What do you do at the CIC?
My name appears as the writer on many of the articles for Canadian Chemical News, but I also serve as the editor, which means I am involved in the handling of most of the items you see there. This process starts with prowling a wide range of news sources for information about what is happening in the larger world of chemical sciences, picking out stories that matter for the membership, then working with writers to shape these narratives into the final form you see on the CIC News site.
How has your background led up to this work?
I have been writing and editing science news as a freelancer for more than 30 years, working with a wide range of organizations over that time. This experience has allowed me to gain an extraordinary perspective on all aspects of how science and technology operate — not just high-profile discoveries and publications that we all love to discuss, but the much less prominent work that goes on behind the scenes, in areas such as policy, funding, and the day-to-day administration of infrastructure. These topics usually receive far less attention even from dedicated science journalists, but these parts of the research and development process are integral to the lives of people who work in challenging fields like chemistry. In fact, despite all the attention given to findings from deep within the atom to the furthest corners of the universe, the best stories start with the creativity, vision, and dreams of these same people, who are the driving force in any endeavour.
What else should people know about CIC?
It is easy to think of institutions such as universities and major publishers as the “glue” that holds the scientific community together, but the distinctive culture of this community is actually defined by bodies specifically created for that purpose. In the chemical sciences in Canada, CIC has played this important role for more than a century, linking individuals and institutions who play a crucial role in sustaining the momentum of the chemical sciences. This is a common meeting ground and forum for posing questions, starting debates, and taking action on subjects that members regard as significant. Although Canadians often shy away from the notion of an “exclusive” gathering — a term we associate with elitism and privilege — CIC is exclusive in the best sense of the term: a place where those who are inspired by this work and committed to its most technical features can share their inspiration and commitment with like-minded peers, in Canada and around the world.