Students solve theoretical chemistry problems at the Canadian Chemistry Olympiad championship.

Students solve theoretical chemistry problems at the Canadian Chemistry Olympiad championship. Photo credit: Western University

This past June proved to be a dynamic and busy month for chemistry students from the Atlantic provinces. Not only did Halifax host the 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, it also provided the backdrop for a number of events targeting undergraduate and graduate students. These included a workshop on Sustainable Approaches to Materials Research, the 7th Canadian Chemical Crystallography Workshop (CCCW16) and the 41st Annual Science Atlantic – CIC Chemistry Conference (ChemCon 2016).

Seventeen graduate and undergraduate students from as far away as Victoria gathered at Saint Mary’s University for CCCW16. Sessions covered a range of topics and techniques, including basic concepts, software tutorials, data analyses, structure factors, crystallographic databases and — the bane of every new crystallographer’s existence — methods for growing excellent crystals. The five-day workshop culminated in a series of student presentations. Next year’s event, CCCW17, will take place in Ontario close to the date of the 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, which is set for May 28-June 1 in Toronto.

ChemCon 2016 took place June 2-4 at Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University, attracting 75 undergraduate and graduate students from the region. ChemCon 2016 featured two keynote speakers: crystal engineer Michael Zaworotko of the University of Limerick in Ireland and organic chemist Tomas Hudlicky of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. Fifty-two delegates presented their research during the event, showcasing the innovative work taking place in Atlantic Canada.

Awards were also handed out. The Science Atlantic Undergraduate Research Award and Undergraduate Communication Award went to Bradley Greene and Kyle Awalt of Saint Mary’s University while the Best Graduate Oral and Poster Presentation awards went to Alex Veinot, also of Saint Mary’s, and Chris Lavoie of Dalhousie University. Social events included an on-campus barbeque with live DJ and a pub tour of downtown Halifax, during which delegates from ChemCon2016 and CCCW16 crossed paths and mingled. A full list of ChemCon2016 award winners can be found on the Science Atlantic website.