crowning Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia, seems an odd place to encounter an ancient Greek legend. But Prometheus — doomed to eternal torment by Zeus for stealing fire from the gods to benefit humanity — has been reborn in the verdant setting as a...

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Engineering improved­ heart fibres from stem cells

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Chemical engineers from the University of Toronto have created a set of mini-bioreactors that act as a kind of training gym to turn human stem cells into functional heart tissue. And like any training regimen, they’ve discovered that pushing the cells to their limits yields better results. Because mature cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) rarely divide,...

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Total synthesis­ of Quebecol­ accomplished­

MATERIALS

Chemistry doesn’t get more Canadian than this. Researchers at Université Laval have reported the total synthesis of Quebecol, a molecule isolated from maple syrup which may have anti-cancer properties. A 2011 paper in the Journal of Functional Foods describes how a novel phenolic compound was isolated from maple syrup by a team from the University...

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Iron nanoparticles provide greener hydrogenation

GREEN CHEMISTRY

Researchers from McGill University and Japan have developed a system of polymer-embedded iron nanoparticles that provide a cheaper and more sustainable way to catalyse a wide variety of hydrogenation reactions. Current catalysts for hydrogenation — commonly used in the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals — are based on metals such as palladium and platinum, which are...

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Functional microparticles created by ultrasonication

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Researchers from McGill University have discovered that ultrasonication — normally used to tear materials apart — can instead stick them together to form porous, functional microparticles with potential applications in medicine, alternative energy and more. Two years ago, PhD student David Basset was using high-frequency sound waves to blast apart a porous ceramic material coated...

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Cranberry compounds could prevent infection

HEALTH

Unlike many so-called health foods, the purported ability of cranberries to fight infections — especially urinary tract infections — is actually backed up by science. Now, a team of chemical engineers from McGill University has demonstrated that cranberry-derived compounds could be incorporated into catheters and other implantable materials to fight off bacterial pathogens. Traditionally, the...

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Polymer nano-devices provide­ advanced biosensing­

POLYMERS

A group at the University of Alberta is using a unique thermo-sensitive polymer to create devices that could one day provide quick, visual detection of disease biomarkers. Michael Serpe, a chemistry professor at U of A, has been working with poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAm) since graduate school. “You can imagine it as a spaghetti strand floating...

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Identifying system failures at Lac Mégantic

REGULATION

On July 6, Canadians woke up to the news of the derailment and fire at Lac Mégantic, Que. — a tragic accident on such a scale that it was featured in news media around the world. The facts are not fully known at this stage, but it looks as if the proximate cause was a runaway unmanned train that derailed at the curve in Lac ...

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Patents must clearly identify­ the inventors

INTELLECTUAL MATTERS

When a patent application is filed, the inventors named on the application are the original owners of the invention. Of course, these initial ownership rights are often subject to other contractual obligations, such as an employment contract or other assignment document. During patent litigation, a party challenging a patent may attempt to invalidate a patent...

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Then and now

HISTORY
BY:

Herbert Dow, the founder of Dow Chemical, was born in Belleville, Ont. in 1866, the son of Joseph Dow, a master mechanic and sometime chemist. The younger Dow grew up in the United States and, after graduating from the Case School of Applied Science in Ohio, pioneered new processes to create chlorine chemicals and organic...

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Of Greek gods, gold and gibberish

CHEMFUSION

The term “hermetically sealed” derives from the name of the Greek god Hermes, who conducted souls into the afterlife. When the Greeks learned that the Egyptians had a god Thoth, or Tehuti, who specialized in wisdom and learning, they named him Hermes Trismegistus, or “thrice greatest Hermes.” Supposedly Hermes Trismegistus was the scribe of the...

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