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l’actualité chimique canadienne canadian chemical news ACCN

april | avril • 2008 • Vol. 60, No./no 4




Detecting Fakes with X-ray

Diffraction Was van Gogh Tormented­ by Chemistry­?

Art Conservation at Queen’s


on Stage


from Earth to Fired Finish­

Chemist Collector ­

Alfred­ Bader A Poem from

Roald Hoffmann


april | avril • 2008 • Vol. 60, No./no 4

A publication of the CIC | Une publication de l’ICC

Ta bl e o f C o n t e n t s | Ta bl e d e s m a t i è r e s

Guest Column Chroniqueur invité . . . . . . 2 Chemist Collectors Alfred Bader, HFCIC

Ar ticles


State of the Art


The Whole Picture

letters lettres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

News nouvelles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Regulatory News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Industrial Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Chemfusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Joe Schwarcz, MCIC

Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Recognition reconnaissance . . . . . . . .



Art conservation in Canada Alison Murray

ACCN asks the Canadian Conservation Institute what chemical techniques­ can reveal about paintings. Jennifer Clarke, MCIC

Science on stage Why would a chemist wish to write plays? Carl Djerassi


A Passion for Chemistry and Art


Complex Clay and Complex Ions

Roald Hoffmann

The chemistry of ceramics from earth to fired finish Anne Campbell, MCIC

careers carrières . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Events Événements . . . . . . . . . . . .


Cover: Liverpool Bound, The Ship Columbus, Montague­ Dawson (1895–1973), oil on canvas

Guest Column Chroniqueur invité

Managing Editor/Directrice de la rédaction Heather Dana Munroe Graphic Designer/Infographiste Krista Leroux Editorial Board/Conseil de rédaction Joe Schwarcz, MCIC, chair/président Cathleen Crudden, MCIC John Margeson, MCIC Milena Sejnoha, MCIC Bernard West, MCIC

Chemist Collectors


ome chemists are serious collectors of paintings. Carl Djerassi, with whom I went to school in Vienna from 1930 to 1938, has a most diverse collection of art. It ranges from pre-Columbian art, which he is leaving to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, to works by Paul Klee that will soon be shown at the Albertina in Vienna. His collection includes many works by contemporary artists who have been in residence in the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Read his article on p. 16 of this issue. Albert C. Barnes, who was a chemist and a medical doctor, built one of the world’s finest collections of impressionists, which he left to a foundation with the mission to teach art appreciation. My model was Leopold Ruzicka who shared the Nobel Prize in 1939 and used much of the prize to acquire Dutch and Flemish paintings of the 17th century. I first met professor Ruzicka at the ETH in 1959 and introduced myself, saying that I was a small chemist and he a great one—and he was a great collector of Dutch 17th century paintings and I a small one. He replied, “You and I are not alone. There is a chemical company in the U.S. that advertises with Dutch paintings, actually good ones! Just think of the idiocy of advertising chemicals with Dutch paintings!” To which I replied, “Herr Professor, der Idiot bin ich. I am the idiot.” We then became good friends, quickly discovering that we admired the same artists—Rembrandt, Jakob van Ruisdael, and Willem Kalf, whom he called, “the Rembrandt of still life painters.” Ruzicka gave me the 1949 catalogue of his collection illustrating 47 works, explaining that his favourite painting was a 1661 Rembrandt of the Apostle Simon. The favourite Rembrandt

  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Alfred Bader, HFCIC in my collection is a 1661 study of a man in profile that I have given to Queen’s University. He had four Jakob van Ruisdaels. One of them, The Bleaching Grounds at Haarlem, is among the best I have ever seen. I am sure he would have liked the three that I have collected over the years—particularly my winter landscape. In 1951, Ruzicka acquired a late Willem Kalf still life with corals and shells. Fifty-two years later, I too was able to acquire a Kalf, also of corals and shells, which almost certainly is a pair to his painting. Ruzicka left all of his paintings to a foundation in the Kunsthaus in Zürich. I think he would have been happy to see the catalogue of 200 of my Dutch and Flemish paintings just published by Queen’s University, where they will all be one day at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. For an intimate encounter with some of the world’s greatest Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Baroque era, read David de Witt’s newly published title, The Bader Collection—Dutch and Flemish Paintings, ISBN–9781553390947, available through the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Alfred Bader, HFCIC, studied engineering chemistry at Queen’s University and earned a doctorate in chemistry at Harvard University. He is a well-known art collector and generous donor to his alma maters. He founded the chemical company that

Editorial Office/Bureau de la rédaction 130, rue Slater Street, Suite/bureau 550 Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2 613-232-6252 • Fax/Téléc. 613-232-5862 • Advertising/Publicité Subscription Rates/Tarifs d’abonnement Non CIC members/Non-membres de l’ICC : in/au Canada CAN$55; outside/à l’extérieur du Canada US$50. Single copy/Un exemplaire CAN$8 or US$7. L’Actualité chimique canadienne/Canadian Chemical News (ACCN) is published 10 times a year by the Chemical Institute of Canada / est publié 10 fois par année par l’Institut de chimie du Canada. Recommended by the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the official position of the Institute or of the societies that recommend the magazine. Recommandé par l’Institut de chimie du Canada, la Société canadienne de chimie, la Société canadienne de génie chimique et la Société canadienne de technologie chimique. Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement la position officielle de l’Institut ou des sociétés qui soutiennent le magazine. Change of Address/Changement d’adresse Printed in Canada by Gilmore Printing Services Inc. and postage paid in Ottawa, ON./ Imprimé au Canada par Gilmore Printing Services Inc. et port payé à Ottawa, ON. Publications Mail Agreement Number/ No de convention de la Poste-publications : 40021620. (USPS# 0007-718) Indexed in the Canadian Business Index and available on-line in the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database. / Répertorié dans la Canadian Business Index et accessible en ligne dans la banque de données Canadian Business and Current Affairs. ISSN 0823-5228

later became Sigma-Aldrich. In 1995, Bader published his autobiography, Adventures of a Chemist Collector, which details his experiences from Nazi-era refugee, to chemist magnate, to fine arts connoisseur.

News Nouvelles

letters lettres

Chemist By Any Other Name Dear Editor, I was saddened to note that yet another provincial body has been established (February 2008 ACCN p. 19). Now you can become a professional chemist in BC. I voiced objection when I was asked for comment; I asked that my objections be made part of this debate. I was ignored by the academics who pushed the certification along. Great. There is now a body of people who can call themselves chemists in BC. What am I to call myself? Can I still say that I am a chemist? And just why is the practice of chemistry any different in BC from any other province? Why the need for yet another level of overhead? T. E. Peel, MCIC Photo by Kirk Sibbald

Bridging Art and Science

What Do You Think?

Les surfaces antimicrobiennes en cuivre Les propriétés antimicrobiennes du cuivre sont connues depuis des milliers d’années. Ce n’est que depuis peu qu’on fait des recherches exhaustives pour comprendre pourquoi le cuivre et ses alliages ont des propriétés curatives et comment on pourrait les exploiter. Selon les résultats d’études récentes menées conjointement par la Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA) et l’International Copper Association, Ltd., le cuivre et les alliages de cuivre nus peuvent détruire certaines bactéries pathogènes, comme E. coli O157:H7 et Staphylococcus aureus. Il est aussi prouvé que la surface de ces alliages assure une protection contre le virus grippal A et l’infection par des champignons pathogènes comme Aspergillus niger (moisissure noire). Harold T. Michels, vice-président

Canadian Light Source (CLS) executive director William Thomlinson and artist Carol Wylie stand before one of Wylie’s three paintings entitled First Light that hang in the building’s mezzanine. Wiley recently completed­ her term as artist-in-residence at the CLS. Asked to bridge the domains of art and science­, Wylie­ attempted to capture the “spark of imagination, intuition, and understanding of all kinds of possibilities­” shared by both disciplines. She incorporated many historical art references in the pieces and used Thomlinson­ as her model.

Service d’information technique de la CDA, nous apprend qu’au cours des études de laboratoire, Staphylococcus aureus résistant à la méthicilline au contact d’une surface en laiton a été détruit au bout de 4,5 heures. Par contre, il n’a résisté qu’à 1,5 heure lorsqu’on l’a mis au contact avec du cuivre pur. En contact d’une surface en laiton, E. coli O157: H7, qui cause des infections souvent mortelles, a été détruit en moins de deux heures. La CDA a testé en laboratoire cinq microorganismes pathogènes au contact de cinq alliages et présenté les résultats de ses essais devant l’Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dans le cadre du processus visant à faire autoriser l’utilisation du cuivre et de ses alliages pour la protection de la santé humaine. Si la demande est approuvée, le cuivre sera le premier et l’unique matière solide approuvée par l’EPA aux fins de protection de la santé humaine. Canadian Copper and Brass Development

Colour in Science In honour of

Dr. Alfred Bader Organizers Sebastian Schütze, Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art Victor Snieckus, Bader Chair in Organic Chemistry Speakers Science Philip Ball, Nature Roald Hoffman, Cornell University

Art John Gage, Cambridge University Christoph Wagner, University of Regensburg October 2, 2008 (tentative) Ontario Hall, Chernoff Hall

Association, Canadian Copper/Cuivre canadien

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  

News Nouvelles

Du blé résistant à l’hiver canadien

Manufacturers say the safety of bisphenol A has been supported by numerous science-based safety evaluations.

Bottoms Up for Bisphenol A? According to Health Canada officials, concerns regarding the safety of polycarbonate bottles help explain why it was one of the first chemicals identified as part of the government’s challenge to industry and stakeholders under the Chemicals Management Plan. Health Canada is currently conducting an assessment of bisphenol A, including its use in consumer products. The government will incorporate all the latest science in its assessment and will use this information to take action, if necessary. The assessment will be completed no later than May 2008 and will be posted to the chemicals substances Web site. Until then, Health Canada is not advising retailers or the public to stop selling and/or using polycarbonate bottles. However, Health Canada does recognize that some retailers have decided to stop selling polycarbonate bottles, and some consumers have stopped using these products until the results of the review are completed.

  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Canada’s main use for bisphenol A is the production of epoxy resins, with smaller markets in vinyl esters and in vinyl compounding. The main use of bisphenol A in the U.S. is for polycarbonate resins, which are used in the production of some types of food containers, including water and baby bottles. Polycarbonate has been used for decades to make baby bottles and reusable water bottles. Manufacturers say the safety of these products has been supported by numerous science-based safety evaluations of bisphenol A that have been conducted by independent government and scientific bodies worldwide. Recent evaluations by the European food safety authority and NSF International both provide strong support for the safety of polycarbonate bottles. In spite of this strong scientific support, the industry says numerous myths, misinformation, and scare stories about polycarbonate bottles continue to circulate. Several new studies have examined these claims and provide additional support for the safe use of polycarbonate bottles. Camford Chemical Report

Jean Danyluk, professeur au Département des sciences biologiques, spécialiste de la biologie moléculaire et de la biotechnologie de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), a obtenu une subvention totalisant un demi-million de dollars qui lui permettra de poursuivre ses recherches sur le génome du blé et plus particulièrement sur sa résistance au froid. Puisque depuis une vingtaine d’années les améliorations aux génotypes des différentes variétés de blés cultivées dans le monde sont négligeables, l’agriculture se tourne vers la génomique. Mais, comme le souligne Jean Danyluk, « cela n’implique pas nécessairement la création d’organismes génétiquement modifiés (OGM) ». En effet, la nouvelle variété de blé résistante au froid sera produite par croisements, et non en lui insérant des gènes d’une autre plante. Mais pourquoi veut-on un blé qui tolère mieux le gel? « Au Canada, la majorité du blé qui pousse dans nos champs est un blé de printemps, dit Jean Danyluk, et ce blé ne supporte pas que le mercure descende plus bas que – 8 ºC. » « Ce que nous apprendrons au cours de ces recherches pourra aussi s’appliquer à d’autres céréales, souligne le professeur Danyluk. Si on identifie les molécules impliquée dans le processus de tolérance au froid, on pourra développer des stratégies afin d’améliorer la résistance de différentes plantes d’importance économique. » Université du Québec à Montréal



articles en français!

News Nouvelles

Great Strides. The biomechanical energy harvester generates electricity from a subject walking on a treadmill while SFU engineer Max Donelan looks on.

Charging Batteries— a Walk in the Park Simon Fraser University (SFU) researchers have developed a new wearable technology that generates electricity from the natural motion of walking. It promises to revolutionize the way we charge portable battery-powered devices. The biomechanical energy harvester, featured in a recent issue of the journal Science, resembles a lightweight orthopedic knee brace. The device harvests energy from the end of a walker’s step, when the muscles are working to slow the movement of the leg, in much the same way that hybrid-electric cars recycle power from braking. Wearing a device on each leg, an individual can generate up to five watts of electricity with little additional physical effort. Walking more quickly generates as much as 13 watts of electricity. At that rate, one minute of walking provides enough electricity to sustain 30 minutes of talk time on a mobile phone. “This technology promises to have significant medical, military, and consumer applications,” said lead author Max Donelan, an assistant­ professor of kinesiology and asso-

Photo by Greg Ehlers, used with permission from SFU

ciate member of engineering science at SFU. “A fully charged battery pack represents more than just a mere convenience. It allows a soldier to get back home safely. It benefits stroke victims, amputees, and others who rely on power-assisted­ medical devices for mobility. It means a better quality of life for the developing world, where a half-billion children live without easy access to electricity. And of course, it is a necessity to anyone in the developed world who has come to rely on portable electronics for work or play.” The biomechanical energy harvester is rigged with a generator, clutch, gears, and a real-time control system to selectively engage and disengage power generation. It works in much the same way that regenerative brakes charge batteries in hybrid vehicles. Regenerative brakes collect the kinetic energy that would otherwise be dissipated as heat when the car slows down. Similarly, the harvester collects the energy typically lost when the muscles of the body slow the knee after swinging the leg forward to take a step. Donelan’s research team is supported by funding from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and

the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Donelan plans to have a working prototype available within 18 months through his spinoff­ company, Bionic Power Inc. Simon Fraser University

Hot Off the Press Bilingual scientific dictionary publisher Editorial Castilla La Vieja has released the Dictionary of Chemistry—Diccionario de Quimica (English-Spanish/Spanish-English). It comprises 1,637 pages of terminology and illustrative sample sentences in both languages. It covers all aspects of chemistry including organic and inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, industrial chemistry, geochemistry, spectroscopy, food chemistry, radiochemistry, metallurgical chemistry, forensic chemistry, chemistry lab equipment and instruments, huge bilingual appendices of chemical compounds with formulae, and more. More information is available at Editorial Castilla La Vieja

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  

News Nouvelles

Emergency Response Guidebook 2008 The Emergency Response Guidebook 2008 (ERG2008) is being developed jointly by Transport Canada, the U.S. Department

of Transportation, and the Secretariat of Transport­ and Communications of Mexico with the collaboration­ of Centro de Información Química para Emergencias (CIQUIME) of Argentina. It is primarily a guide to aid first responders in quickly identifying the specific or generic hazards of the material(s) involved

in the incident, and protecting themselves and the general public during the initial response phase of the incident. ERG2008 should be made available to each fire, police, and ambulance (emergency basic response) vehicle to promote public safety and harmonize dangerous goods initial response. In Canada, approximately 100,000 copies of ERG2008 will be printed by Transport Canada and given to the provincial/territorial coordinators for distribution. Commercial printers are expected to publish more than 6,000,000 copies of the guidebook for sale to the trucking and rail industries as well as other transportation organizations. For a complete list of the distributors or to download a database version of the guidebook, please visit CANUTEC at Under the NAFTA initiative, ERG2008 is published in English, French, and Spanish for distribution within Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. It has also been translated to other languages and is used in several countries around the world. Michel Cloutier, Transport Canada

Call for Nominations The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering Awarded to one individual per year, the NSERC Herzberg Medal recognizes researchers who are characterized by both excellence and influence—two qualities that defined Dr. Herzberg’s illustrious career. All natural sciences and engineering researchers in Canadian universities and in government or corporate research laboratories are eligible to be nominated. The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2008. To prepare a nomination, visit or contact NSERC at 613-995-5829 or

  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Call for Chemical Engineering Papers Opens. The organizing committee of the 58th Canadian Chemical­ Engineering Conference, to be held in Ottawa, ON, October 19 to 22, 2008, extends an invitation­ to all to submit papers to the conference. The conference theme is “Partnerships for a Sustainable­ Society.” The Call for papers is open now until June 9, 2008. Pictured above from left to right are Bruno Morin, MCIC, conference vice-chair from Alcan; Marc Dubé, MCIC, technical program chair from the University of Ottawa; Handan Tezel, MCIC, conference chair from the University of Ottawa; and Roland Andersson, MCIC, CIC executive director.

regulatory news


Canada/U.S. Reciprocal Recognition of Containers A modification negotiated under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) now eases the transportation of dangerous goods between Canada and the U.S. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration revised its regulations to recognize containers manufactured in accordance with Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations as equivalent to American containers. With the change, as many as five percent of trucks coming over the Canadian border that previously had to be empty can now carry loads, easing border pressure and helping the environment. Because of small differences in the way their respective regulations were written, Canada and the U.S. used to certify containers separately. Typically, the classification and labelling of dangerous goods is based on recommendations set out by the United Nations (UN) in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods, model regulations. Under the UN model, countries are allowed to make the final decisions regarding their respective regulations. In the past, the U.S. has not fully recognized Canadian specifications. Trucks carrying dangerous goods in containers made to Canadian specifications were permitted only to travel into the U.S. and unload. They could not fill up in the U.S. and return to Canada with a load. This meant that up to five percent of all trucks crossed the Canadian border empty, burning fuel and adding to border pressure. With the modification, the cross-border transportation of dangerous goods has become seamless, creating an equal playing field for container manufacturers and shippers in both countries. Dangerous goods include flammable, corrosive­, explosive, toxic, or infectious materials, ranging from petroleum products to acids and compressed gases. Canada and the U.S. now recognize each other’s specifications for transporting such goods, while continuing to ensure high standards in the two countries. “Everybody’s life just gets easier,” said Dwaine Ferguson, the engineering manager of Goldec Hamms Manufacturing Ltd. in Red Deer, AB, that makes tanker trucks for transporting dangerous goods. “We were able to find an approach­ that showed that we have an equivalent level of safety, without being identical,” explained Ferguson. “Canadian tanks are recognized as being fully equivalent, with comparable levels of safety.” He said the change benefits container manufacturers, truckers, drivers, and shippers as well as the wider community­, which can be assured that such goods are transported safely and effectively on public highways. The change allows Canadian manufacturers better access to the U.S. market and reduces the cost, time, and paperwork associated­ with having to get their containers certified in both countries. The SPP works to ensure compatibility in regulations in North America while maintaining standards and the individual sovereignty of countries. The initiative­ on dangerous goods was part of the SPP’s Manufactured Goods and Sectoral and Regional Competitiveness Working Group. The article was first published by the SPP. For more information, visit www.

Senior executive vice-president Pierre Dufour of the Paris-based Air Liquide Group, the leading global provider of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, is pleased to announce that the worldwide company has appointed Luc Doyon, currently president and chief operating officer of Air Liquide Canada, to the position of CEO of the Canadian subsidiary. BASF Canada Inc. has won IAPA’ s Level III Health and Safety Achievement Award. This award recognizes the company’ s commitment to health and safety excellence. As a result of the new federal ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital initiative, a new ethanol plant will be built in Unity, SK, with a $5 million boost. The plant is scheduled to begin production in September 2008 under the operation of North West Bio Energy Ltd. Lignol Energy Corp. announced several additions to its management, plant operations, and research teams, including the hiring of Jeff Charpentier as vice-president of finance and corporate secretary. MDS Nordion has appointed Peter Covitz to the new position of senior vice-president of innovation with responsibility for driving new technology to commercialization. Patheon Inc. has appointed Terry Novak as president of North American Operations and chief marketing officer. Suncor Energy announced that its board of directors has given final approval to a $20.6 billion investment that is expected to boost crude oil production at the company’s oil sands operation, located north of Fort McMurray, AB, by 200,000 barrels per day.

Did You Know ACCN

all issues of prior to 2008 are free to view on-line at

Transport Canada

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  

Chemfusion Joe Schwarcz, MCIC

A Painter’s Problems Could van Gogh’s torment be attributed to chemistry?


n December 23, 1888, a prostitute in the town of Arles, France received a strange Christmas present. The package, wrapped in newsprint, contained part of a human ear—the ear of Vincent van Gogh. Why the artist mutilated himself in this fashion after returning home from a visit to the brothel has been the subject of intense conjecture. The artist’s career began in Holland. His early paintings, such as the Potato Eaters,

  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

were dark and sombre, clearly conveying the artist’s sympathy with the hard life of the poor Dutch peasant. A move to Paris, and later southern France, had a dramatic effect on the painter’s style. Darkness gave way to new, bright light that flooded his work. Sunflowers­, perhaps the best known painting­ of this period, is a veritable explosion of brilliant­ yellows. Some have suggested that there was more to this change in van Gogh’s palette than the mood-boosting effect of the sun in southern France. The artist was known to suffer from psychotic fits, which at the time were characterized as “epilepsy.” Treatment often involved the use of digitalis, the heart remedy discovered by the Englishman, William Withering. van Gogh was likely treated with this inappropriate medication, as witnessed by the fact that he painted his personal physician, Dr. Gachet, with a stalk of foxglove in his hand. This is the plant from which digitalis is extracted. Large doses of digitalis can cause vomiting, giddiness, and visual disturbances. van Gogh’s later paintings show an obsession with the colour yellow. Even his house at Auvers was painted yellow. Abnormalities in colour perception, in particular yellow halos, have been associated with the use of digitalis. Ascribing van Gogh’s medical problems to digitalis poisoning is interesting, although somewhat unlikely. A middle ear condition known as Meniere’s disease is also a candidate for the painter’s problems. A review of 796 personal letters to his brother Theo paints a picture of a man suffering from attacks of disabling, recurrent, vertigo and nausea, as well as sensory hallucinations. These attacks were also characterized by an intolerance for motion and loud sounds. He also experienced long, symptomfree periods, as is common with Meniere’s disease. Auditory hallucinations or ringing in the ears (tinnitus) are also common. In fact, some patients speak of “cutting off their ear” or “poking a hole in it with an ice pick” to relieve the torment. Meniere’s disease does appear to be consistent with van Gogh’s ailment and presents a potential rationale for his self-mutilation. Another possible explanation for van Gogh’s fits of bizarre behaviour arises from his well-known addiction to absinthe, a popular beverage of the time. The standard ingredients are alcohol, oil of wormwood,

anise, fennel, juniper, and nutmeg. The active ingredient in wormwood is thujone, a compound that causes excitement of the nervous system followed by unconsciousness and convulsions. The condition induced by thujone has been studied as a model for epilepsy. Because absinthe caused so much misery, the French government banned it in the early part of the 20th century. Its descendant, Pernod, which does not contain thujone, is still available. It still intrigues people with its colour change from green to white as water is added. There is no question that van Gogh indulged heavily in absinthe during his days in southern France. He and Paul Gaugin went on binges together, and van Gogh would invariably end up in a brothel, probably claiming that “absinthe makes the tart grow fonder.” On one of these eventful nights, he quarrelled with Gaugin, threw a glass of absinthe at him, and then threatened his friend with a razor. In a flood of guilt, he retreated to his room and performed the celebrated surgery. We will never know whether van Gogh’s suicide in 1890 was due to epilepsy, Meniere’s disease, thujone poisoning, or some other condition. Why he shot himself in the very wheat field he had depicted on his last canvas will remain a mystery. The painting shows a road that ends abruptly in the middle of a field of wild, yellow wheat. According to some, it is the road of van Gogh’s short life. We do know that Dr. Gachet planted a tree on van Gogh’s grave after his death. Brother Theo died soon after and was buried elsewhere. Relatives later decided that the brothers, who had been so close in life, should spend eternity together in the same plot. When the painter’s grave was dug up, his casket was found to be completely entwined in the roots of the tree planted by Dr. Gachet. The doctor had unwittingly decorated the grave with a wormwood tree, well known for its production of thujone. In death, as in life, Vincent van Gogh was held in the clutches of thujone.

Popular science writer Joe Schwarcz, MCIC, is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. He hosts the Dr. Joe Show on Montréal’s radio station CJAD and Toronto’s CFRB. The broadcast is available on the Web at You can contact him at

w w w . p a c i f i c h e m . o r g

Pacifichem 2010 December 15–20, 2010

Call for Symposia Round one of two opens January 1, 2008 and closes April 14, 2008.

he Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) is the host society. Howard Alper, HFCIC, O.C., University of Ottawa, is the Congress Chair and Steven Holdcroft, FCIC, Simon Fraser University/National Research Council (NRC) is the Technical Program Chair. Other sponsoring societies are the American Chemical Society (ACS), Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ), Chinese Chemical Society (CCS), Korean Chemical Society (KCS), New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC), and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).

Guidelines for submitting proposals and more information on the Congress can be found on the Pacifichem 2010 website at It is best to submit proposals early as room for new symposia will decrease after the first round.

Technical Program

Promoting scientific exchange in the Pacific basin for a healthy and sustainable future.

Core Areas of Chemistry: analytical, inorganic, macromolecular, organic, and physical, theoretical, and computational Multi-and Cross-Disciplinary Areas of Chemistry: agrochemistry, biological, environmental, and materials and nanotechnology Challenges and Opportunities for Chemistry: alternate energy technology, chemistry outreach to the community, health and technology, and security

step behind the galleries to the laboratories where art objects are treated and analyzed

State of the



Art conservation in Canada

any chemists have never thought of a career in art conservation. Yet few areas allow such close contact with beautiful, historic objects—whether a ceramic piece with a lustrous glaze or an intricate watercolour. Only in conservation might you work with paintings by Michelangelo on the next table, as I did one winter at the National Gallery in London. This wonderful field provides insight into how art objects were made, educates us about their history, and enables us to step behind the galleries to the laboratories where art objects are treated and analyzed. It promotes collaboration among art historians, artists, archaeologists, chemists, and engineers. This article gives an overview of the field, discussing the specific education and work of conservators and conservation scientists. It describes several ongoing art conservation projects in Canada and worldwide.

Education Art conservation is an exciting multidisciplinary field involving the examination, interpretation, analysis, and conservation of cultural, historic, and artistic objects. In Canada, the Art Conservation Program in the department of art at Queen’s University offers the only master’s program for both conservators and conservation scientists.

10  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Alison Murray

Conservators evaluate the condition of the object and formulate a plan for treatment, perform the hands-on conservation, and document all these steps. Objects being conserved may be paintings, works of art on paper (including fine art, photographs, and books), or objects made of metals, organic materials, ceramics, or textiles. Applicants to the conservation program at Queen’s often have an undergraduate degree in studio art, art history, or archaeology and need prerequisites in general chemistry and organic chemistry. Conservation students with a humanities background learn to work with scientists and engineers to solve conservation-related problems using appropriate analytical techniques. Conversely, scientists and engineers who train to be conservators need to have prerequisites in the humanities. All conservation students must have taken studio art courses and present a portfolio of their work to demonstrate manual dexterity. Conservation scientists work with conservators, analyzing objects to identify their components, investigating reasons for their degradation, and developing conservation treatments. This can involve many branches of chemistry including analytical, organic, inorganic, and polymer science, as well as other sciences and engineering disciplines. Conservation scientists need extensive training in one or more of these disciplines—positions usually require a PhD or MSc. There has been much discussion in the conservation community about the

Above: Conserving a gilded frame

best path for a career in conservation science. Many of today’s conservation scientists only discovered conservation when applying for jobs or fellowships. Conservation science students in the master’s program at Queen’s complete a thesis and take courses with the conservation treatment students. More PhD opportunities would be welcomed. For example, we would like to see joint research programs between professors in chemistry or materials science departments and conservation programs or institutions. Conservators and conservation scientists are often Renaissance people, having been interested in a number of fields before happily discovering that all their talents could be combined in conservation. I attended a physics tutorial given by Fred Hedgcock when I was a chemistry undergraduate at McGill, and was thrilled to be introduced to conservation and the work of the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). Although jobs are not plentiful, those who are persistent often find employment in the field. Recent graduates usually start with internships in museums, galleries, archives, libraries, or universities before going on to work for such organizations or in private, commercial labs.

Art conservation projects Modern Art—Who Cares? was the provocative title of a conservation conference held in 1997. The answer is that increasingly more people do care. At Queen’s, we have been investigating the uncharted conservation challenges presented by modern art. Since the 1960s, approximately 75 to 80 percent of artists in North America have used acrylic paints, which are quicker to dry than oil paints and offer other novel properties. The resulting paintings now need to be conserved. We are characterizing the changes brought about by cleaning, aging, and environmental conditions such as extremes of relative humidity and temperature. Chemical, mechanical, and surface methods of analysis are used to identify the materials removed by exposure to cleaning solutions and to record any changes in material properties. The Getty Conservation Institute recently published the proceedings from Modern Paints Uncovered, a conference held at Tate Modern in London, U.K. in May 2006. The discussion focused on the latest in conservation science research on modern materials.

One technique used extensively in the Queen’s art conservation program is Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy equipped with an attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory. The FTIR-ATR instrument, overseen by H. F. (Gus) Shurvell, FCIC, professor emeritus at Queen’s department of chemistry, is a key part of courses, research, and conservation treatments undertaken by students. Using FTIR-ATR, students have analyzed varnishes, pigments and grounds in paintings, surface coatings on paper, ancient ceramic objects, and dark patinas on Egyptian bronzes. Students have also monitored the degradation of objects, such as contemporary latex sculpture. At Queen’s, plans for a new centre for technical art history are being developed by the head of the department of art, Ron Spronk, who recently came to Queen’s from the Straus Center for Conservation at the Harvard University Art Museums. In the new centre, art history and art conservation students will work jointly on actual art works, bringing together the various strands that contribute to the whole work, from the materials and techniques to the historical context. Similar analytical work is performed on paintings by CCI in Ottawa. The Canadian Artists Painting Materials Research Project has investigated works by many Canadian artists including David Milne, Alfred Pellan, Paul-Émile Borduas, and Norval Morrisseau. The project has been critical in enabling the correct attribution of works of art and in developing an understanding of how artists created them. CCI hosted a very successful international conference, Symposium 2007— Preserving Aboriginal Heritage, last September, which focused on various approaches to the preservation of Aboriginal material culture. One scientific session discussed the detection of pesticides containing mercury and arsenic in art objects—pesticides originally intended to protect the art. Detection is carried­ out by means of newly available handheld X-ray fluorescence units. The increased handling of Aboriginal objects resulting from repatriation and strengthened ties between museums and Aboriginal groups makes such detection critically important. The National Research Council Canada and various partners have used the threedimensional­ laser scanner to examine not only Canadian­ objects, including the Royal Charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company, but also the

Mona Lisa at the Louvre and Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Italy. Doug Goltz, MCIC, at the University of Winnipeg and his collaborators have used hyperspectral imaging when examining­ paint, written documents, and maps in conservation and archival projects. The world of art conservation is full of possibilities­ for scientific exploration. Art galleries­ and museums throughout the country have conservation departments that would welcome visits from interested scientists and look forward to future collaborations.

Art Conservation Program at Queen’s programs_artc.html Panel discussion on Modern Paints Uncovered­ conference jp15article1.php conservation sources and educational­ opportunities­ cons-sour_e.aspx

Alison Murray is an associate professor in the Art Conservation Program in the department of art at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. She is conducting a research program for characterizing and conserving modern materials and is keenly interested in science education for conservators and other non-scientists.

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  11

ACCN: Why are paintings analyzed? M-C. C.: Paintings are analyzed typically for two reasons—to answer questions related to their conservation or to their authenticity. In the first case, we could be looking for fugitive pigments—pigments that are affected by light used in paintings that require special conditions when exhibited. Or we might try to detect overpaints, which are touch-ups done by other painters or conservators. In the second case, analysis could

An INterview

with Marie-Claude Corbeil

The Whole Picture ACCN asks the Canadian Conservation Institute what chemical techniques can reveal about paintings.

Jennifer Clarke, MCIC


hen considering pigments, it is easy to see how chemistry plays an integral part in the creation of artistic paintings. Early pigments were derived from the earth and from minerals. Later pigments were made from animal and vegetable dyes. More modern pigments are synthetic in nature,1 can include newer elements, and therefore have different physical properties compared to earlier pigments. What is less obvious is the integral part chemistry plays in the understanding of paintings. Chemical techniques can be used to probe the differences in pigment physical properties, identifying atoms, compounds, and entire pictures present in paintings that cannot be seen by eye. Combined with extensive art knowledge, these techniques can reveal much about a painting’s provenance, often telling a story that would otherwise remain hidden. Marie-Claude Corbeil has many of these stories to tell. She is a senior researcher in the analytical research laboratory at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, ON. Having received her PhD in inorganic chemistry at l’Université de Montréal, Corbeil is a specialist in X-ray diffraction. She was happy to discuss a variety of the work done in the analytical lab.

ACCN: What is the role of your lab in the Canadian Conservation Institute? Marie-Claude Corbeil: The role of the analytical research laboratory is to analyze materials from museum objects and works of art found in Canadian public collections to see what they are made of. We answer questions related to their conservation and authenticity in the case of paintings, or time of manufacture in the case of archaeological objects, for example. We examine and analyze all types of objects, from paintings to scientific instruments.

12  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Figure 1. Though this painting is signed by “Vincent,” chemical techniques­ prove it’s no van Gogh. help determine if the painting is from a given period or not. That information would then help art historians link the painting to a given artist. Our role is not to attribute paintings to given artists but to determine if the materials and techniques are consistent with a certain time period.

ACCN: What techniques do you use to analyze paintings? M-C. C.: Typically, paintings are first examined and analyzed using non-invasive techniques that do not require

Photos courtesy of the Canadian Conservation Institute, department of Canadian heritage

removing samples. First, it is important to understand the structure of the painting and to see beneath the surface. We use techniques such as X-radiography, infrared reflectography, and ultraviolet fluorescence photography to detect changes in composition, preparatory drawings, and overpaints. This step is very important as it guides the subsequent steps. For example, if there are overpaints, we will be careful not to take samples from these areas as we want to analyze the original paint, not paint that was added later to cover a damaged area.

when and where a painting was made. Samples are analyzed by techniques such as x-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These techniques are standard analytical techniques, but are tailored to the analysis of microscopic samples, such as those taken from precious works of art and museum objects. X-ray diffraction is used mainly to detect inorganic pigments and fillers. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is used to detect organic pigments and determine the type of binder (oil, egg, protein), while GC-MS is used to determine more precisely the nature of the binder—the exact oil (linseed oil, poppyseed oil, etc.), or the exact nature of a natural resin varnish (dammar, mastic, etc.). Of course, these techniques overlap. IR spectroscopy can also detect inorganic compounds, and GC-MS can sometimes detect organic pigments. But most of the time, several techniques must be used to get the complete makeup of the paint.

ACCN: How do you prove a fake?

After this radiographic and photographic examination, the painting is analyzed by x-ray fluorescence spectrometry—a non-invasive method that will provide information about chemical elements present in various areas. By detecting chemical elements that are found in pigments that were introduced only in the 19th century (such as cadmium) or 20th century (such as titanium), we can often easily determine that an old painting is not what it claims to be. If nothing anachronistic is found after the non-invasive examination, microscopic samples are taken to determine the actual composition of paint of various colours, and to establish the layer structure of the paint. The composition and layering of the paint have varied a lot over centuries and from region to region. It therefore helps in determining­

M-C. C.: It is actually easier to detect a fake than to confirm that a painting is original. Forgeries are often produced just one time, just to fool people Figure 2. Infrared reflectogram reveals that “Vincent­’s” into making a sale. They are landscape was painted over a pre‑existing­ portrait. not particularly carefully made, and there is always something that will prove to be wrong, anachronistic. I hate that romantic idea of the faker being a genius able to fool the experts! There are a lot of technical details about painting and mistakes are easily made, such as the use of an anachronistic pigment. Figure 1 shows a painting that was analyzed in our lab as part of an art fraud investigation. The painting, signed “Vincent,” was attributed to Vincent van Gogh. The infrared reflectogram (Figure 2) revealed that the current landscape was painted over a previous portrait. Titanium white (TiO2), a pigment developed in the early 20th century, was identified. This indicated that the painting could not have been painted by van Gogh, who died in 1890. When we are asked to examine a painting tentatively attributed to Rembrandt or van Gogh, it’ s usually not that difficult to spot mistakes if the painting is a fake or a copy. However, even if the materials and techniques are consistent with the period, we cannot conclude that the painting is by Rembrandt or van Gogh. In the case of Rembrandt, for example, a painting could be from the period during which Rembrandt was active, but it may have been painted by another Dutch artist of the same period. When a painting is not attributed to a specific artist or period, sometimes it is only possible to determine a fairly broad period during which the painting may have been painted. So science cannot answer all questions. For more information on chemical techniques used for art investigation, visit the Canadian Conservation Institute Web site at

References 1Kirsh,

Andrea, and Levenson, Rustin S. Seeing Through Paintings New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000. Jennifer Clarke, MCIC, is a freelance writer based in the Ottawa area. april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  13

Book Review

the Public Image of Chemistry


re chemists creative benefactors of humankind? Or sorcerer’s Weingart submits an interesting analysis of fiction films portraying apprentices who befoul the environment and manufacture chemistry—a quarter of which fall into the horror genre. But chemists chemical weapons? The public’s “chemophobia” has long are not singled out—physicians and physicists don’t fare much better and grounded historical roots, and it is in direct opposition to the way in Hollywood. chemists see themselves. David Knight, a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s The Public Image of Chemistry dives deep into the history of chemCommittee­ for Promoting Chemistry to the Public, relays a hands-on istry’s bad reputation with contributions from a literary scholar with a and hands-off approach to popularize chemistry. Hands-on people chemistry background, a chemistry philosopher, freelance science writpractice chemistry and hands-off people appreciate, enjoy, and support ers, historians, and a chemistry professor turned science writer. The chemistry. Knight reviews previous attempts to promote chemistry in editors have formed three main sections—Popular Images in Fiction the past and poses questions for the future. and Movies, Self-Images in Chemistry Popularizations, and Mediated Marika Blondel-Mégrelis expounds on Justus von Liebig, a famous Images—to discuss the demonization of the discipline. chemist who worked to popularize a new image of chemistry. Andrew The first section indicates that the pubEde from Simon Fraser University looks at lic’s perception of the chemist is typified Abraham Cressy Morrison’s book Man in by Mary Shelley’s chemist Dr. Frankena Chemical World. The book describes the stein. Roslynn Haynes argues that born American Chemical Society’s attempt to from this indelible image is the misconcreate the “American” chemist as opposed ception that Frankenstein is not just the to the “European” chemist. Ede discusses monster’s creator but the monster himthe image of a man in a white lab coat self! In English horror films from 1931 and Morrison’s view linking chemistry to to 1960, 30 percent of the villains were American prosperity and divinity. scientists, 40 percent of the threats were In the second section, Schummer and spinoffs from science, and only ten perchemistry professor Tami Spector speculate cent of the heroes were scientists. on the prominent chemistry images and The evil scientist image began with the what they say about the profession. They 18th-century English satirists who deemphasize the gap between how outsidpicted scientists as being separate from ers portrayed chemists and how chemists reality because of their narrow focus on portrayed themselves in the 19th century. their own interests and their inability to Instead of the typical image of a man gazrelate to human concerns. English roing at a flask, chemists of that era depicted mantic poets such as William Blake conthemselves surrounded by books with demned Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, chemical glassware far in the background— and John Locke. Editor Joachim Schumpotentially in effort to associate themselves mer notes 19th-century images of the mad with the philosophers and literary scholars scientist are frequently found in literature, Edited by Joachim Schummer, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Brigitte Van who regularly denounced them. and the era was marked by the theme of Tiggelen, World Scientific Publishing Co. ISBN-13: 978-981-277-584-9, The final section, Mediated Images, be“Chemists against God.” The notion de- ISBN-10: 981-277-584-6, US$58.00 gins with a chapter on the Science Service. scribed chemistry, or alchemy, as mateThis not-for-profit, independent news orrialistic, and therefore atheistic. Materialism includes the denial of ganization strived to popularize science and chemistry in the 1930s. spiritual and mental realms. If materialism meant denial that material Peter J. T. Morris examines the history of the chemistry galleries at the nature is God’s creation, any chemical change of matter was suspected Science Museum of London, and he questions their influence. Peter to be against God’s will. Laszlo examines chemists’ image of themselves in the last half of the Both Schummer and contributor Peter Weingart comment on Mi20th century, in relation to the major chemistry technology of the era. chael Crichton—scientist, writer, and movie producer. Crichton made the public’s image of chemistry certainly differs from the chemists’ a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of image of chemistry, and the book’s contributors make an interesting Science arguing that the media have not created a bad public image of study, reaching back into history to present the origins of both. scientists in fiction film, but rather scientists have misunderstood the media. According to Crichton, “All professions look bad in movies.” Anne Campbell, MCIC

14  L’Actualité chimique canadienne mars 2008

Science on stage Why would a chemist wish to write plays?


o write “science-in-theatre” does not require that the author be a scientist. But what about the converse? Why have so few “hard” scientists—and no chemists at all, as far as I am aware—become recognized playwrights, whereas physicians have made major contributions, with Anton Chekov or Arthur Schnitzler leading the list? Is it because chemists deal primarily with abstractions at the molecular level, whereas physicians spend their days listening to the stories of other human beings? Even the most scientifically invested plays succeed, if they do, because they work at the human level. Or is it that since the 17th century, all formal written discourse of scientists is always monologist, whereas the theatre is the realm of dialogue? Perhaps none of those generalizations is the reason, yet it is that last one that tempts me the most. Especially when I consider my own forays on the stage, which for space constraints, will be the sole subject of this essay. I find dialogue so stimulating, both as audience and author, that an exceptionally high proportion of my “sciencein-fiction” (not to be confused with science fiction) takes place in dialogue rather than narrative. I first became intrigued by the idea of “science-in-theatre” when I was working on the third instalment, Menachem’s Seed,1 of my science-in-fiction tetralogy. The science

16  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Carl Djerassi

of that novel involved reproductive biology as seen by a childless woman scientist preoccupied with childbearing. Much of the factual information of that novel concerns the current high-priority area of assisted reproduction and the reasons why research on contraception is moving off the main stage. Unlike famous playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, or Tom Stoppard, to mention only a few, who mostly used science metaphorically for theatrical aims, I started from the opposite side, in that I wished to use the stage for smuggling scientific culture or concepts to a general, non-scientific audience—in other words, for pedagogic or even didactic purposes. In spite of the danger in admitting such motivation, what encouraged me was the Roman poet Horace’ s famous prescription from Ars Poetica, “lectorem delectando pariterque monendo. Delighting the reader at the same time as instructing him.” Even though I understood from the outset that for any play to work, it had to end up on the stage facing a live audience that did not come to be educated, but rather entertained. As the didactic component for my first play, An Immaculate Misconception,2 I chose the most ethically charged reproductive technology of them all, ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection—the direct injection of a single sperm into an egg. The timeliness of the topic Isabella Gregor’s German production of Oxygen using puppets of “experimental­” oxygen generation with Lavoisier, Scheele, and madame Lavoisier.

(illustrated­ below by a brief dialogic excerpt) was probably the reason that since its premiere in Edinburgh in 1998, the play has been translated into 12 languages, printed in book form in four, and broadcast by the BBC World Service, National Public Radio (in the U.S.), and the Swedish, German, and Czech radios. MELANIE In my scenario, the 21st century will be called “The Century of Art.” FELIX Not science? Not technology? MELANIE The century of … A … R … T (Slow and deliberate): assisted … reproductive … technologies. Young men and women will open reproductive bank accounts­ full of frozen sperm and eggs. And when they want a baby, they’ ll go to the bank to check out what they need. FELIX Once they have such a bank account­ … they might as well get sterilized. MELANIE Exactly! If my prediction is on target, other forms of birth control will become superfluous. FELIX (Ironic) I see. And the pill will end up in a museum … (Pause) … of 20th century­ art? The relatively rapid acceptance of my first play can in large part be ascribed to the timeliness of the topic and the inherently dramatic aspects of human reproduction that in An Immaculate Misconception were presented through sophisticated audiovisuals—a feature commented upon by all the reviewers. But as a chemist turning into a playwright, I wanted to see whether chemistry could also be presented as effectively on the stage as, say, sex. I had the good fortune to find a partner, Roald Hoffmann (a Chemistry Nobel laureate to boot, whose article appears on p. 20 of this issue of ACCN). He was interested in joining me in such a theatrical experiment. Just as I tried in my first play to hide my didactic motivations behind the scrim of sex, in the second play, in Oxygen,3 Hoffmann and I did this by taking up a theme—the Nobel Prize—that, at least to scientists, is potentially also sexy. The year 2001 was the centenary of the Nobel Prize; it is also the year in which our play is set. In Oxygen, the Nobel Committee decides

Photo by Regine Koerner

to celebrate­ the centenary by establishing a new Nobel Prize, to be termed a “retroNobel,” to honour inventions or discoveries made before 1901, the year when the first Nobel Prizes were awarded. What’s wrong with paying attention to the dead for a change? Oxygen attempts to deal with two fundamental questions—what is discovery in science­ and why is it so important for a scientist to be first? In Oxygen, we approach these questions as our imaginary retro-Nobel Committee meets to select, first, the discovery that should be so honoured, and then— as it turns out, not a straightforward question—which scientist to credit for it. Again, let me use a dialogic excerpt to illustrate the problem, which in this play is based on careful historical research: ASTRID ROSENQVIST Now let me summarize­ whom we’ve got so far. John Dalton as father of the atomic theory … Dimitri Ivanovitch Mendeleyev for inventing the periodic table … August Kekulé for the structure of benzene … and of course, Louis Pasteur. All of them first class—and a nice geographic spread: an Englishman; a Russian; a German; and a Frenchman … ULF SVANHOLM And for a change, no American! ASTRID ROSENQVIST Another advantage for concentrating on the 19th century. Or earlier. But for the first retro-Nobel, we must recognize where modern chemistry began. SUNE KALLSTENIUS In other words … with the discovery of oxygen.

as a chemist turning into a playwright, I wanted to see whether chemistry could also be presented as effectively on the stage BENGT HJALMARSSON Right back to the usual Nobel quandary! Too many candidates­. Since its theatrical premiere in 2001 at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the play has been translated into 13 languages, performed in many countries, and published in book form in eight languages as well as broadcast by the BBC World Service and the WDR in Germany. There is little doubt that its pedagogic utility and its didactic touches have been responsible for its success and its extensive use in academic circles. In my third “science-in-theatre” play, Calculus­,4 I explored further the drive for priority among scientists through a dramatic presentation of one of the most famous and notorious priority struggles in science—that between Newton and Leibniz concerning the invention of the calculus. I shall let Newton’s voice in my play present the viciousness and solipsistic preoccupation with wishing to be first: NEWTON My question is who discovered the method first. Priority is exclusive. It is an absolute, quantifiable fact. LEIBNIZ Quantifiable?

ASTRID ROSENQVIST Who’d like to come up with some simple phrases to explain­ to the public that without the discovery­ of oxygen, there would’ve been no chemical revolution … no chemistry as we now know it? BENGT HJALMARSSON I’ll give it a try. Prior to Antoine Lavoisier … SUNE KALLSTENIUS You mean prior to Carl Wilhelm Scheele … ULF SVANHOLM What about Joseph Priestley?

NEWTON One man is first! Be it by years, weeks, hours, or even minutes. LEIBNIZ (Sarcastic): Is that not carrying mathematics too far? NEWTON You will rue the day when you issued this challenge, Mr. Leibniz! Whether you found the Method of Fluxions … (disdainful) your calculus … by yourself is not the question. I shall appoint a Committee of the Royal Society to deal only with the question who was the first inventor. And I shall see that they do not stray from that

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  17

narrow path! (Pause). The Committee will treat Leibniz­ as second inventor, because (slow and loud) second inventors have no rights! None! The subject matter of Calculus was engaging enough that it not only resulted quickly in translations into German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, but was also converted by the composer Werner Schulze into a chamber opera that was performed four times in the Zurich Opera Studiobühne during the “Year of Physics” in 2005. My interest in using the theatre format to explore behavioural and cultural aspects of scientists led me in Phallacy5 to examine the quirks and idiosyncrasies of art historian and scientist, when they examine the age of an art object from their grossly different perspectives—aesthetic and art historical connoiss– eurship versus cold material analysis. I also wanted to explore the ramifications of a well known character fault that transcends the gulf been art scholar and scientist—falling in love with a favourite hypothesis and defending it against all comers and new evidence. The following­ dialogue between Regina, the art historian, and Rex, the chemist, will provide a flavour for my agent provocateur style. REGINA You see, this is what I find so I infuriating. You slavishly follow the rules of chemistry you learned as a student … lessons you now teach to your students … who will then teach it to their students, it’s sterile crap … REX (Outraged) Crap? REGINA I said “sterile” crap … consisting of rules promoted by art-hating boors, shielded from any sense of beauty by a dense fog spread from ear to ear. You disembowel every vestige of aesthetics … you ignore style, form, patina … in fact all connotative­ accompaniments. Transforming the wine of aesthetics into vinegar! How typical of you chemists. When

18  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

chemists­ dabble with art, the best that can be said is the results are unpredictable. REX Unpredictability is what science is all about … REGINA Is it really?

5. C. Djerassi, Phallacy ( phallacy/phallacyfull­.html) published in German translation as Phallstricke, Haymon Verlag, Innsbruck­, 2005. 6. S. Poliakoff, Blinded by the Sun, Methuen, London, 1996 7. V. Thyssen, Einstein’s Gift, Playwrights Canada Press, Toronto, 2003.

REX I wanted to explain how we arrived at our conclusion (waves pages) … REGINA You think I need an explanation? REX (Sarcastic) Oh pardon me! I forgot. You have no use for trace metal analysis, but you’re an expert in thermoluminescence … and scanning electron microscopy. In their scope and limitations … REGINA Their limitations! Exactly. REX You’re impossible! Here… (slams report­ on her desk). Read it. Chemists appear only infrequently as characters in plays. But Stephen Poliakoff’ s Blinded by the Sun,6 dealing with the cold fusion debacle, or the Canadian Vern Thyssen’s, Einstein’s Gift, focusing on the Nobel laureate Fritz Haber, are first-class examples that this lode merits mining. Not only do such plays offer new insights to a non-scientific audience, but they may even tempt chemists to occasionally leave the laboratory for the theatre. Carl Djerassi, professor emeritus of chemistry

References 1. C. Djerassi, Menachem’s Seed, Penguin Books, New York, 1998. 2. C. Djerassi, An Immaculate Misconception, Imperial College Press/ World Scientific Publ., London, 2000. 3. C. Djerassi and R. Hoffmann, Oxygen, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2001. 4. C. Djerassi and D. Pinner, Newton’s Darkness: Two dramatic views, Imperial College Press/ World Scientific Publ., London, 2003.

at Stanford University, is one of the few American scientists to have received both the National Medal of Science (in 1973 for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive) as well as the National Medal of Technology (1991). He is also the author of a collection of short stories, a poetry chapbook, an autobiography, and a memoir, as well as five novels and eight plays. His recent plays, Three on a Couch and Taboos will have their North American premieres in New York City’s Soho Playhouse in May and September 2008, respectively.

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  19

APassion for Chemistry andArt Roald Hoffmann


he world opened up for me at Columbia College in New York City. My chemistry courses were routine, but a core curriculum in great books and a poetry course taught by Mark Van Doren as well as one in Japanese literature and two in history of art—all of these just drew me into the world of art and literature. I stayed with chemistry, but just barely. In fact, it was not until three years into my PhD studies that I committed fully to our wonderful molecular science. But I kept reading in the humanities. And sat in on courses in literature in the languages I tried to keep up. Eventually, at age 40, I began to write poetry. It took me seven years to get a poem published. Ten years later, I started to write science for a general audience, in part through a forum offered to me by American Scientist. Every four or six months, I could write a column about chemistry in culture, about the intersections of chemistry, philosophy, society, and history. And ten years later, I began to write plays. In between, I took part in making a series of 26 half-hour video programs about chemistry called “The World of Chemistry.” In time, I have built my own land between chemistry, philosophy, and poetry. My art historical interests come through in my writing. I also write about ceramics on a regular basis. Actually, I’ll write about anything! My poetry has appeared in various literary magazines. Two collections, entitled The Metamict State (1987) and Gaps and Verges (1990), were published by the University of Florida Press. Memory Effects was published in 1999 by the Calhoun Press of Columbia College, Chicago. At the end of 2002, two poetry collections of mine were published, Soliton, by Truman State University Press, and a volume of selected

20  L’Actualité chimique canadienne mars avril 2008

poems translated into Spanish, Catalísta, published in Madrid, Spain by Huerga y Fierro. In 1993, the Smithsonian Institution Press published Chemistry Imagined. This art/science/literature collaboration with artist Vivian Torrence reveals the creative and humanistic sparks of chemistry. A series of 30 collages by Torrence paired with short essays, personal commentary, and poems by me evoke the magic of the molecular science. The book has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. In 1995, Columbia University Press published my The Same and Not the Same. This book points to the dualities that lie under the surface of chemistry, and that endow this seemingly quiet central science with tension. There are German, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and two Chinese translations of this book. In 1997, W. H. Freeman published Old Wine, New Flasks— Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition, by myself and Shira Leibowitz Schmidt. This book looks in a non-confrontational (and, I hope, witty) way at how science and religion, dealing with the mundane, are both led to eternal and important questions of authority, purity, identity, the natural, and the unnatural. A Spanish translation of this book has appeared. The play, Oxygen, by Carl Djerassi and myself premiered at the San Diego Repertory Theatre in 2001, and has had productions in Toronto, ON; London, U.K.; East Lansing, MI; Madison, WI; Columbus, OH; Germany; Korea; and Japan. Oxygen has been translated into many languages. A second play, Should’ve, has had two productions so far—one in Canada, another in Italy. My “literary” Web site is It contains a complete list of publications and instructions for ordering the books and downloadable copies of many articles. The poetry books are about the price of three lattes each. The Web site also describes “Entertaining Science­,” a cabaret I run monthly in New York City.


Cornell University’s Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate in chemistry and accomplished poet and playwright, has entrusted Should Have Theatre, an Edmonton-based team, with bringing his new play to life on stages in Canada, the U.S., Italy, and beyond. After premiering for a global scientific audience of 2,000 in Torino in August 2007, the play ran in Edmonton September 2007 at Word! A Symposium of Talk, Poetry, and Performance, as a Cultural Capital of Canada showcase event. It was performed in Vancouver at Celebrate Research Week at The University of British Columbia, marking the re-opening of The University of British Columbia’s chemistry heritage building. Should Have Theatre welcomes invitations for other performances.

I had written three pages on how insects are such good chemists, citing the silkworm sex attractant, and the bombardier beetle, spraying out hot hydrogen peroxide when threatened. And I was in the middle of telling the story of the western pine beetle, which has an aggregation pheromone calling all comers (of that species). The pheromone has three components: one from the male, frontalin, exo-brevicomin wafted by the female and (ingenious) abundant pitch-smelling myrcene from the host pine. I had written this the night before, broken it down into short lines. When I woke up Sunday and sat down to work, quietly, with a second cup of coffee, the sun was on my desk. I had some flowers I had picked on the hill in a vase: bush lupine, California poppies, and some of the grass that grows here. On the grass stalks the bracts were a few centimeters apart. They were beige, finely lined husks, their line set by a dark spikelet, more like a stiffened flagellum than a thorn. A hint of something feathered inside. The sun’s warmth had burst some of the pods, which had fallen on the draft (the words were lost in the sun), fallen by chance next to the shadows of seed still hanging, and, the grass seed like dormant grasshoppers, legs of now bent spikelets cast second, finer shadows. Then I saw you walking on the hill.

22  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Above: You’re Fired! Clay pots are returned to the kiln for oxidation.


Clay and

Complex Ions The chemistry of ceramics from earth to fired finish


ecorate your home, furnish your reception area, or brush up on the chemistry of materials and light emission—with ceramics. The ceramic process first began with the earliest discovery that earth mixed with water can be moulded into shapes. All pottery contains some amount of clay in combination with other materials. Clay allows the material to be easily manipulated and to maintain its new form with strength. Flux is another material present in pottery. It melts in the high temperatures of a kiln and reacts with other materials, increasing the pottery’s strength. The remainder of the composition is filler—non-reactive material providing rigidity. Once clay bodies are moulded into shape and built with the materials to provide us the characteristics we desire, they are fired and glazed. That is where chemistry reveals a full spectrum of glorious colours! While pottery is often admired for its physical beauty, the associated chemical processes should not be overlooked. Clay is not a pure substance. It consists mostly of kaolin (Al2O3•2SiO2•2H2O), and also quartz (SiO2) and mica (soda— Na2O•3Al2O3•6SiO2•6H2O, and potash—K2O•3Al2O3•6SiO2•6H2O). The components of clay are what distinguishes its important characteristics like particle size, plasticity, and strength. The superficial view that particles are spherical or cubical will just not do in the case of kaolin. Kaolin consists of a layer structure with planes of Si–O alternate with planes of Al–O or O–H. The unit cell dimension is in the order of nanometres. For potters, sizes are often quoted in an equivalent spherical diameter—kaolin at approximately 0.05 micrometres. Clays with lower kaolin content have smaller equivalent particle diameters. It’s this fineness that allows clay bodies to have high packing density. Clay bodies must also have high plasticity—allowing­ it to undergo large strains, quickly, without fracturing so that it can maintain an imposed shape. It’s the plate-like nature of the kaolin, the fine particle size, and its affinity with water that attributes to its

Anne Campbell, MCIC

plasticity. Clay bodies need to be strong while being formed, while being fired, and as a finished product. Non-plastic materials with the water removed, like flint and stone, and dry clay powder have very little strength. However, clay remains firm even after the water has been dried out. The water in the clay allows the particles to remain close together, contributing to attractive forces. Its fine particle size permits a greater number of points of contact per volume, reinforcing the clay’s strength. Additional plasticity and strength can also be achieved with other material binders. When alkalis are present in clay bodies, they contribute to the formation of alkali-aluminum-silicate glasses. This glassy matrix also enhances the strength of the clay bodies. Feldspar (soda— Na2O•Al2O3•6SiO2 and potash—K2O•Al2O3•6SiO2) allows ceramics to melt at normal pottery firing temperatures and to have a high viscosity to protect against deformation. For clay bodies that need special characteristics, flux can be a chief component. Talc (magnesium silicate hydroxide—Mg3Si4O10(OH)2) can form cordierite (magnesium aluminum silicate— Mg2Al4Si5O18 ) that gives the clay bodies very low thermal expansion. Filler is mainly added to clay bodies to fill the space between the clay and flux. The filler must remain relatively unchanged during the firing of the clay piece to help provide strength, rigidity, and maintain form. The most common filler is silica, which is inexpensive in large quantities. After the potter has chosen the clay, flux, and filler, and moulded the piece using material that has enough strength to maintain its shape, he/she has to ensure that the chosen materials will not distort or shrink when drying. Once the piece is formed, water needs to be driven out to strengthen the unfired pieces. The mechanics of drying are essential because a steep rise in temperature can be too drastic. Ceramic pieces will warp, crack, or rupture if the pressure increases before the water escapes. This is likely with big shifts in temperature. Ceramic pieces can dry at room temperature, but it’s a lengthy process. Kilns operate

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  23

Pièce de Résistance. Samples of the marriage of form and function through chemistry. by increasing the heat slowly. The temperature ranges and numbers mentioned below are specific to a typical earthenware clay body. Clay bodies that have different quantities of the clay, flux, and filler will have different temperature ranges and consistencies. The word “ceramics” is derived from the Greek word “keramos,” meaning burnt material. The heating of clay bodies to temperatures greater than 1000 degrees Celsius is an irreversible process. The permanent changes to the ceramic pieces are due to the loss of water. Clay undergoes tremendous weight loss with a rise in temperature above 150 degrees. From 400 to 600 degrees, a large percentage of weight and even more water is lost. Small amounts of combustible matter are burned off at temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees. Measuring thermal expansion versus temperature shows us that there is a gradual small increase in volume until the 400 to 600 degree range (again!) when the clay rapidly contracts. The endothermic reaction occurring in that region is the breakdown of the kaolin molecules releasing water, which is then driven off by the high heat (Al2O3•2SiO2•2H2O → Al2O3• 2SiO2 + 2H2O). The kaolin has lost its plasticity and strength at this point. The strength can be regained through other reactions at higher temperatures­. The heat brings about a decrease in volume and absorption of water

24  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

and also allows for an increase in the glass character of the clay body. The ideal firing range is determined by the degree of porosity. Vitrification occurs between 1,000 and 1,100 degrees as the fluxes melt and produce the glassy matrix. Porosity will decrease to approximately zero at temperatures upwards to 1,220 degrees. Beyond that temperature, the piece becomes overfired as the few remaining pores expand, leading to warping and other problems. Once a finished, fired, and dried clay piece emerges from the kiln, decoration is the next step. Not all ceramics need glazing. But a 100-micrometre-thick layer of a smooth, glossy glaze can become a very important part of the overall pottery process. The glaze does not only enhance the appearance of a ceramic piece. It becomes an impermeable layer with either glossy, matte, or satin effects­, making the piece easier to clean and providing additional mechanical strength. Glazes can be applied to dry, un fired bodies, to partially fired bodies, or in the most common case, to fired ware. Glazes are usually in an aqueous form and can be applied either by dunking, spraying, or painting. Glazes must have a sufficient viscosity to have good flow without flowing down surfaces and ruining desired artistic effects. Along with viscosity and adhesion properties, thermal contraction must be watched.

Glazes contain silica and are very similar to glass. Silica itself melts at 1700 degrees. Adding oxides to silica can create a eutectic where the melting point is lower than that of either component. The oxides break the silicon-oxygen bonds, and the mixture now melts at 1,000 degrees. Lead oxide is a popular choice since it has low thermal expansion qualities, good flow, and a high degree of refraction for a shiny glossy layer. Other alkali, earth alkali, and transition metal oxides are also used, each possessing their own pros and cons. Glazes’ vibrant colours are produced during firing when high temperatures excite colourants’ electrons into higher energy levels. Colourants are added to the glaze in very small amounts (approximately five to ten percent) and generally, the most common colourants are the transition metals and their oxides. The transition metals can readily form complexes in solution. The surrounding ligands can distort the energy levels of the ion, changing the energy differences to bring about a new colour. For example, cobalt chloride (CoCl2) in solution can form Co(H2O)6, which has a characteristic pink colour. Cobalt chloride with HCl will give CoCl4 with a resulting blue colour. Ligand field theory is important in the underlying chemistry of glazes; however, the oxides used with the silica in the base glaze can have an effect on the colourant and some colouring ions such as Fe or Co have been known to take the place of Si in the silica and oxide network. Along with resulting colour, the choice of colourant is dependent on the temperature range desired. The chemistry of pottery and glazes is further­ complicated when you take into account­ all the different types of pottery bodies available to today’s potters. It’s a dynamic­ art form providing further opportunity to appreciate the beauty of chemistry.

References Allan Dinsdale, Pottery Science—materials, processes and products (West Sussex: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1986).

Anne Campbell, MCIC, has an MA in chemistry from Brown University in Providence, RI. She is the CIC career services

Photos by Dominic Santangelo, Cascadia Stoneware

e s fo ng e l l a h C


orld W ng i a Chang

8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering

Incorporating the 59th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference and the XXIV interamerican congress of chemical engineering

MontrÊal, Quebec, Canada • August 23-27,


Recognition reconnaissance Ten outstanding Canadian researchers have been awarded Killam Research Fellowships, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The awards support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit. The fellowships are valued at $70,000 a year, enabling Canada’s best scientists and scholars to devote two years to full-time research. Environmental Microbiology recipient, Elizabeth­ A. Edwards, MCIC, and Chemical Engineering award recipient, Molly Shoichet­, MCIC, are both in the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the University of Toronto.

Kevin J. Kennedy has won the 2008 George S. Glinski Award for Excellence in Research in the Faculty of Engineering. He is a professor of civil engineering cross-appointed to chemical engineering at the University of Ottawa.

Dans le cadre de son 94e Congrès annuel au Palais des Congrès de Montréal, l’ATPPC a rendu hommage à plusieurs personnes qui se sont distinguées par l’excellence de leurs travaux de recherche, de leurs présentations techniques et de leurs services rendus à l’industrie canadienne des pâtes et papiers­. Les récipiendaires sont : James H. Rogers­, MCIC, Médaille d’or commémorative John S. Bates; James Olson, Richard Kerekes, FCIC, et David Goosen, Prix pour la meilleure­ communication publiée dans la revue JPPS; Murray Walters, Prix F.-G.Robinson pour services rendus à un comité; Ibrahim Karidio et Vic Uloth, MCIC, Prix sur l’environnement Douglas Jones et Prix I.-H.- Weldon; Grant Hooper et Peter Flynn, MCIC, Deuxième prix du concours de gadgets; Jeff Bennett et Mario Courtemanche, Prix des divisions; et Pierre Losier, MCIC, Certificat d’appréciation pour son service exceptionnel à la divison Atlantique­.

John C. Polanyi, HFCIC NSERC president Suzanne Fortier, FCIC, has announced that Nobel Laureate John C. Polanyi­, HFCIC, is the winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. Polanyi is a professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto. He has spent his pioneering career investigating molecular motions in chemical reactions. In 1986, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work uncovering the movements of molecules in chemical reactions. Most recently, he has used scanning tunneling microscopes to characterize the reactions of individual molecules and thus fabricate molecular structures that are less than a thousandth the width of a human hair. Named for Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, the annual prize is widely recognized as the country’s most prestigious science award.

26  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Milena Sejnoha, MCIC Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) president Milena Sejnoha, MCIC, received a medal from the Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers, Instituto Mexicano De Ingenieros Químicos (IMIQ) on the occasion commemorating IMIQ’s 50th anniversary. The celebration took place in Mexico City on February 18, 2008. It was marked by addresses by Mexico’s president Felipe Calderón, IMIQ’s president Luis Eduardo Zedillo, and the Mexican Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Mario Molina. The event was attended by leaders in the Mexican chemical engineering community. Earl Beaver of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) was also a special guest at the celebration­.

In Memoriam The CIC extends its condolences to the family of: L’ICC désire offrir ses condoléances aux familles­ de :

Gustav Lawrence (Larry) Osberg, FCIC, passed away in Ottawa, ON, on January 28, 2008, at the age of 90. Larry was one of the early editors of The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering from 1963 to 1967 and was a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada. Born and raised in Alberta, Larry graduated from the University of Alberta in 1938. He worked in Ottawa during WWII in chemical warfare research. Returning to school after the war, Larry received his PhD in applied chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1949. He then returned to Ottawa and joined the Division of Applied­ Chemistry of National Research Council Canada (NRC) where he became head of chemical engineering in the early 1950s. Much of the research at that time was centred on particulate materials including the Tar Sands extraction problem, fluidized beds, as well as the recently discovered spouted bed technique, and aspects of applied catalysis. Later in his career, Larry served as an executive officer in the administration of NRC prior to his retirement in 1982. Larry was a man of integrity and patience who was especially kind to junior colleagues and post-doctoral Fellows. He will be greatly missed.

Ed Capes, FCIC

Recognition reconnaissance

CNC-IUPAC Travel Awards for 2008 Bourses de voyage du CNC-UICPA pour 2008 The Canadian National Committee for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (CNC-IUPAC) established a program of Travel Awards for young Canadian scientists in 1982. These awards are financed jointly by the Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Gendron Fund and by CNC-IUPAC’s Company Associates—Merck Frosst, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bruker BioSpin. The purpose of these awards is to help young Canadian scientists and engineers, who should be within ten years of gaining their PhDs, present a paper at an IUPAC-sponsored conference outside Canada and the U.S. Deadline for receipt of applications­: October 15, 2008. Details of the application procedures can be found at

Le Comité national canadien de l’Union internationale de chimie pure et appliquée (CNC-UICPA) remet des bourses de voyage aux jeunes scientifiques canadiens depuis 1982. Ces bourses sont subventionnées par le Fonds Gendron (administré par la Société canadienne de chimie) et par les compagnies associées au CNC-UICPA : Merck Frosst, Boehringer Ingelheim et BioSpin. L’objectif de ces bourses est de venir en aide aux jeunes scientifiques et ingénieurs canadiens qui sont à moins de 10 ans d’obtentir leur doctorat afin de leur permettre de présenter leurs travaux lors d’un congrès commandité par l’UICPA à l’extérieur du Canada et des États-Unis. Date limite pour postuler : le 15 octobre 2008. Renseignements supplémentaires­ :

Chen has made significant contributions to electrochemistry and materials science. He has successfully designed and studied a number of scientifically important nanomaterials including super-hydrophobic tin oxide nanoflowers, well-aligned titanium dioxide nanorod arrays, and nanoporous platinum-based networks for green chemistry applications and novel electrochemical sensor design. Aicheng Chen, MCIC, received his PhD in 1998 from the University of Guelph under the supervision of Jacek Lipkowski, FCIC. He then spent two years working as a research scientist at Huron Tech Canada Inc. and two years as an electrochemical specialist at FINNCHEM Canada Inc., Kingston, ON. In 2002 he joined Lakehead University as an assistant professor where he was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2005. His research interests span the areas of electrochemistry, green chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology, encompassing some major issues that are critical to the mining and pulp and paper industries and to the sustainable development of natural resources in Canada. He was awarded an Ontario­ Premier’s Research Excellence Award in 2003; a Canada Research Chair Award in Material and Environmental Chemistry in 2005; and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship in 2006. With grateful acknowledgment of a CNC/IUPAC Travel Award for 2008, he will attend the XXIInd IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry in Gothenburg­, Sweden in July 2008.

Gonzalo Cosa, MCIC, was born in Cordoba, Argentina. He received his Lic. Chemistry degree at the Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto in 1996. In 1997, he joined the group of J. C. Scaiano, HFCIC, at the University of Ottawa and was awarded his PhD in 2002. He then moved to the University of Texas at Austin as a post-doctoral Fellow in the group of Paul F. Barbara. In 2005 he joined the department of chemistry at McGill University as an assistant professor. With the support of the 2008 CNC/IUPAC Travel Award, Cosa will attend the XXIInd­ IUPAC Symposium in Photochemistry in Gothenburg­, Sweden, in August 2008.

Cosa received the CNC/IUPAC Travel Award for his work involving the development of novel fluorescence-based strategies for visualizing chemical interactions, specifically, the design of novel single molecule methodologies to be applied in protein/DNA interaction studies, the preparation and characterization of nanostructures based on lipid-light emitting polymer supramolecular aggregates for membrane biosensing, and the synthesis of novel fluorescent probes to monitor reactive oxygen species.

Dmitrii Perepichka received his PhD in 1999 from the Institute of Physical Organic Chemistry (Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences), for work on π-electron acceptors with pushpull functionality. From 1999, he spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher with Martin Bryce at Durham University (U.K.), working on covalent linkage of strong electron acceptors and electron donors. In 2001 he joined the group of Fred Wudl at UCLA, where he was engaged in a number of projects, including synthesis of conjugated polymers

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  27

Recognition reconnaissance and functionalization­ of carbon nanotubes. In 2003, Perepichka jointed the faculty of l’Université du Québec (INRS-ÉMT), and subsequently moved to McGill University in 2005 where he is currently an assistant professor. His research interests include materials for thin-film and molecular electronics, novel architectures in conjugated polymers, and molecular self-assembly on surfaces. Perepichka’s group works on the design and synthesis of exotic conjugated materials and the study of their self-assembly at the nanolevel. Recent advances in the group include the first asymmetric functionalization of single-wall carbon nanotubes, and development of two-dimensional molecular networks with tunable symmetry and periodicity.

Yujun Shi, MCIC, is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Calgary. She received her PhD in 2001 from The University of Western Ontario under the guidance of Rob Lipson, MCIC. She then moved to the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences at the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa with an NSERC visiting fellowship. In 2004, she received the NSERC University Faculty Award for her position at Calgary. Her research focuses on investigation of structures, kinetics, and energetics of reactive intermediates in hot-wire chemical vapour deposition (HWCVD) of silicon-containing semiconductor films using laser spectroscopic and laser ionization mass spectrometric techniques. With grateful receipt of a CNC/IUPAC Travel Award for 2008, she will attend the XXIInd

IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry to be held from July 28 to August 1, 2008, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Shi’s research involves the application of laser spectroscopic and laser ionization mass spectrometric techniques to study the important reactive intermediates in the process of HWCVD of silicon-containing films. Her work is directed towards a molecular level understanding of the gas-phase chemistry in HWCVD that will provide important guidance towards improved methods for film growth.

André Simpson obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham, U.K. under the supervision of Michael H. B. Hayes in 2000. His PhD work focused on the reactivity and transformation of natural products in the terrestrial environment using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. He then moved to the U.S. completing two postdoctoral fellowships, the first under the supervision of William Kingery at Mississippi State and the second under Patrick Hatcher at Ohio State University. Simpson is now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. His research program centres on the development of NMR Spectroscopy and its “hyphenation” with other analytical methods. His main research aims to understand the direct metabolic response of living systems to their environment and to unravel the molecular processes that lead to the preservation and bioavailability of toxic chemicals in the environment. Simpson is very grateful for the support of the CNC/IUPAC Travel Award, and



28  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

will attend the 5th International Symposium of Interaction of Soil Minerals with Organic Components and Microorganisms in Chile from November 24 to 29, 2008. Simpson’s research focuses on analytical techniques with the goal to better understand complex molecular-scale environmental processes.

William Skene, MCIC, is an assistant professor in physical chemistry at l’Université de Montréal. He obtained his PhD in 2000 at the University of Ottawa under the direction of J. C. Scaiano, HFCIC. He then did a post-doctoral fellowship with J. M. Lehn at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, between 2000 and 2002. In 2003, he joined l’Université de Montréal where he is interested in the preparation and characterization of new functional materials derived from azomethines connections. By incorporating different aryl units using these easy connections, Skene and his group are examining the effect of these groups upon the photophysical, electrochemical, and crystallographic properties by establishing structure-property relationships. Not only are they concerned with the fundamental excited state deactivation processes of these highly conjugated materials, but they are also interested in tuning the properties making these functional materials suitable for electrochromic and emitting devices. Their recent work in understanding the photophysics of azomethines will be presented at the XXIInd IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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chemists, chemical­ engineers, and technologists each month at a very low cost.

Recognition reconnaissance

Canadian Society for Chemical Technology Board of Directors’ Nominees 2008–2010 The Nominating Committee chaired by Tom Sutton, FCIC, for the Canadian­ Society for Chemical Technology, appointed under the terms of CSCT bylaws Section V, 5.01 Nominating Committee, has proposed the candidates listed below to serve as CSCT Officers and Directors for the terms indicated for 2008–2010. Further nominations must be submitted in writing with the signed consent of the nominee to serve if elected and must be signed by no fewer than ten members in good standing. The deadline for receipt of any additional nominations is Monday, April 14, 2008. Those elected, whether by ballot or acclamation, will take office immediately following the annual general meeting of the Society in Edmonton, AB, on Monday, May 26, 2008.

President 2008–2010 Ovie Ekewenu, MCIC Canadian Intellectual Property Office Gatineau, QC Ovie Ekewenu completed a BSc in chemistry in 1992, a MSc in organic chemistry in 1995, and another MSc in environmental science from Memorial­ University of Newfoundland in 2000. Ekewenu has over 15 years of relevant work experience that cuts across universities, manufacturing/service industries, and government organizations in the practice of chemistry, quality assurance, environmental project management, and environmental management system development and implementation. He also participates actively in various chemical professional organizations in Canada. He was eastern director of professional development for the Canadian Society for Chemical Technologists (CSCT) from 2004 to 2006. Ekewenu is also a chartered chemist and a member of Council of the Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario (ACPO). He currently resides in Ottawa, ON, and works as a patent examiner in the chemical division of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, an agency of Industry Canada.

Vice-President 2008–2010 Chris Meintzer, MCIC Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Edmonton, AB Chris Meintzer has been an instructor in the chemical technology program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, AB, for the past 22 years. He served as program head from 1993 to 1998 and presently serves as the faculty advisor to the Chemical Technology Students’ Club. He has also

helped his Student Chapter organize and host the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Western Canada CSCT Student Symposia. Meintzer obtained a PhD in physical organic chemistry at the University of Alberta in 1984. Since then, he has worked at, provided contract work for, or been on industrial leave at the Alberta Research Council, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Guardian Chemicals, and Shell Canada. All of these positions involved close contact with chemical technologists working in their field. In 1996, he was awarded the Novacor Chemicals Ltd. Award for Outstanding Chemistry Teaching in Community and Technical Colleges. Meintzer has been a director on the CSCT Board since 2005.

New Directors 2008–2011 Lucie Clark, MCIC SIAST Kelsey Campus Saskatoon, SK Portfolio: Student Affairs Director (West) Lucie Clark has been an instructor in the chemical technology program at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), Kelsey Campus, in Saskatoon, SK, since 1991. She obtained a chemical technician certificate in 1986 after attending the one-year program offered at Kelsey. While working at SIAST, she continued her own studies and obtained a BSc, majoring in chemistry, from the University of Saskatchewan in 2002. In her years as a chemical technician/technologist, she worked in northern Saskatchewan uranium mines, at Eldorado Nuclear in Uranium City, and at Amok’s Cluff Lake mine. She also worked at Northern Telecom in Saskatoon and at the Saskatchewan Research Council in their analytical laboratory. Julie Visser, MCIC Cedra Software Corp. Mississauga, ON Portfolio: Student Affairs Director (East) After graduating in 1999 from Mohawk College with a diploma in chemical engineering technology, Julie Visser began working in the project management field, developing software for the medical imaging industry. She currently holds the position of project manager, engineering for Cedara Software Corp., a division of Merge Healthcare. She manages a variety of customer-driven software projects and is a contributing member of the company’s Project Management Office. Visser is a member of the Project Management Institute and is enrolled in the BSc program at the University of Waterloo.

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  29

Recognition reconnaissance

2007 CIC Society Silver Medalists

Acadia University

The CIC is proud to announce the 2007 Silver Medal winners. The medals are awarded to undergraduate students on behalf of each society.

Bishop’s University

Les médaillés d’argent 2007 des sociétés de l’ICC

• Chemistry Misty Dawn Burns • Chemistry Biochemistry Gavin Heverly-Coulson

Brandon University • Chemistry Clare McConkey

L’ICC est fière d’annoncer les gagnants des médailles d’argent 2007. Chaque société octroie ces médailles à des étudiantes et des étudiants de premier cycle.

Brock University

CSC Silver Medal Winners

Cape Breton University

The CSC encourages undergraduate students in chemistry and related subjects by offering an award to the student with the highest marks, in his or her penultimate year of studies at each chemistry and/or biochemistry department in Canada. The recipients of the CSC Silver Medal receive an engraved medal and a certificate of merit. The society offers its congratulations to those students who received the CSC Silver Medal.

Gagnants de la médaille d’argent de la SCC La SCC souligne les efforts des étudiants de premier cycle en chimie ou autres matières connexes en décernant un prix à l’étudiante ou l’étudiant qui obtient les meilleurs résultats scolaires au cours de son avant-dernière année d’études dans un programme conduisant à l’obtention d’un diplôme en chimie ou en biochimie. Les récipiendaires des médailles d’argent reçoivent une médaille gravée accompagnée d’un certificat de mérite. La Société tient à féliciter les étudiantes et les étudiants qui ont mérité cette médaille.

• Chemistry Xue Tong Sun

• Chemistry Elizabeth Ann Louise Gillis

Carleton University • Chemistry Michael Beking

Concordia University • Biochemistry Dragosh Catana

Lakehead University • Chemistry Shawna Parent

McGill University

• Biochemistry Mohammad Refaei

McGill University

• Chemistry Amy Alexandra Sutton

McMaster University • Chemistry Pavel Antiperovitch

McMaster University • Biochemistry Casandra Mills

Memorial University • Chemistry Paul Inder

Queen’s University • Chemistry Zachary Hudson

Ryerson University • Chemistry Muhammad Naqvi Patrick Cashin, ACIC, centre, winner of the CSC silver medal for third-year environmental chemistry, received his medal from Geoff Rayner Canham, FCIC, professor of chemistry, and Lois Bateman, head of science, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.

30  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Memorial University • Environmental Chemistry Patrick Cashin

Photo by Pamela Gill

Recognition reconnaissance

Thompson Rivers University

University of Manitoba

Trent University

University of New Brunswick

Université de Moncton

University of Regina

Université de Moncton

University of Saskatchewan

Université de Montréal

University of Toronto

Université de Québec à Chicoutimi

University of Toronto– Mississauga

• Biochimie Véronique Roussel

• Chimie Jean-François Lacroix • Chimie Vincent Lindsay

• Chimie Sébastien F. Vanier

Université du Québec à Trois Rivières • Chimie et biochimie Martin Boisvert

Université Laval

• Chimie Andrée-Anne Guay-Bégin

University College of the Fraser Valley

• Chemistry Catherine Nordstrom • Chemistry Amy Florence • Chemistry Burke Barlow • Chemistry Daniel Hickie

• Chemistry–Biological Chemistry­ Specialist­ Jia’ning Qian

University of Toronto– Scarborough • Chemistry Linda Lam

University of Victoria • Chemistry Thomas Walton

University of Western Ontario

• Chemistry Evelyn Verhoef

• Chemistry Jacky Yim

University of British Columbia

University of Windsor

• Chemistry Stanley Chang

University of Calgary • Chemistry Jefferey Mo

University of Guelph

• Applied Pharmaceutical Chemistry Cecilia De Martino

University of Guelph • Biochemistry Jenea Bin

University of Guelph

• Biological Chemistry John Whitney

University of Guelph • Chemistry Elisabeth Fatila

• Biochemistry Colleen Mailloux

University of Windsor • Chemistry Michael Miller

University of Winnipeg • Chemistry Cheuk Wing Lam

York University

• Chemistry Julius Koifman

Envoyez à ACCN les


de votre entreprise, votre classe ou votre laboratoire.


• Chemistry Ewa Golas

• Chemistry Griselda Natali Serrano

Quoi de neuf?

• Chemistry Zhensheng Jin

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  31

Recognition reconnaissance

CSChE Silver Medal Winners

SNC-LAVALIN Plant Design­ Competition The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering offers the SNC– LAVALIN Undergraduate Plant Design Competition for students enrolled in undergraduate chemical engineering programs at Canadian Universities. Individuals and groups of undergraduate students registered in chemical engineering programs in Canadian universities during the academic year are eligible. The winning team in 2007 will represent Canada at the 2008 international competition in Montréal, QC.

Deadline: May 15, 2008 The winner of the 2008 competition will have the opportunity to represent Canada at the 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering International SNC– LAVALIN Undergraduate Plant Design Competition taking place in Montreal, QC, in August 2009. For more information go to

In addition to the medal and certificate of merit offered by all the societies, the CSChE awards an additional prize of $50 and a one-year membership to the CSChE. Winners have achieved top marks in their penultimate year of a chemical engineering program. The society wishes to congratulate those students who received the CSChE Medal.

Gagnants de la médaille d’argent de la SCGCh La SCGCh décerne comme toutes les autres sociétés des médailles et des certificats de mérite. Cependant, elle désire accorder un prix additionnel de 50 $ et une adhésion à la SCGCh aux étudiantes et étudiants qui auront obtenu les meilleurs résultats scolaires au cours de leur avantdernière année d’études dans un programme de génie chimique. La société désire féliciter les étudiantes et les étudiants qui ont mérité la médaille de la SCGCh.

Lakehead University

• Chemical Engineering Chantel Zukiwsky

McMaster University

• Chemical Engineering Frances Lasowski

Royal Military College

• Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Gino Michael Francis Bruni

Ryerson University

• Chemical Engineering Erlita Masdan

Université de Sherbrooke • Génie chimique Pierre-Luc Voyer

Université de Sherbrooke • Génie chimique Geneviève Couture

University of Calgary • Chemical Engineering Marya Cokar

University of Ottawa • Chemical Engineering Patrick Koch

University of Saskatchewan • Chemical Engineering Blair Harker

University of Toronto • Chemical Engineering Yuan-Fei Wang

La Société canadienne de génie chimique offre le concours de conception d’installation de SNC¨LAVALIN aux étudiants de premier cycle inscrits à des programmes de génie chimique dans des universités canadiennes. Admissibilité aux étudiants et groupes d’étudiants de premier cycle inscrits à des programmes de génie chimique dans des universités canadiennes pendant l’année universitaire. L’équipe gagnante représentera le Canada au concours international de 2008 à Montréal (Québec).

Date limite : le 15 mai 2008 Le gagnant du concours 2008 aura le privilège de représenter le Canada au Concours international de conception d’installation SNCLavalin pour étudiants de 1er cycle qui aura lieu au cours du 8e Congrès mondial de génie chimique à Montréal (Québec) en août 2009. Pour de plus amples renseignements­ visitez

32  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

CSChE Chemical Engineering Local Section Scholarships The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering offers two CSChE Chemical Engineering Local Section Scholarships annually to undergraduate students in chemical engineering at a Canadian university. Sponsored by the Edmonton CSChE, Sarnia CIC, and London CIC Local Sections. Deadline: April 30, 2008 For details visit

Recognition reconnaissance

CSCT president, Joffre Berry, MCIC, with Chemical Science Technology award winner, Olha Kolmyeychuk.

CSCT Silver Medal Winners The CSCT extends congratulations to those students attending community college or cégep who received the society’s medal. The students listed have achieved top marks in their final year of a CSCT accredited chemical, biochemical, or chemical engineering technology-related program.

Gagnants de la médaille d’argent de la SCTC La SCTC tient à féliciter les étudiants qui se sont vu décerner la médaille de la SCTC. Ces étudiantes et les étudiants des cégeps ou des collèges communautaires ont obtenu les meilleurs résultats scolaires au cours de la dernière année de leur programme de technologie chimique, biochimique ou de génie chimique, approuvé par la société.

British Columbia Institute of Technology • Chemical Technology Olha Kolmyeychuk

Centennial College

• Applied Biological and Environmental Sciences Alice Wang

Dawson College

• Chemical Technology Karen Di Perna

Iain Stewart, director general, science and innovation­ sector at Industry Canada, spoke at the Canadian Consortium for Research meeting in Ottawa­, ON, on February 20, 2008. He presented the current Canadian government’s strategy related to science and technology and graciously answered many questions from the audience.

Humber College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Mohawk College

Seneca College

Adam Cochrane • Chemical Engineering Technology Michael Raimundo • Chemical Engineering Technology– Environmental­ Lisa Bradley

Mohawk College

• Chemical Engineering Technology Cheng Lin

• Chemical Technology Amanda Mundorf

• Chemical Engineering Technology Nicola Singh

Seneca College

• Chemical Laboratory Technology–Pharmaceutical Raymond Ong

Mohawk College

Sheridan College

Durham College

Mohawk College

Sheridan College

Durham College

Mohawk College

St Clair College

Durham College

New Brunswick Community College

Durham College

• Pharmaceutical and Food Science­ Technology­ Jennifer MacBurnie • Biotechnology Li He

• Chemical Engineering Technology Catherine Brown • Environmental Technology

• Biotechnology Technician Eric Jansen • Environmental Technician Jimmy Hearn • Environmental Technician Internship David Stevenson

• Chemical Engineering Technology Steven Bernier • Chemical Engineering Technology–Environmental­ Kimberly Tracey • Chemical Laboratory Technology Siji Li

• Chemical Technology Benjamin Curry

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  33

careers carriÈres careers carrières

FACULTY POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING McGILL UNIVERSITY The Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University invites applications for two tenure-track positions at the level of Full, Associate or Assistant Professor. We are looking for applicants with a chemical engineering background conducting research in the area of advanced materials or energy; however any excellent candidate with a background in chemical engineering will be considered. McGill University is a research intensive university with a distinguished history in Medicine, Science and Engineering. In addition to developing a successful research program, the successful candidate will be expected to participate in teaching chemical engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Applicants must have a doctoral degree and must be a member or eligible for membership with a Canadian professional engineering licensing body. They should demonstrate evidence of outstanding potential for teaching and research. The successful candidate will join a high-profile, dynamic department of 15 tenured or tenure track staff, which includes eight recently hired Assistant Professors. The Department has a B.Eng. program with 380 undergraduate students and about 90 graduate students are completing M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees. We have excellent infrastructure for both teaching and research. Information about the Department, including its current research activities, can be found at McGill University is committed to equity in employment and diversity­. It welcomes applications from indigenous peoples, visible minorities, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, women, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities and others who may contribute to further diversification. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian­ citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Applications will be reviewed starting on January 1, 2008 and will continue until the positions are filled. Send a resume, the names of three references and a brief research and teaching plan to: Professor J-L. Meunier, Chair, Search Committee Department of Chemical Engineering 3610 University Street Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B2 (or by email to:

34  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

YOUR ad HERE Are you an unemployed member of the CIC? You are entitled to three consecutive free advertisements in the Employment Wanted section of ACCN. Put your ad in front of countless employers in the Canadian chemical industries. Contact the career services manager at info@cheminst­.ca to find out how!

Events Événements


U.S. and Overseas


April 14–16, 2008. LogiChem, 7th Annual European Bulk and Speciality Chemical Supply Chain Conference, Dusseldorf, Germany,

May 24–28, 2008. 91st Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition­, Edmonton, AB, May 26, 2008. Short Course in Industrial Oilfield Chemistry at the 91st Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Edmonton­, AB, May 29–31, 2008. Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science­, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT) Conference, Guelph, ON, June 2–5, 2008. International Pulp Bleaching Conference, Québec, QC,

Looking for the right job?

June 15–18, 2008. 20th Canadian Symposium­ on Catalysis, Kingston, ON, June 16–18, 2008. Control Systems/Pan Pacific­ Conference, Vancouver­, BC, July 14–18, 2008. IUPAC International Conference on Biodiversity and Natural Products—ICOB-6 and ISCNP-26, Charlottetown, PE, August 3–6, 2008. 54th International Conference on Analytical Sciences and Spectroscopy (ICASS), Montreal, QC, August 13–16, 2008. 13th Symposium on the Latest Trends in Organic Synthesis, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, www. intro.html June 16–18, 2008. Surface Canada 2008 (SC08), University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, September 6–10, 2008. 6th International Symposium on Radiohalogens­, Whistler, BC, October 19–22, 2008. 58th Canadian Chemical­ Engineering Conference­, Ottawa, ON, August 23–27, 2009. 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering incorporating the 59th Canadian Chemical­ Engineering Conference­ and XXIV Interamerican congress of Chemical Engineering, Montréal­, QC,

April 14–17, 2008. Hazards XX: Harnessing Knowledge—Challenging­ Complacency, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Manchester­, UK, April 27–30, 2008. Fifth Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology­ and Bioprocessing, Chicago, IL, worldcongress2008 June 15–19, 2008. World Hydrogen Energy Conference, South Brisbane­, Australia, August 3–8, 2008. Chemistry in the ICT Age—the 20th International Conference on Chemical Education (ICCE 2008), Reduit, Mauritius, August 4–6, 2008. 12th Asia-Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering­ Meeting—the Chemical Engineering Exhibition­, Dalian, China, August 17–22, 2008. 25th Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, State College, PA, meetings­/meetings.htm August 24–28, 2008. 18th International Congress­ of Chemical and Process Engineering­, Praha, Czech Republic, September 16–20, 2008. 2nd European Chemistry Congress–Chemistry: the Global Science, Torino, Italy, October 20–22, 2008. LABTECH Conference & Exhibition 2008, Manama­, Bahrain, November 16–21, 2008. 2008 AIChE Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, Conferences/AnnualMeeting/index.aspx December 12–15, 2008. 10th European Meeting on Supercritical Fluids­, Strasbourg, France,

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  35

Nominations are now open for the

Chemical­ Institute of Canada­

2009AWARDSAct now!

Do you know an outstanding person who deserves to be recognized?

The Chemical Institute of Canada­ Medal is presented as a mark of distinction­ and recognition to a person­ who has made an outstanding contribution­ to the science of chemistry­ or chemical engineering in Canada­. Sponsored by the Chemical Institute of Canada. Award: A silver medal and travel expenses. The Montréal Medal is presented as a mark of distinction and honour to a resident­ in Canada who has shown significant leadership in or has made an outstanding­ contribution to the profession­ of chemistry­ or chemical engineering­ in Canada. In determining the eligibility for nominations for the award, administrative contributions within The Chemical Institute of Canada and other professional organizations that contribute to the advancement of the professions of chemistry and chemical engineering shall be given due consideration. Contributions to the sciences of chemistry and chemical engineering are not to be considered. Sponsored­ by the Montréal CIC Local Section. Award: A medal and travel expenses.

36  L’Actualité chimique canadienne avril 2008

Environmental Improvement­ Award is presented to a Canadian The

company, individual­, team, or organization for a significant achievement in pollution prevention­, treatment, or remediation. Sponsored by the Environment Division. Award: A plaque and travel assistance. The Macromolecular Science and Engineering­ Award is presented to an individual who, while residing­ in Canada, has made a distinguished­ contribution to macromolecular­ science or engineering. Sponsored by NOVA Chemicals Ltd. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses. The CIC Award for Chemical Education­ (formerly the Union Carbide­ Award) is presented as a mark of recognition­ to a person­ who has made an outstanding contribution in Canada to education at the post-secondary level in the field of chemistry­ or chemical­ engineering­. Sponsored­ by the CIC Chemical­ Education­ Fund. Award: A framed scroll and a cash prize.


The deadline for all CIC awards is July 2, 2008 for the 2009 selection.

Nomination Procedure

Submit your nominations to: Awards Manager The Chemical Institute of Canada 130 Slater Street, Suite 550 Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2 Tel.: 613-232-6252, ext. 223 Fax: 613-232-5862

Nomination forms and the full Terms of Reference for these awards are available at

Nominations are now open for the

Canadian­ Society for Chemistry

2009AWARDSAct now!

Do you know an outstanding person who deserves to be recognized?

The Alcan Award is presented to a scientist residing in Canada who has made a distinguished contribution­ in the fields of inorganic chemistry or electrochemistry while working in Canada. Sponsored by Alcan International­ Ltd. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses. The Alfred Bader Award is presented as a mark of distinction and recognition for excellence in research in organic chemistry carried out in Canada. Sponsored by Alfred Bader, HFCIC. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses. The Strem Chemicals Award for Pure or Applied Inorganic Chemistry is presented to a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant­ who has made an outstanding contribution­ to inorganic chemistry while working in Canada, and who is within ten years of his or her first professional appointment as an independent researcher in an academic, government­, or industrial sector. Sponsored by Strem Chemicals Inc. Award: A framed scroll and travel expenses for a lecture tour. The Boehringer Ingelheim Award is presented to a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant whose PhD thesis in the field of organic or bioorganic chemistry was formally­ accepted by a Canadian university in the 12-month period preceding the nomination­ deadline of July 3 and whose doctoral research is judged to be of outstanding quality. Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses. The Clara Benson Award is presented in recognition of a distinguished contribution to chemistry by a woman while working in Canada. Sponsored by the Canadian Council

The Maxxam Award is presented to a scientist residing in Canada who has made a distinguished contribution in the field of analytical­ chemistry while working in Canada­. Sponsored by Maxxam Analytics Inc. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses.

The Fred Beamish Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates innovation in research in the field of analytical chemistry, where the research is anticipated to have significant potential for practical applications. The award is open to new faculty members at a Canadian university and they must be recent graduates with six years of appointment. Sponsored by Eli Lilly Canada Inc. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses.

The R. U. Lemieux Award is presented to an organic chemist who has made a distinguished contribution to any area of organic chemistry while working in Canada. Sponsored by the Organic Chemistry Division. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses.

The Keith Laidler Award is presented to a scientist who has made a distinguished contribution in the field of physical chemistry while working in Canada­. The award recognizes early achievement­ in the awardee’s independent research career. Award: A framed scroll.

The Merck Frosst Cenre for Therapeutic Research Award is presented to a scientist residing in Canada, who shall not have reached the age of 40 years by April 1 of the year of nomination and who has made a distinguished contribution in the fields of organic chemistry or biochemistry while working in Canada. Sponsored by Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses.

The W. A. E. McBryde Medal is presented to a young scientist working in Canada who has made a significant achievement in pure or applied­ analytical chemistry. Sponsored by Sciex Inc., Division of MDS Health Group. Award: A medal and a cash prize.

of University Chemistry Chairs (CCUCC).

Award: A framed scroll, a cash prize, and travel expenses.

The Bernard Belleau Award is presented to a scientist residing in Canada who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of medicinal chemistry through research­ involving biochemical or organic chemical mechanisms. Sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb Canada Co. Award: A framed scroll and a cash prize. The John C. Polanyi Award is presented to a scientist for excellence in research in physical, theoretical or computational chemistry or chemical physics carried out in Canada. Award: A framed scroll.

Deadline The deadline for all CSC awards is July 2, 2008 for the 2009 selection.

Nomination Procedure Submit your nominations to: Awards Manager The Canadian Society for Chemistry 130 Slater Street, Suite 550 Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2 Tel.: 613-232-6252, ext. 223 Fax: 613-232-5862 Nomination forms and the full Terms of Reference for these awards are available at

april 2008 Canadian Chemical News  37

C o n t i n u i n g   E d u c a t i o n   f o r   C h e m i c a l   P r o f e s s i o n a l s 

Industrial Mixing— the key to uniform quality 2008 Schedule May 28–29 Edmonton Registration fees $845 CIC members $995 non-members For more information about the course and location, and to access the registration form, visit: profdev


Day 1

the benefits of consistent mixing and how

• Mixing mechanisms

he Chemical Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society for Chemistry are pleased

to present a two-day course designed to teach going green with mixing can save you and the environment in many ways.

• Mixing Overview • Liquid-Solids Mixing • Liquid-Gas Mixing • Liquid-Liquid Mixing

Attendees will gain appreciation for mixing from all points of view, including that of: the formulation chemist; the process engineer; the plant manager;

Day 2

the production scheduler; the operator; and of

• Liquid-Liquid Mixing (cont)

quality control. Attendees will learn how to get

• Mixer Selection

more out of their present equipment, lower their

• Mixing Specifications

cycle times, and improve batch-to-batch consistency.

Instructor For the last 19 years Peter R. Holman, P.Eng. has been the president of Holman Engineering Inc. in Holmen, WI. He has enhanced hundreds of clients’ mixing processes during his 30+ years in chemical and environmental engineering. He holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin. His development of custom mixing specifications has reduced off-spec batches and rework for clients nationwide including many paint and ink companies. His experience ranges from low-viscosity fluid mixing to the mixing of rubber. He has written a book entitled, Liquid Mixing—From the laboratory to the pilot plant. He also presents seminars for the Coatings Research Institute at Eastern Michigan University.

Chemical Institute of Canada

Canadian Society for Chemistry

C o n t i n u i n g   E d u c a t i o n   f o r   C h e m i c a l   P r o f e s s i o n a l s 

Laboratory Safety 2008 Schedule May 26–27 Edmonton June 16–17 Toronto


Day 1

the knowledge and working experience of chemical

• Safety management

he Chemical Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology are

presenting a two-day course designed to enhance technologists and chemists. All course participants receive the CIC’s Laboratory Health and Safety

• Safety policies • Training

Guidelines, 4th edition.

• Safety audit

This course is intended for those whose

• Flammable solvents

responsibilities include improving the operational safety of chemical laboratories, managing

October 21–22 Ottawa

• Introduction

• Labelling • Corrosive chemicals • Toxic chemicals

laboratories, chemical plants or research facilities,

• Reactive chemicals

conducting safety audits of laboratories and chemical plants. During the course, participants are

Day 2

provided with an integrated overview of current best

• Insidious hazards

practices in laboratory safety.

• Compressed gases • Cryogenic liquids

Registration fees $550 CIC members $750 non-members $75 students

• Fire safety • Storage • Waste disposal • Personal protective equipment • Electrical hazards • Fume hoods

For more information about the course and locations, and to access the registration form, visit: profdev

• Radiation hazards

Instructor Eric Mead, FCIC, a former instructor with the chemical technology program at SIAST, has taught and practised laboratory workplace safety for more than 30 years. A former chair of The Chemical Institute of Canada, Mead has been commended for his work on behalf of the chemical industry.

“The chemical field and profession are built on a foundation­ of trust with society­. An integral part of that trust is the safe operation­ of facilities­ including­ laboratories­, whether industrial­, academic­ or government. The education­ of engineers­, scientists and technologists­ must reflect that level of trust. We all share in the responsibility­ for safe and ethical research­, chemical processing and analysis.­" —Eric Mead

Chemical Institute of Canada

Canadian Society for Chemical Technology

C o n t i n u i n g E d u c a t i o n   f o r   C h e m i c a l   P r o f e s s i o n a l s 

The Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) are presenting the following course designed to enhance the knowledge and working experience of safety, environmental and process safety professionals.

Professional Development Risk Assessment and Management for Continuous Improvement

2008 Schedule May 26–27 Edmonton June 16–17 Toronto October 21–22 Ottawa Registration fees $845 CIC/CSChE members $995 non-members profdev

This two-day course is geared to those whose responsibilities include risk assessments, development of management systems, and providing advice to decision makers. The learning objective is to reach a thorough understanding of integrated risk assessment and management principles and techniques. During the course, participants are provided with a broad overview of the technical tools available to assess risk in industrial environments as well as how these tools fit in the bigger picture of the broader risk management systems to control risk.

Elements of the course • Introduction • Major Historical Accidents in Process Industries • Risk Concepts, How to Estimate Risk and Evaluate its Acceptability • Integrated Risk Management: Success Factors for High Performance • The Risk Management Process • Techniques for Risk Analysis • Qualitative Techniques: Hazard Identification (Screening Level, What-if, HAZOP, FMEA) with handson application examples • Index Methods • Frequency Analysis Techniques (Fault and Event Trees), SVA, LOPA • Consequence Analysis Methods for Hazards Associated with Hazardous Materials (with reference

The Chemical Institute of Canada

to US EPA Risk Management Program Rule) • Elements of Process Safety Management (with reference to US OSHA PSM Regulations) • Emergency Management (with reference to Environment Canada and other Canadian Legislation) • Summary and Conclusions

Recommended for Industry and government personnel who have responsibilities in: • Safety, Health and Environment • Worksite safety • Asset Management • Operations Management • Process Safety and Loss Prevention • Risk Management • Security and Emergency Response

Course leader Ertugrul Alp, PhD, PEng, MCIC, Principal, Alp & Associates Incorporated, has over 20 years' experience in assessment and management of risks to environment, health, safety, property and reputation. His experience covers a number of industrial sectors, including chemical, energy, pulp and paper, mining, steel, and transportation, and government sectors such as labour, environment, health, natural resources, and municipal planning.

Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering


Apr 2008: ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News  

Canada’s leading magazine for the chemical sciences and engineering.

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