For some of you who, for whatever reason, missed out on the early 1990s hip-hop scene, an explanation of this issue’s cover appeal might be in order. Vanilla Ice’s hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” was the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts. It also nicely sums up this issue’s chemical engineering story, which details how flawless hockey ice is created at NHL rinks. In our minds, it’s not just the players who deserve the glory but the crew that keeps the ice temperature stable, maintains the brine that circulates under the arena floor and monitors the anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system that keeps the brine chilled. Management at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks, kindly took ACCN behind the scenes to show how it’s done.
There’s more than just hockey on our minds this issue. In “Worth its Salt?” Tyler Irving looks at the world of nuclear fission and discovers the seeds of a renaissance. With the repercussions of climate change becoming ever more severe, the world is seeking alternatives to petroleum energy. A new variety of small-scale nuclear reactors could offer advantages that renewables likes solar so far seem to lack.
If you have a headache from watching your favourite hockey team lose yet again (a problem for us Canucks fans in past seasons), then you’ll be glad to know that Canada’s embattled pharmaceutical industry has taken a turn for the better. Specifically, this is the creation of NEOMED Institute, a not-for-profit group that was started when pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca abandoned its spacious Montreal digs in 2012. As Tim Lougheed writes, NEOMED is taking on the challenge of finding new ways to turn pharmaceutical prospects into marketable products.
Our Chemistry News section presents a host of interesting stories, including new ways of testing materials destined to be used in a nuclear reactor, the creation of a new portal offering information on the most useful chemical probes for biological testing and the creation of unique materials that might some day mend broken hearts.
By the time you flip through ACCN, the results of Canada’s hard-fought national election will be tallied. This issue includes a column by Paul Dufour, principal of PaulicyWorks and a University of Ottawa adjunct professor, analyzing what the election results mean for the nation’s disgruntled science community.
With the holiday season just around the corner, we wish you and your family all the best. And, of course, Go Canucks!