(L-R) Yu-Ru Lee, Geoff Rayner-Canham, FCIC, and Robin Taylor were presenters at the Chemistry Show for Aboriginal Youth held at Grenfell Campus – Memorial University of Newfoundland. Photo credit: Lucia Torres
For more than 10 years, Geoff Rayner-Canham, FCIC, of Grenfell Campus – Memorial University of Newfoundland and his team of students have organized and run a travelling chemistry show in Newfoundland and Labrador that embraces such topics as new materials, polymers and consumer chemistry. Last fall, the team devised a special program, organized by Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland & Labrador (WISE NL) in Corner Brook, to present at the Aboriginal Youth Conference, held in November. The first part of the show focused on the chemistry of Inuit culture. “Every culture uses the materials available to it,” Rayner-Canham says. “The difference is that chemists can explain why the materials behave the way they do in terms of their molecular structure.”
Aboriginal students travelled to Corner Brook for the conference from other parts of the province, including Goose Bay, Nain and Conne River. Rayner-Canham says that Robin Taylor of Cow Bay, NS and Yu-Ru Lee of Taipei, Taiwan, both students in environmental chemistry, made the show a success. “The enthusiasm these two young women showed in the chemistry demonstrations they performed showed the visiting students that science — and chemistry in particular — could be part of their future studies and careers,” Rayner-Canham says. His team is currently searching for funding that would allow them to take another chemistry presentation to schools on the Labrador coast this year.