It’s not too often that a magazine can count a Member of the Order of Canada among its contributors. This issue, however, the Canadian Chemical News (ACCN) happily can. Peter Calamai, ACCN’s “Policy Pundit” columnist, received the honour this past December in recognition of a remarkable career in journalism. A former national science writer for the Toronto Star and a foreign correspondent, Calamai has long championed adult literacy in Canada. He continues to influence and inform people today, not only in the pages of ACCN but as a journalism professor at Carleton University.

The Canadian chemistry sector as a whole has Order of Canada bragging rights, with Mark Lautens, FCIC, of the University of Toronto being named an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to organic chemistry. Christophe Guy, CEO of école Polytechnique de Montréal, also became a Member of the Order of Canada for his achievements as a chemical engineering professor and researcher and university administrator.

You may still be harbouring the winter blahs, but this March-April issue of ACCN will help banish them. Soon-to-be graduates will be interested in Tyler Irving’s story “Entrepreneurship 101,” which shows how to mix business and chemistry and chemical engineering know-how for profit.

In “Quiet Vigilance,” ACCN takes a look at the vital watchdog role that the Biological and Chemical Defence Review Committee plays to ensure that Canada’s military research always remains defensive and never offensive in nature. A third feature, “Chemical Green Screen,” is an in-depth look at an analytical tool that is increasingly being used by corporations like Staples and HP to weed out product constituents like triclosan and triclocarban that have raised environmental and health concerns.

ACCN’s regular line up of Chemical News presents a raft of stories. These include an exposé of nitrous acid — one of the chemical agents responsible for smog — which escapes being degraded by sunlight by hiding in soil. Another story discusses a special species of algae called Euglena gracillis with a huge appetite for pollutants like phosphorus, heavy metals and even silver nanoparticles, a newly emerging contaminant. There is also an important innovation out of the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering that will make testing for measles and rubella in the developing world cheap and easy. Finally, the TRIUMF facility in Vancouver can add another notch in its panoply of cutting-edge achievements with the opening of the Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL), allowing researchers to analyze rare radioactive isotopes like bismuth, lutetium, strontium and yttrium.