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Canadians exhibit creativity during National Chemistry Week 1997.

Canadians celebrated this annual event with imaginative new ideas.

National Chemistry Week/Semaine nationale de la chimie (NCW/SNC) continues to grow each year. NCW/SNC, now in its ninth year, was no exception. A Canada-wide mail strike, threats of province-wide teachers' strikes in Ontario and school cutbacks at all levels did not stop activities from taking place, although some events had to be juggled. October 19-25 was the official week for celebrating NCW/SNC.

The week received its first national exposure ever from the press, thanks to members of the Toronto Local Section (in particular Marvin Silbert, FCIC). Chemistry was the focus of the 'Social Studies' column in the Globe and Mail on October 23.

Reports have come in from across the country about local events and these follow, from east to west.


St. John's: Chemistry made a major contribution to the Faculty of Science Open (MAD) House held October 23 in the Student Centre. As they have for the past several years, over 8,000 students with their teachers bused into St. John's from all over the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista peninsulas. The 'Liquid Nitrogen, Dry Ice' demonstration is always a big hit with the kids as are the reactions with chemicals from the kitchen and the exploding hydrogen bubbles. The students were happy to not to be required to clean up. Lights and Lasers, Kitchen Chemicals and Chromatography were also carried out. Students could test their money for nickel with a magnet. Is your nickel really nickel? (not since 1986). Each exhibit was supplemented with take home materials including information and ideas for simple science experiments.

The College of the North Atlantic (formerly Cabot College), District 7, advertised its new name with a new idea, an Open House at Avalon Mall. As College of the North Atlantic is now a provincial College, the Districts across Newfoundland held separate open houses showing each District's specialty. The chemistry booth was displayed during the three-day event, October 23 to 25. The furkins (small NCW/SNC mascots) were so popular that they ran out in the first hour. All other materials had to be rationed so as to last through the event. The NCW/SNC magnets, pins, and bookmarks were very popular among the young future chemists. Everyone was excited over the NCW/SNC lunch bags, and two younger children claimed those. The mouse pads were given away to older students, but they were in great demand. The chemistry students loved the pocket periodic tables which were distributed to all. Boneaparte, the human skeleton belonging to the Medical Sciences Department (see our cover), proudly displayed a NCW/SNC balloon from his bony hand. Pamphlets, posters and experiment postcards were distributed to shoppers who stopped by to check out the display. Experiments carried out at the Mall included those from the NCW/SNC postcards, Elephant's Toothpaste, Gak (slime), On a Diet? (comparing the mass of diet and regular soft drinks), Chromatography of Water-Soluble Markers, How Many Moles per Litre?, pH of Household Products and Dancing Mothballs. About 500 customers stopped by the College of North Atlantic display, and this deemed it very successful, even more so than in the college environment. Port Saunders: Students at Roncalli High School in Port Saunders look forward to NCW/SNC and National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) every year. A week of activities is planned for students from Grades 7 to 12 that revolve around the annual theme. As usual, everyone had a great time!

A science trivia contest was offered to senior and junior students. Every day in the front lobby of the school, a poster was placed called 'Something to Think About'. Students were given a different puzzle to solve daily. There were Science Olympic activities for each grade throughout the week. Also poster contests were held for Grades 7 and 8.

On October 24, the school had the highlight of the week, the Science Challenge. Throughout the week students took part in mini challenges which consisted of students answering science-related questions in a quiz show setting. This resulted in the selection of two teams for a championship match on October 24 afternoon in a school assembly. There was a strong chemistry content to many of the questions. As always, it was a great success!

This year was a special one since National Mole Day (one of the chemistry students favorite days) fell within the week. This was a much anticipated day. Students were able to hold a series of draws for NCW/SNC souvenirs: lurkins, buttons, magnets and more. In each chemistry class, there was a draw for a NCW/SNC T-shirt, mouse pad and lunch bag. Students listened to the Mole Day Song; made aluminum foil moles and mole day cards to send to distant students. Students solved mole puzzles and entered a contest for making the 'Best Mole'. The winners made three very unique Moles. Students were invited to a luncheon (compliments of their chemistry teacher) at recess time in the lab. During the day, they wore their mole buttons and continued the day in the spirit of Mole Day. Each year, this class is used to have fun and this year was no exception. It is a great way for students to learn about the 'mole concept': they never forget Avogadro's number!

Corner Brook: This has been the tenth year of the Grenfell College chemistry essay competition for high school students in western Newfoundland and coastal Labrador. The topic this year was 'My Favorite Chemical Element' and the favorite choices were: silver, mercury, gold, krypton, and copper, while brave souls picked antimony, technetium, americium, and praseodymiun. The 1997 competition winner was Heidi Brake of Pasadena Academy, Pasadena, who wrote on potassium. Second prize was awarded to Vicky Gould of St. Augustine's High School, Plum Point, who wrote on gold; while third prize went to Katrina Warren of LeGallais Memorial High School, Isle-aux-Morts, who wrote on silicon. Special Merit awards were presented to Adam Baker (Pasadena Academy, Pasadena), Milo Young (Holland's Memorial High School, Norris Point), Jonathan Walsh (Regina High School, Corner Brook), and Leslie Bragg and Nicole Tucker (Templeton Collegiate, Gillams). The inclusion of website references is becoming more prevalent among submissions from urban schools, about 50 percent, while only about 10 percent of students at rural schools used them. Interestingly, there was little difference between male and female use of website references.

Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown: Holland College celebrated NCW/SNC in conjunction with NSTW. Activities included internet cafes, rocket workshops, trivia events, classroom presentations and tours.

Nova Scotia

Halifax: Activities fell into three categories: talks to elementary school students, the Crystal Growing competition, and a Student Symposium on Materials Science.

Russ Boyd, FCIC and Mary Anne White, FCIC carried out presentations at elementary schools. Boyd presented 'Chemical Elements: Properties and Reactions' to the Grade 6 classes at Sacred Heart School, Halifax. White presented 'Time Out for Chemistry', science demonstrations for Grades 1 to 4, at three branches of the Halifax Public Library.

Donna Silvert, MCIC co-ordinated the local high school participation in the national crystal growing competition. All local high schools were contacted, seven entered the contest. The objective was to grow a single crystal of Rochelle salt plus 0.1 M copper sulfate. The contest turned out to be far more difficult than intended, but the winning crystal in the local contest, which was sent on to Ottawa for the national judging, was grown by a team from J.L. Ilsley High School. Congratulations to Eric Gosse, Katherine MacKinnon, Kristy Pitman-Weaver, and their teacher, Paul Myers.

The Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University welcomed about 100 people from Dalhousie University (Chemistry, Physics, Dentistry, Earth Sciences), Acadia University, St. Francis Xavier University and Saint Mary's University, to a Student Symposium on Materials Science, held on October 24 and 25.

Starting on the October 24 evening, the Symposium opened with Arthur Ellis (Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin at Madison) as the 1997 Walter J. Chute Lecturer. 'Customizing Materials for the 21st Century' was presented as a stimulating lecture/demonstration to a close-packed audience.

The Symposium continued on Saturday with lectures in the morning by Jeff Dahn (Physics, Dalhousie University, 'New Materials for Better Batteries'); Paula MacLeod (Xerox Canada, Mississauga, 'Synthesis of Novel Polymers by a Living Radical Polymerization Process - Stable Free Radical Polymerization'); Laurier Schramm, FCIC: (Petroleum Recovery Institute, Calgary, 'Colloid and Interface Science in the Upstream Petroleum Industry') and Mike Lee (Dentistry, Dalhousie University, 'Inertness, Bioactivity, and The Paradoxical Goal of Biocompatible Materials'). Late in the afternoon, three more lectures: Stephen Kuzak (Chemical Engineering, Dalhousie University, 'Improving the Toughness of Engineering Polymers'), Mary Anne White (Chemistry, Dalhousie University, 'Thermal Properties of Materials - Through Measuring to Knowing') and Kent Young, MCIC (Chomerics, Woburn, MA, 'Composite Materials for Thermal Management, or, If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Away from Electronics'). The lecturers provided insights into a wide variety of materials properties and applications.

Between the lecture sessions, there was a lunch followed by a student poster session which included six undergraduate posters and 21 graduate student posters. The posters were adjudicated and an undergraduate prize was awarded to Michelle Chretien ('The Chemistry of Reactive Silenes Derived from a-Silyketenes'; co-author W.J. Leigh, McMaster University), and graduate prizes were awarded to Scott Kroeker ('A Multinuclear Solid State NMR Study of Copper(I) Cyanides'; co-authors R.E. Wasylishen, Chemistry, Dalhousie and J. Hanna, CSIRO), Micheline Safatli ('Synthesis of neutral and acidic [Beta]-O-linked glycoconjugates of those found in the core structure of mammalian zona pellucida'; co-author T.B. Grindley, Chemistry, Dalhousie), Rob Schurko ('Solid-State Aluminum-27 and Phosphorus-31 MR Spectroscopy of the Aluminum Chloride - Phosphoryl Chloride Complex'; coauthors R.E. Wasylishen, A.D. Phillips and N. Burford, Chemistry, Dalhousie) and Suzanne Shea ('Radical Cation Formation in Bronsted versus Lewis Acid Zeolites'; co-author F.L. Cozens, Chemistry, Dalhousie). Special mention was made of a poster by Stephen Waldman ('Mechanical Testing Artifacts as a Result of Collagen Fibre Constraint in Planar Connective Tissues'; co-author J.M. Lee, Biomaterials, Dalhousie). The day concluded with dinner at the University Club.

Mount Saint Vincent University's Department of Chemistry carried out activities in conjunction with NSTW. Students from the Rockingham Elementary School, Grade 5 were engaged in hands-on activities such as water absorbing polymer from diapers, smashing pop cans pressure demonstration, slime synthesis, rubber snow, and the liquid nitrogen show.

New Brunswick

Moncton: Nancy Hache coordinated events at Universite de Moneton. Students from local high schools participated in the Crystal Growing Competition. The students found the competition to be challenging.

Shippagan: Cette annee le comite organisateur de la SNC/NCW et de la Semaine Nationale des Sciences et de la Technologie (SNST) etait compose de professeur(e)s de l'Universite de Moncton a Shippagan et des ecoles Univers Jeunesse et Marie Esther de Shippagan. A l'ordre du jour de ces deux evenements, de nombreuses activites furent organisees.

Le 19 octobre, chacune des institutions citees ci-dessus avait monte pour la semaine un kiosque soulignant la SNC/NCW et la semaine des sciences. Ces derniers avaient ete montes par les etudiant(e)s aides des professeur(e)s de sciences. Le kiosque de l'Universite de Moneton a Shippagan avait ete installe au niveau de la passerelle. Au meme endroit et durant toute la semaine s'est tenue une exposition de 24 affiches en couleurs ayant pour theme 'La Recherche Medicale'. Cette exposition fait le point sur les techniques modernes en matiere de recherche medicale (informatique-imagerie medicale) dans de nombreux domaines: la radiologie, la biologic, la dentisterie, les protheses, etc. Les kiosques des ecoles Univers Jeunesse et Marie Esther etaient installes a l'entree principale de ces deux etablissement.

Signalons que du materiel fourni par la SNC/NCW et la semaine des sciences avait ete envoye par les professeru(e)s de sciences de l'Universite de Moncton a Shippagan aux ecoles secondaires de Tracadie-Sheila, de Caraquet et de Bathurst pour qu'ils puissent souligner a leur niveau ces deux evenements nationaux importants.

Le 20 octobre, Daniel Hetu, MCIC presenta a la radio CKRO, la radio de la peninsule acadienne, une emission de 30 minutes consacree a la SNC/NCW et a la semaine des sciences.

Il faut noter que des conferences portant sur la chimie, la technologie, la physique, la biologie et l'environnement furent prononcees par les professeur(e)s de sciences de l'Universite de Moncton a Shippagan devant les eleves des ecoles secondaires de la peninsule acadienne. C'est ainsi que Yahia Djamel Djaoued, MCIC s'est rendu le 20 octobre a l'Ecole secondaire Nipisiguit de Bathurst ou il a prononce une conference sur les additifs alimentaires devant 100 eleves de 12 annee. La conference s'est terminee par une causerie sur les professions scientifiques, les possibilites de carriere en sciences, en technologie et en genie ainsi que sur les programmes de sciences offert par le Campus de Shippagan. Cette meme conference a egalement ete prononcee le 22 octobre devant environ 70 eleves de 12 annee de l'Ecole Marie Esther de Shippagan.

Diane Saucier a presente une conference intitulee 'Une demarche de recherche illustree a travers une experience sur la pollution'. Une presentation a ete faire le 21 octobre a la Polyvalente Nipissiguit de Bathurst et deux presentations ont ete faites les 23 octobre a la Polyvalente W.A. Losier de Tracadie-Sheila. Le but de cette conference etait de faire comprendre ce qu'est une demarche de recherche, c'est a dire comment poser une question, trouver les outils pour y repondre, etablir un protocote experimental, realiser fidelement l'experimentation planifiee et analyser les resultats. Apres une introduction generale sur les differents types de pollution et leurs caracteristiques, l'impact de la pollution depuis le niveau moleculaire jusqu'au niveau biosphere a ete passe en revue. Ceci a permis de situer son module experimental dans un contexte plus large, a savoir l'etude du comportement olfactif de la truite exposee a une pollution chronique par un metal lourd. Quelques resultats sur les perturbations du sens de l'odorat suite a ce type de pollution ont ete presentes. La discussion a ete ensuite axee autour des questions et perspectives de recherche qui peuvent etre developes a partir de cette etude.

Ce meme 23 octobre Jacques Robiebaud a presente une conference intitulee 'Le ciel etoile et le telescope' a deux classes de dixieme et onzieme annee de l'Ecole Polyvalente W.A. Losier de Tracadie-Sheila. Au tours de la conference il fur question du mouvement apparent des astres, d'alignement d'un telescope avec l'axe polaire, des differents types de telescopes et de montures et finalement, de la fiche technique d'un telescope.

Enfin Hetu a presente une conference intitulee 'atome, cet insaisissable' devant des eleves de l'Ecole Polyvalente W.A. Losier de Tracadie-Sheila. La chimie est souvent percue comme une science abstraite ce qui plutot est inusite pour une science qui a la matiere comme sujet d'etude. Cette perception provient du concept atomique de la matiere, l'atome s'est pourrant revele a travers des experiences tres concretes et il est dorenavant possible d'obtenir des images des atomes avec le microscope a effet tunnel.

Le 20, 21 et 22 octobre, des journees visite des laboratoires de sciences etaient organisees pour les eleves des ecoles de la ville de Shippagan. Plusieurs demonstrations ont ete elaborees pour demontrer l'importance des sciences pour le citoyen canadien.

Le 23 octobre un party des sciences etait organise par le secteur science au centre etudiant de l'Universite de Moncton - Campus Shippagan. Plus de 60 etudiant(e)s ainsi que de nombreux professeur(e)s ont participe a cet evenement qui etait un succes sans precedent.

Les participants ainsi que le comite organisateurs' accordent pour dire que l'edition 1997 de la SNC/NCW et la semaine des sciences fut une reussite totale. Saint John: The Canadian Society for Chemical Technology (GSGT) Student Chapter at the New Brunswick Community College (NBGG-SJ) held a number of events on the theme of 'The Chemical Detective' to mark NGW/SNG. Grade 4 and 5 students of Fairvale Elementary School were invited and entertained by the students of the Chemical Technology Department. They carried out various types of chemical detection, including changing copper to gold (zinc plating), separating colours (paper chromatography) and forming multicoloured crystals. It was obvious though that the experiment that peaked the curiosity of the students involved making a mysterious slime (alum and polyvinyl alcohol).

As a part of NCW/SNG each year, a guest speaker is invited to the College to share knowledge in applied chemistry. This year they were fortunate to have Richard Scott, who specializes in Forensic and Clinical Chemistry at the Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation, deliver a lecture titled 'The Chemical Detective-Arsenic and Old Lead'. His talk was followed by a social evening whereby students, alumni, faculty and guests could mingle and share individual experiences.

During Open House night at NBCC-SJ, students from the Chemical Technology Department took turns in giving guided tours throughout the lab. The crowds including local high school students, students and faculty of the Community College and the general public were shown around the lab and tour guides explained the Chemical Technology program. Also as part of the detective theme for NCW/SNC, a display on the incidence and health effects of lead was set up in cooperation with the local public health unit so the students and faculty could provide general information on reducing exposure to lead. Analysis of lead content of paint by atomic adsorption spectroscopy was also demonstrated.


Quebec: The Crystal Growing Competition was the highlight of the Universite Laval's NCW/SNC events. NCW/SNC promotional material was distributed to students.

Chicoutimi: Students grew a record 210 g crystal for the Crystal Growing Competition.

Chibougamau: C'est dans le cadre de la Semaine des Sciences et de la Technologie qu'ils avez tenu, au Centre d'etudes collegiales a Chibougamau (CECC), la SNC/NCW. Trois activites ont marque cette semaine. Dans un premier temps, une vingtaine d'etudiant(e)s de premiere annee en sciences ont visite les installations du moulin minier des Ressources Meston inc. A cet endroit, les etudiant(e)s ont ete inities au fonctionnement complet d'un moulin minier, du broyage du minerai a la coulee d'un lingot d'or en passant par la cyanurisation (procede Merill-Crowe). Puis, un groupe d'eleves, inscrits au cours de chimie organique, ont accueilli, pendant une demi-journee, deux groupes d'etudiants de [6.sup.e] annee de l'ecole NotreDame-du-Rosaire. Ces jeunes etudiants ont ete inities a la chimie en realisant differentes experiences tirees de la brochure Pour decouvrir la chimie. Finalement, comme dans les annees passees, une exposition d'artifices scientifiques a ete realisee dans le presentoir du CECC pendant deux semaines.

Sherbrooke: Le [9.sup.e] Colloque annuel des etudiants et etudiantes de premier cycle en chimie took place October 31, organized by students and professors from the Universite de Sherbrooke's Department of Chemistry. Fifteen papers were presented orally and twelve through posters by students from across the province. Please refer to ACCN, January 1998, p. 39 for more details about the Colloque.

Montreal: M.A. Whitehead, FCIC of the Department of Chemistry at McGill University festooned the Department with NCW/SNC posters and organized a competition amongst the undergraduate students for an essay on "Why be a Chemist?". Five winners were given NCW/SNC T-shirts, periodic charts and their entries were displayed in the front entrance hall. The top two winners were Janine Mauzeroll and Jessamine Ng. The Canadian Interdisciplinary Society, the McGill Chapter Sigma Xi organized two activities to encompass the week. The first was a trip to Cascades Paper at Kingsey Falls, QC, where the recycling of documents into toilet paper is handled. The use of theoretical quantum, molecular modeling and molecular dynamics theories and programmes to solve practical pulp mill problems such as effluents showed how Cascades Paper has become a world leader in non-polluting paper production.

The visitors also toured the Victor Morin Indigenous Plant Park, where they saw how to reclaim ruined land through careful scientific chemical and biological expertise. It showed how true it is that the true basis of all environmental research is fundamentally chemistry.

The Sigma Xi lecture was also very chemical, when Emil Skamene spoke on 'Molecular Medicine and Medical Paradigms'. The fundamental chemical changing of the molecular basis of life, to engineer disease proof bodies, or to correct diseased bodies and make them healthy, at the DNA and RNA level brings the possibility of molecular chips to do in the body what chips do in the computer.

The monthly 'Chemistry for the Public' lecture was held. David Harpp, FCIC, Ariel Fenster, MCIC, and Joseph Schwartz brought in their usual standing room only crowd. Whitehead entertained the Mount Royal United Church with 'Surfactants and Explosives'.

The Concordia University, Department of Chemistry exhibition, which has been held for the past 14 years at the Pointe Claire Cultural Centre in Stewart Hall, Pointe Claire, is part of NCW/SNC, NSTW as well as Quinzainne des Science. The Chemistry Department has a room where different professors participated in the events as well as about 10 or 12 students, both graduate and undergraduate. This year the comments of the visitors rated the chemistry exhibits as the best.

The different experiments were: a demonstration of molecular modeling and some experiments with liquid nitrogen (which also included the preparation of ice cream - very popular with the young people) and the behaviour of frozen materials such as robber and some fruit. There were experiments with indicators and various colour changes, titrations, chemical volcanoes with a foam basis, chemical reactions to fill balloons. There were students and professors on hand to discuss chemical hazards of household materials and an abundance of literature that was given to the visitors at no charge. Various MSDS information was printed from the computer on demand. Other science-oriented departments at the University also held events at the Hall.

The entire exhibition was very successful. As usual there was a constant stream of people going from one exhibit to the next. The student demonstrators were very enthusiastic to show off their knowledge and interest, and they were able to converse with the very young people as well as the adult expert. It was a great experience which brought science and technology to the community.


Ottawa: The Ottawa Local Section held their annual public program at the Rideau Centre shopping mall. The exhibit included booths from The Chemical Institute of Canada, University of Ottawa, YES Camps (Adventures in Engineering and Science) and the Crystal Growing Competition regional display. Two chemistry shows were also presented by Alain St-Amant of the University of Ottawa.

Primary school demonstrations were put on hold until the new year due to the teachers' strikes. Teachers are given a workshop to familiarize themselves with the experiments which are posted on the Institute's web site.

The middle school program involved hands-on classroom workshops for Grade 7 and 8 students. Volunteers from the Section went out to the schools to put on these well received demonstrations.

The Regional Crystal Competition saw 12 out of 19 schools submit crystals. The winning school was Ecole internationale de l'Outaouais. One crystal submitted, although not a high quality single crystal, was awarded a special prize for the best crystal cluster.

Kingston: Student members of the Kingston Local Section visited elementary schools in the area to promote awareness of chemistry. Pairs of Queen's University students (a pair consisting of one chemistry student and one engineering chemistry student) visited a Grade 5 or 6 class to perform a one-hour-long, interactive demonstration called 'Chemistry in the Kitchen'. Among the experiments demonstrated were 'Brown Apples' (where the elementary students tried to prevent the oxidation of sliced apples), 'Acid Rain' (where the effect of acid rain on Kingston's limestone buildings was compared with black-board chalk in vinegar), and 'Exploding Bottle' (where the gas evolved from a vinegar-baking soda reaction forced a cork to shoot out of a pop bottle).

The emphasis of the demonstration was on the fun side of chemistry, but the theory behind each experiment was also investigated cooperatively with the class. The elementary school teachers and students loved the presentations and the Queen's students also had a terrific time. Each class was supplied with copies of the "recipes" and complimentary pocket-size periodic tables for each student. This event was extremely successful and the students look forward to doing it again in Kingston area schools during next year's NCW/SNC!

Deep River: This Section participated in the Week through its involvement in the Crystal Growing Competition. Also, a seminar was held entitled 'Photography and its Scientific Legacy' by Keith Laidler, FCIC.

Sudbury: For several years now, the Sudbury Section has collaborated with Laurentian University, as the University's Open House falls during NCW/SNC. This coincidence of timing benefits both parties as the CIC demonstrations and information booth contribute to their program, and vice-versa, while their promotion and advertising for public participation brings a select audience of many interested students to the booth.

Chemistry demon, strations were presented at Ecole Ste-Agnes. College Boreal held a secondary school competition.

Espanola: On October 14, a group of Grade 11 chemistry students from Espanola High School gathered on a bus for a field trip which took them into the bush approximately 13 km. from town. The purpose of this trip was to collect soil and vegetation samples for their study in geochemistry.

Armed with a spade, plastic spoons, brown lunch bags, a machete and wood ale, the group marched single file along a marked trail for about half a mile to where a mining claim, previously staked, was located. Gathering at the north-east corner of the claim, the group was instructed on how to stake a mining claim according to the regulations of the current mining act. Then the class was divided into groups and assigned to specific duties.

First instructions were given on how to dig a precise hole which pierces three differentially coloured layers of soil called horizons A,B, and C respectively. Using a plastic spoon, the students were shown how to scoop out soil from five different positions from the horizon B, one scoop from each of the four sides and one from the center of the hole. This material was placed in a brown lunch bag and the bag was labeled and described by: station number, soil type, colour and texture. More experiments followed. But all this exercise worked up an enormous appetite! About mid-day, the routine was put on hold, and everyone collected wood, made roasting sticks, opened packages of hot dog buns, wieners and marshmallows. A bonfire was started and the feast began. After taking on the responsibility of smothering the fire and putting the garbage in bags, the group continued their work. By 2:30 the last sample was collected and the group treked back to the main road where the bus was waiting to take them back to school.

Upon arrival, the samples were placed into a plastic tub and are currently being air dried for future analysis. The plant samples are going to be separated and identified according to stations. This will be important because one of the investigations will be to see what kind of plants thrive in what kind of soil. During the winter months, these soil samples will be prepared. By crushing the air dried soil using a mortar and pestle, the samples will be sieved through a used nylon panty-hose which will give the ideal particle size for analysis. Specific tests for pH, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus will be performed on each of the samples and the results will be recorded. A graph will be made giving a profile of the data to see whether any anomalies show up. Also, these results can be calculated to the type of plants growing in a particular soil. This will be a new investigation which encompasses Bio-Geo-Chemistry, a newly innovative science which is being used by prospectors.

Toronto: The Toronto Section hosted a 'Downtown Chemistry Walk: A View of the Art and Architecture, History and Environment of Downtown Toronto from the Perspective of a Chemist' on October 19. The tour centered around Yonge Street and Front Street. Heating and air conditioning systems were discussed at the Hummingbird Centre and the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. A portrait painter and architect, William Berczy was the topic of the second stop. Berczy Park contains a wall mural on the back of the Gooderham building. The use of reflective paint was discussed, as was the tin used on the building. Rusting and concrete were discussion topics at the next stop, ending at the CN Tower. Sugar refining at the Redpath Sugar Factory, gas at the Gas Works followed by paper discussions at the Toronto Sun Building. The final stop was a factory in the Don Vale for a discussion of ink. Additional stops were given for those who wished to see more.

Early in October, the Department of Chemistry participated in the University of Toronto's annual Open House by organizing displays and guided tours of research facilities, opening laboratories.

Lecturers in the Department were asked to take five to ten minutes of the lecture time to remind students about NCW/SNC and to talk about why and how they went into chemistry. They also talked about their work and research. The aim of the presentation was to present a positive image of chemistry.

High school students were brought in to tour the Chemistry Department at the U of T. Some students were invited to audit regular lectures and/or to participate in some of the laboratory experiments.

Markham: NCW/SNC and NSTW 1997 was a most successful experience at Middlefield Collegiate Institute. The format of the week was similar in many respects to previous years involving contests, puzzles and displays but this year, they expanded to the feeder schools. As before, there were daily puzzles given over the morning announcements dealing with symbols, moles and other chemistry related questions. These were well received and prizes were given from the NCW/SNC materials provided. In addition, more substantial puzzles and problems and a contest page including 12 activities, ran the entire week. These too were awarded prizes. This year, the staff energy went into a science show for the elementary schools. They hosted three Grade 8 classes for an hour long round-robin show. Each discipline, biology, chemistry and physics prepared a twenty minute show of demonstrations and interest grabbers. The classes rotated from show to show. Approximately thirty student lab assistants performed these demonstrations for the Grade 8 students. The show was planned to continue in November and December for the other schools in the area. The week was great fun. The entire Science Department thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with a wide variety of students and there was enormous interest in the puzzles and answers.

Windsor: Following up on last year's successful foray into the foyer of the CAW Student Centre, magic shows were held in a very public area of the campus and elementary school children were invited to participate in the NCW/SNC activities. On the first four days of the week approximately 100 elementary school students from both the Windsor Public and Windsor Separate School Boards attended a chemistry show held in the CAW Student Centre. Shows were scheduled for Grades 4 and 5 or Grades 6 and 7 depending upon the demand. This year there were more older students attending.

Each year the show gets slightly bigger and better with the addition of new demonstrations and the removal of a dud or two. It is interesting to find that things that go over well with one audience may be completely lost on another of only slightly different age...and it is not necessarily the younger students who miss the point. Audience participation in discussions is encouraged throughout the show and the younger students clearly participate to a greater extent. On the last day of the week the volunteers did something completely different. A High School Liaison event was intentionally scheduled to coincide with NCW/SNC and NSTW. Grade 12 and OAC students from Essex County High Schools were invited to the campus for an information session and so as not to lose a great opportunity for a captive audience. Demonstrations from chemistry, physics and engineering were carried out for over 200 students who came to the University of Windsor to find out about programs in science and engineering.

It was a very successful venture, especially the chemistry part of the show as demonstrated by the subsequent large turnout of students who came to the Department for a tour of research and undergraduate laboratories. Students who participated in the campus tours also had a chance to win one of two beautiful NCW/SNC T-shirts that were among the possible prizes.

Hamilton: Demonstrations in Hamilton were postponed due to the teachers' strike. McMaster University hosted the Fireball Show, with students attending from around the region.

Lakeshore Catholic High School (LCHS) had another successful Week. Display cases were set up portraying molecules surrounded by balloons and posters. A Periodic Table O' Elements was put up. Students were made aware of chemistry and science in their lives by daily announcements. Students had fun trying to guess what teachers were baking when they were given the 'Engineer's Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies' or the reason why we get cavities and others just had time to think about the future as fuel cells were discussed.

This year, LCHS students were thrilled to have McMaster University Engineers bring the Fireball show to their school. Students enjoyed themselves as they learned some interesting science. Students volunteered with the nitrogen demonstrations and other aspects of the show making it a special occasion for the school.

The 'Guess the Number of Molecules in a Flask' was another crowd pleaser, but organizers were surprised to see so many students and staff get involved with a science trivia contest that was set up. There was some stiff competition as people tried to find out which Canadian scientist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry or the name of the hardest naturally occurring substance. There was also an essay competition in which students wrote about a chemical substance we need. Finally, the week ended with a cake which summed up this year's thoughts "Chemistry is Hot!"

London: In conjunction with "Let's Talk Science" and their NSTW program, the Chemistry Society at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) kicked off its 1997 NCW/SNC celebrations by sponsoring an interactive chemistry display at London's White Oaks Mall on October 18. The display was meant to show the public that chemistry is everywhere in our daily lives, and to try to dismiss some of the negative attitudes many have for "chemicals". In addition to the display the program also included some interactive experiments for young and old alike to hopefully show the fun of chemistry. Over 25 graduate students, undergraduate students and faculty volunteered to supervise and explain the experiments. These included a computer assisted "Sniff and Tell" game, written by Robin Martin, MCIC of the Chemistry Department, where participants were asked to "sniff" a particularly pleasantly smelling compound and guess the smell. Choosing the correct smell by clicking on an appropriate computer image gave the chemical structure of the compound, a space filling model and information on the substance uses. A second experiment involved the chromatography of markers. The separation of colour amazed the younger crowd, while their parents and grandparents learned something about how this technique is used in many chemical processes. The most popular interactive experiment was the ever popular 'Let's Make Slime' and polymer information. based on the volume of polyvinyl alcohol solution used (over 25L!) we estimate that over 1000 batches of slime were made in 10 hours!

The UWO Chemical Society also coordinated the local Crystal Growing Competition. This is the first year that London schools have participated for some time. A number of schools participated (with varying success to grow a single crystal) and found this year's recipe to be rather challenging to say the least. The winning submission was from Hada Malakouti and Laura Napier of A.B. Lucas High School in London. The crystal was judged by a team coordinated by Hilary Jenkins, crystallographer at UWO, and found to be a single crystal (9 g) of the correct morphology, although not quite as clear as expected. Runners up were Rebecca Feldman, Lisa Jong, and Poonum Bhagchandani, all of A.B. Lucas and Dwayne Santos, Laura Barons, Erika Johnson, Lianne Churilla, Wendy Cheuk and Erika Crudo of Regina Mundi High School. All participants were invited to the Department to visit the X-ray facility and learn from chemists all the challenges they face in growing good quality single crystals for their own work. Awards were presented to the winner and runners-up and all who participated were congratulated.

Thunder Bay: Christine Gottardo, MCIC and Manit Rappon, MCIC, Professors at Lakehead University, took chemistry shows to the following local high schools: St. Ignatius High School, Hammarskjold High School, and Sir Winston Churchill Institute. Some general information about the roles of chemistry in society was given to the students and it was brought to their attention that a lot of good things are "chemicals".

They performed the tested demonstrations on the reaction of luminol to show students that light can luminesce from a chemical reaction. In another tested demonstration, Gottardo and Rappon showed students a photochromic reaction and pointed out to them that this type of reaction can be used in the production of compact disks and in optical memory media. The tested demos were very well received by the students. At the end of each show, questions relating to chemistry in general and careers in chemistry were answered.


Winnipeg: In recognition of the outstanding achievements in chemistry by students in Manitoba, the Local Section of The Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) held Student Awards Night on October 29 on the campus of the University of Manitoba. The evening began with a reception which included refreshments and a cash bar. Awards and scholarships, including several from the CIC, were presented to undergraduate and graduate students from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg. Unfortunately, Brandon University representatives were unable to attend the ceremonies, but their outstanding chemistry students were recognized. Doug Craig, a new faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, University of Winnipeg, then presented a fascinating lecture entitled 'Single Molecule Enzymology'. About 60 people attended the celebration of excellence which was judged a success by many particularly because of the interesting talk by Craig.

Local NCW/SNC events were also organized in the Departments of Chemistry at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg. The Department at Winnipeg held its first annual NCW/SNC Pie-in-the-Face Event on October 22. The event involved students buying raffle tickets for $1 for the opportunity to win the prize of throwing a pie in their Chemistry Professor's face! Thanks to Andrew Grant, MCIC, Doug Craig, Devin Latimer, and Doug Goltz, MCIC for their enthusiasm in "donating" their faces to this exciting event. The Chemistry Students Association (CSA) took this opportunity to distribute brochures and decorate the wall with NCW/SNC balloons. The event was a great success, and fun was had by all. To culminate the week, a CSA ice hockey game involving staff and students was held on the night of October 19. The events that the University of Winnipeg CSA held were exciting and memorable. Not only did the week help to increase the camaraderie between the faculty and student body, but it also allowed students to become more aware of the multitude of academic and non-academic services that their CSA provides.

In addition to hosting Student Award Night the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba set up an exhibit in the lobby of the chemistry building to display NCW/SNC Posters and to distribute careers pamphlets, pocket periodic tables, and NCW/SNC brochures. To attract students to the exhibit a draw was held and four NCW/SNC T-shirts, a NCW/SNC mouse pad, and lunch bag were given away. More than 500 items were distributed, the careers brochure being the most popular item, and over 200 tickets were entered for the draw. NCW/SNC posters were also displayed at the entrance to the Sciences and Technology Library.

Saint-Boniface: Lors de la SNC/NCW, il cut une reaction chimique exothermique au College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface. Le concours du "super montage" avait pour but de declencher l'evenement. Par la suite, les etudiant(e)s participerent a une solution concentree d'activites, preparee minucieusement en l'honneur de la chimie! Parmi ces activites, le "concours du sarrau" a su faire reagir la creativite des etudiant(e)s. Il cut une emission spontanee de sarraus multicolores dans les corridors du college. Mais la reaction n'etait pas encore complete. Le "party pizza", ou les etudiant(e)s se sont associes en grand nombre, a provoque la formation de liaisons intermoleculaires entre eux. Il a ete observe que la pizza a servi de source d'energie pour activer la reaction davantage. "Genie en herbes" entraina une perturbation de l'equilibre dynamique entre les etudiant(e)s et les professeurs. D'abord, cette activite a su devoiler leur esprit competitif. Les etudiant(e)s et les professeurs, tous presents dans leur etat fondamental, ont passe aussitot a leur etat excite. Bientot, les etudiant(e)s menaient de 20 a 18 points. Cependant, la fameuse question bonus est venue troubler leur quasi-victoire. On posa la question "Nommez le scientiste et astronome qui est decede, l'annee de la naissance d'Isaac Newton". A cet instant, la competition avait atteint son point d'ebullition. Les etudiant(e)s, rassures par leur acquis et confiants en leur victoire certaine ont parie au maximum. C'est alors qu'il eut une explosion inattendue lorsque les professeurs ont repondu correctement. Malheureusement, la gourmandise des etudiant(e)s a provoque l'evaporation complete et immediate de tous leurs points. Enfin, le produit final de cette reaction chimique fut les professeurs: vainqueurs!


Saskatoon: The Kelsey CSCT Student Chapter celebrated for two days by entertaining the students and staff of SIAST-Kelsey Campus as they went for lunch. One display featured the preparation and distribution of designer coloured slime (with appropriate disposal instructions!). The pH and conductivity of popular soft drinks and fruit drinks were measured and compared-Coke still has more bite than Barq's, at least in terms of pH. Molecular modeling on a laptop drew attention, as did the acetone-dry ice slush, but the furkins proved to be more popular. Trying to identify the number of element symbols in their name earned participants a pocket periodic table.

Regina: Participation in NCW/SNC was limited to the Crystal Growing Competition due to exams.


Red Deer: On October 24, Red Deer College, NOVA, and Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School (LTCHS) set up a display in one of the shopping mails. Staff from the College and staff and students from LTCHS were at the display to answer questions. Included in the display were materials supplied by NCW/SNC, information on college chemistry programs, information on some of the chemistry that occurs at the local NOVA plant, and information on high school chemistry and a special chemistry/biology project that the students are involved in.

Edmonton: As a member of the local science community, the Edmonton CIC Section was at the Edmonton Space and Science Centre on October 15 to participate in the NSTW kick off. Several chemistry, concepts were demonstrated using slime, dry ice, chemi-luminescence reactions, and gun cotton, to about 180 elementary students over five demonstrations.

During NCW/SNC, chemists and partnering organizations (APEGGA, Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists, Grant MacEwan Community College, Alberta Research Council and Fort Saskatchewan Industrial Regional Authority) went out into the local shopping malls to show and share science to the public. Science displays and simple experiments were set up in Londonderry Mall, Kingsway Garden Mall, Mill Wodds Town Centre, West Edmonton Mall and Fort Mall. In addition, Dow and FSIRA sponsored four magic shows from Mad Science at Fort Mall. Mall science is definitely gaining popularity. Even the Alberta Minister of Science and Research, Lorne Taylor, learned about the science of slime, electroplating paper clips, esters, chromatography, and dancing raisins, while shopping at Londonderry Mall.

In addition, the Edmonton CIC Section coordinated a high school poster contest on 'Chemistry in the Oil Sands' and the crystal growing competition as part of the national activity. This year's local crystal growing prize went to Grimshaw Jr-Sr High School. Congratulations to Grimshaw students - Theresa Maggs, Shannon Oakly, Jennifer Grassmick, Andrea Turner, Darcy Patterson and Dale Sarver and their teacher Peter Webb.

British Columbia

Kamloops: NCW/SNC and NSTW were marked at University College of the Cariboo (UCC) with a Science and Technology Night on the evening of October 16. A wide range of displays were presented in the Science Building as well as in the University's new Trades and Technology Centre. Chemistry professors, Jim Davies, MCIC and Norm Reed, MCIC, along with tremendous help from many of the chemistry students, presented their 'Wonder of Chemistry' magic show twice before large and appreciative audiences. Separate "hands-on" displays were very popular with the general public. Kids of all ages interacted with displays involving oscillating reactions, pH measurements, and indicator colour changes. Face painting and the synthesis of silly putty and nylon were big hits. Sharon Brewer, John McIntosh, Justin McMain and Moe Granger spent several hours with these displays, along with the energetic assistance of many of their chemistry students. The Chemistry-Biochemistry Club at UCC finished off the Week with an interactive display at the Aberdeen Mall on October 25. Students presented several of the displays from Science Night, with the addition of molecular modeling of molecules such as buckyball and DNA.

Abbotsford: A key activity at the University College of the Fraser Valley (UCFV) was the second annual Laboratory Skills Contest for high school students. This year, ten teams of four students from Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission competed in the competition which was won by the team of Mary-Ann Shantz, Andrea Dahl, David Lira and Kuljit Virk representing Abbotsford Senior Secondary School. The second-place team was the Mennonite Educational Institute, while prizes for performances on individual experiments went to Yale Secondary School (for spectrophotometric analysis) and St. John Brebeuf Regional High School (for inorganic synthesis). Lunch was provided for all competitors, and Eileen Ablog and her colleagues from the UCFV Chemistry Department entertained the students with a Chemistry Magic Show at the end of the day. UCFV chemistry students participated in a 'Consumer Chemical Hunt' throughout the week. This activity required competitors to deduce the identity of a number of chemicals using the information provided and to find a consumer product in which each chemical is present. The winner of the contest was second-year student, Darryl Wardman who won a $50 girl certificate, redeemable at the UCFV Bookstore. Other prizes were awarded to contestants drawn at random from all the entries received.

As part of NSTW, the Science Departments at UCFV organized a display based on the theme 'Discover Science at Work'. Representatives from a number of local employers attended this event and, in addition to describing some on-going projects, discussed possible employment opportunities with students. Contributions from the UCFV Chemistry Department included a molecular modeling display assembled by Noham Weinberg, and a presentation on the Science and Innovators in the Schools program by Ablog. A series of public lectures was presented at the College, and one of these, given by Wayne Jeffrey of the RCMP Forensic Laboratory, received extensive coverage in a local newspaper. UCFV chemistry instructor, Lilliam Martin, presented a talk on 'Canadian Women Scientists' to a meeting of the Women's History Network of the Fraser Valley. Prizes for the competition were provided by Anachemia Science, Fisher Scientific, and a number of local businesses.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam College celebrated NCW/SNC at two levels (double the pleasure, double the fun!). The High School Division was involved in the promotion of safety in the lab and WHMIS. The students also started a crystal growing competition within the College which went on for some time after the Week. The students in the University Level Division took a career-planning angle in a number of poster displays and discussions of how chemistry background is pertinent to various career paths. They also engaged in some "fun and frolic" when they were making a connection between classroom theory and every-day applications. The students had a few laughs when they got into a number of "sticky" situations while preparing the Moo-glue. The glue was then used in the creation of a Mole poster, just in time for National Mole Day, on October 23.

Vancouver: The Vancouver Local Section of the CIC was again pleased to participate in the celebration of NCW/SNC for 1997. This was the third year they organized a crystal growing competition. They had quite a good response with schools submitting their crystals for display and judging at Science World on October 25. Three free passes to Science World were given to each school submitting crystals for the competition, courtesy of the Vancouver Local Section. After a very careful, detailed examination, and consideration of each crystal, the judges declared Celina Woo of Alpha Secondary School the regional winner for 1997. She received a Crystal Champion T-shirt and The Illustrated Almanac of Science, Technology, and Invention. Woo's crystal was sent to Ottawa via Air Canada to compete for the National Award. The best quality crystal was grown by Michael Luong of Alpha Secondary School. Second place was the team of Kathy Cochrane, Tessa Chaworth-Musters, Sandy Lai, and Haseena Nathu of Crofton House School in Vancouver. Many thanks to all students who took part in the competition. It aroused a lot of interest and will be continued next year. Prior to the judging of the crystals, there was a chemistry demonstration show entitled 'Ross and Steve's Most Excellent Experiments' in the Science World Demonstration Theatre given by Ross Hill, FCIC and Steven Holdcroft, FCIC, of Simon Fraser University. This show was well received by an audience of young people, adults, and Science World coordinators. It was a new show this year and the youngsters were completely delighted and awed by what they saw. NCW/SNC promotional items were distributed including the popular post cards of experiments.

Richmond: Suzanne Gardner and Bob Perkins, MCIC, of Kwantlen University College, Richmond Campus ran chemical competitions, much in the format of the game show, Jeopardy. There were four categories of questions, with a new question each day for the entire week. The students had to search using the Merck Index/CRC Handbook to come up with the answers to the questions. At the end of the week, there were three winners of NCW/SNC mousepads, T-shirts, etc.

Also, a crystal growing competition was held in Christine Rogers', MCIC, class (also at the Richmond campus). She even had her students grow sugar crystals at home.

Victoria: The main event in Victoria, this year was the National Crystal Growing competition. This is the second year for running this event. Hans Osthoff, President of the University of Victoria Chemistry Undergraduate Student Society, was the main organizer. Twenty schools (out of a possible 66) participated, but in the end only four crystals were submitted. These were displayed for public viewing on October 24 in the Chemistry Department at the University of Victoria. Judging took place on October 27 (judges were A.D. Kirk, FCIC, D.J. Berg, MCIC, and R. Hicks, MCIC). First prize went to Jamie Brown (Carihi Secondary School, Campbell River). Unfortunately, none of the submitted crystals were of high enough quality for submission to the national competition. Growing these crystals took a lot of effort on the part of the students and although many attempted the project, few were able to take it to the end with successful crystals.

Also held were the Science Olympics (also at the University of Victoria). This all-day event was attended by about 110 students from over 30 high schools on Vancouver Island. The students competed in science activities in physics, engineering, biology and of course, chemistry. The chemistry competition was organized by Peter Marts. The students were required to solve two problems. The first was to mix three solutions and have a colour change (iodine/starch test) occur after a fixed amount of time. The second was to determine the composition of a coloured unknown solution, given the stock solutions of [Ni.sup.2+] and ethylene diamine. The students were grouped in teams of four or five, and were actively pursuing the answers in the 75 minutes allotted to them. A great deal of interest in solving the problem was shown by the participants. Several members of the Department's teaching staff volunteered their time to assist the students in their quest. At the end of the competition, the students were graded on both their ability to propose a method to solve the problem, and on their actual solution. At the end of the day, prizes were awarded to the best students in each of the competitions and to the overall best students. The students and teachers were then treated to a chemistry magic show by Dr. Zonk (aka Reg Mitchell, FCIC).


Whitehorse: Students of Yukon College combined NSTW and NCW/SNC events. Like many other groups, the Crystal Growing Competition was the chemistry focus of their celebrations.

Northwest Territories

Keewatin District: Jim Kreuger of the Keewatin Division Board of Education coordinated the annual Regional Science Olympics. Contests were held between schools from ten communities in the District. Events are organized for the different age groups with competitions such as 'What does a Scientist Do?' poster competition, the Crystal Growing Competition, The Art of Science Poetry Competition, the Science Button Competition and a total recall quiz. The crystal competition had some starters, but the new procedure is more complicated so few completed the experiment. The groups will try again next year. Other events include the SET Challenge including Tower Power I-IV and the environmental scavenger hunt.

Kugluktuk: For the first year, teacher Richard DeMerchant joined in the celebrations. Several more remote communities in the Northwest Territories were involved in events. NCW/SNC promotional material was distributed to the various communities. Most communities used the mouse pads, T-shirts, periodic tables, etc. purchased as prizes for the Set Challenge and Science Olympics as part of NSTW. The results were sent into the Nunavut Science Institute for the Western Competition. Half a day was set aside in the schools and the events ranged from floating tin foil boats to building a house of cards. In addition to this many teachers took time out of their normal curriculum to talk about the role of chemistry in our daily lives and at the high school level several demonstrations were done to help foster a greater appreciation for chemistry.


Each year, NCW/SNC events help show the Canadian public that chemistry is everywhere. New and innovative ideas can be seen in the reports of regional activities. Chemistry can be celebrated at any time during the year and NCW/SNC staff is here to help. For more information contact: Program Manager, NCW/SNC, The Chemical Institute of Canada, 130 Slater Street, Suite 550, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6E2; Tel: 613-232-6252; Fax: 613-232-5862; or check out the web site at

Sponsors 1997

National Chemistry Week/Semaine nationale de la chimie 1997 gratefully acknowledges the following corporate sponsors/remercie les commanditaires suivants:

3M Canada Company Albright & Wilson Americas Limited Alcan International Limited AlliedSignal Canada Inc. Anachemia Science Astra Canada AT Plastics Inc. Bayer Inc. BDH Inc. Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. Bruker Spectrospin Canada Ltd. Celanese Canada Inc. Chemical Education Trust Fund Canadian Society for Chemistry Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering Canadian Society for Chemical Technology CXY Chemicals Canada Limited Partnership Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd. Dominion Colour Corporation Dow Chemical Canada Inc. Dupont Canada Inc. Efamol Research Inc. Elf Atochem Canada Inc. Hemosol Inc. Hewlett Inc. Hewlett packard ICI Explosives Canada Imperial Oil L.V. Lomas Limited McNeil Consumer Products Co. MDS Nordion Nacan Products Limited Nalco Canada Inc. Noranda NOVA Chemicals Ltd. Petro-Canada Lubricants Pfizer Canada Inc. Recochem Inc. Rhone-Poulenc Canada Inc. Rohm and Haas Canada Inc. S.C. Johnson Wax Shell Canada Limited Stepan Canada Inc. Syncrude Canada Ltd. SynPhar Laboratories Inc. Torcan Chemical Inc. Union Carbide Varian Canada Inc. Wyeth Ayerst Canada Inc. Xerox Research Centre of Canada

Thank You to Our Volunteers

We would like to thank all those who volunteered their services in the schools, at shopping malls, plants, science centres, in the bush and at all of the other locations where NCW/SNC events were held. Unfortunately, there are too many of you to list here. You are the heart of NCW/SNC, who help to realize the goal of making Canadians more aware of chemistry and related areas in everyday life. Congratulations on another year well done!


By Janine Mauzeroll, Undergraduate Student, McGill University

When I was a child, I was not a chemist but I had a chemist's spirit. Inherently curious, I would venture outside, discover rocks and keep the round and shiny ones because, obviously, they were of greatest value. My friends and I formed a little group which met once a week under a big tree after school to discuss our findings. One night I explained my theory about the value of rocks to my parents. I was very proud of it until my father took out a geology book and destroyed the very foundation of my discovery. But I was not about to flee in the face of adversity. The next morning, under the tree, a decision was taken to discard the value of rocks theory and move on to more serious matters: marbles.

This little organization not only helped to appease my curiosity but gave me the feeling that I was making a difference. As I grew up I kept finding ways of making a difference. I defied the law of gravity with my red cape. For like superman, I could also fly. I reinvented math numerous times when I recited in class that 3 times O was in reality 3. I did not make a difference as much in the content of my discoveries as in the way I was perceiving the world. Never wanting to accept things for what people said they were, I was looking for other answers and was willing to change my point of view in order to reach a better understanding.

Chemists are like children in that they are curious, determined and passionate. Like children, they learn about strange phenomena and sometimes their understanding of it is not fundamentally correct. I chose chemistry because I want to make a difference by gaining a better understanding of the world around me. I did not choose it to find all the answers: that is impossible. I want to try to ask one or two good questions to which I will find the answers. I chose chemistry because I think it is how I will make a difference.

RELATED ARTICLE: National Crystal Growing Competition 1997

The National Crystal Growing Competition continues to be a challenge, not only for the organizers, but for the participants as well. It is intended to be as simple as possible; however, since Parliament has not yet seen fit to repeal Murphy's Law, we have to deal with it's application.

An organizational problem for the Coordinators has been getting material for recrystallization into the hands of the participants quickly enough at the beginning of the school year. This speed was necessary, since the contest must conclude by the end of NCW/SNG in mid-October. In the past, chemical suppliers, such as Anachemia, have kindly donated the starting material to the national coordinator. This was then repackaged and distributed all over the country. As the popularity of the contest grew, getting enough material to meet the demand became a challenge.

Last year, we decided to use materials readily available at most grocery stores: baking soda and cream of tartar. These can be combined to produce Rochelle salt. Readers of last year's report will recall that some bulk food and health food stores sell material that they call "cream of tartar", but definitely is not. While researching the crystallographic literature for details on Rochelle salt a reference to the effect of copper on crystal habit was found. This effect was tested by a high school co-op student who, in the national coordinators lab, found a concentration dependence when tested at 0.01-0.1 M copper sulfate.

So, this year, we decided to repeat with Rochelle salt (with a caveat to participants to ensure that proper cream of tartar was purchased) with addition of 0.1 M copper sulfate as an impurity. Very quickly, reports streamed in of solutions changing colour and of a red precipitate forming in the solution, observations not noted by the co-op student.

Everything has an explanation (the trick is to determine what it is). One explanation for why there was a difference between the testing and application stages may be that the concentrations tested were lower than what was calculated. Thus too high concentrations were actually used. The colour effects may be explained by concurrent redox reactions: Rochelle salt apparently reduces blue Cu (II)aq to green Cu (I)aq to red Cu(0)s.

These confounding effects served to frustrate students and teachers alike. We have been admonished not to repeat this combination. Message received loud and clear!

Despite the problems, many participants were able to produce some high quality crystals of significant size. The top prizes, in order, went first prize to Marie Josee Roy and Lica Gilbert, teacher Stephan Baillargeon from Polyvalente des Abernaquis in St-Prosper, Beauce Sud - representing the Quebec region; second place went to Abo Akintan and Monica Butta, teacher Brian Gadsby from North Albion Collegiate Institute in Rexdale - representing the Toronto region; and third place to Olivier Carriere and Jean-Nicholas Gagnon., teacher Christian Doyle from Ecole Internationale de l'Outaouais in Aylmer, QC - representing the Ottawa-Hull area. These crystals all weighed about 50 g. The largest crystal, which placed fourth overall, weighed 210g. It was submitted by Martin Gauthier, Olivier Bonin, Dave Derosiers, Nancy Girard, Erika Methot and Marie-Claude Lapierre, teacher Michcele Belanger from Ecole Manikoutai in Sept-Iles - representing the Saguenay region.

Undeterred by this year's competition, the organizers are pressing on with plans for next year, which is slated not to be so difficult (but then, that was the plan for this year). In the meantime, anyone can start to hone their crystal growing skills by following instructions posted on the coordinator's web site at

Chris Young, MCIC Coordinator, National Crystal Growing Competition

RELATED ARTICLE: Promotional Materials NCW/SNC 1997

The distribution of NCW/SNC promotional material was carried out through coordinators in Local Sections, at universities, high schools and elementary schools. Industry also got involved. Demand from regional coordinators was lower than in past years, however, individual requests from teachers rose considerably. Booklets and posters, in particular, were popular with the teachers. A publication featuring Free Material for Schools and Libraries by Connaught Education Services publicized material to teachers Canada-wide. Material on the web site was also well used. The following is a list of promotional material distributed throughout 1997: 14,090 copies of mainly the 1997 edition and some copies of the 1996 edition of Discover Canadian Chemistry/Pleins feux sur la chimie, a newsletter for senior high school students; 2357 copies of Exploring Chemistry, a newsletter for junior high school students; 3773 copies of Discovering Chemistry, a booklet geared to children in Grades 4 to 6; 1080 copies of its French equivalent Pour Decouvrir de la chimie; 1757 copies of the American Chemical Society's WonderScience; 1418 copies of Wonderful Water, a guidebook for children in Kindergarten through Grade 3; 910 copies of Merveilles de l'eau, the French version of the booklet; 1808 English postcards (series of three experiments); 717 Frech postcards (series of three experiments); 2272 Chemistry at Work! posters (five different posters); 2043 Chemical Engineering at Work! Posters (three different posters); 2052 Chemical Technology at Work! and Chemical Technologists of the Future! Posters (three different posters); 328 American Chemical Society periodic table posters; 1426 NCW/SNC periodic table posters; 265 NCW/SNC decals; 2629 NCW/SNC balloons; 1810 NCW/SNC bookmarks; 1730 NCW/SNC buttons; 1732 furkins (a fuzzy purple mascot of NCW/SNC who has a pink nose and wears his safety glasses); 588 NCW/SNC magnets; 37 NCW/SNC caps; 86 NCW/SNC nylon lunch bags; 128 NCW/SNC logo mouse pads; 44,061 pocket periodic tables; 146 NCW/SNC T-shirts; 2563 English careers brochures; 1903 French careers brochures as well as 1545 National Chemistry Week/Semaine nationale de la chimie brochures.

Sponsors for promotional material include: Bayer Inc. which produced the pocket periodic tables and wall posters and which sponsored the mailing of Discovering Chemistry to elementary schools across Ontario; sponsorship for Exploring Chemistry was provided by the Chemical Education Trust Fund and Shell Canada; Discover Canadian Chemistry was sponsored in part by the Chemical Education Trust Fund, with additional funding from Industry Canada. This allowed the booklets to once again be mailed to all high schools across Canada. The Chemistry at Work! Poster for 1997 was sponsored by Dominion Colour Corporation and the picture provided by Alan Gray, V.P. Technical of the company. The Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology, all provided sponsorship towards production of the "at Work!" posters. We wish to thank these sponsors for their generous support in financing specific projects.

NCW/SNC promotional material is available at any time during the year, supplies permitting. For more information please contact: NCW/SNC Program Manager, 130 Slater Street, Suite 550, Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2; Tel: 613232-6252; Fax: 613-232-5862; e-mail: or check out the web site at


NCW/SNC National Coordinator, Peter Wan, FCIC and Program Manager, Gale Thirlwall-Wilbee would like to express a special vote of thanks to the following individuals who contributed materials for this profile and who took on the role of coordinator of events for the area listed in brackets: Local Section Coordinators: Dave Guzonas, MCIC (Deep River Local Section); Wendy Lam, MCIC (Edmonton Local Section); Joe O'Neil, MCIC (Manitoba Local Section); Eric Mead, MCIC (North Saskatchewan Local Section); Ravinder Minhas, MCIC (Ottawa Local Section); Duncan Bristow, FCIC (Sarnia Local Section); John Breau, MCIC (Sudbury Local Section); Michael Brett, MCIC (Toronto Local Section); Beryl M. Denel, MCIC (Vancouver Local Section); Dave Berg, MCIC (Vancouver Island Local Section); University, Departments of Chemistry: Lamine Diop (College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface); Robert Pallen (Concordia University); Mary Anne White, FCIC (Dalhousie University); Manit Rappon, MCIC (Lakehead University); M.A. Whitehead, FCIC (McGill University); Murray Brooker, FCIC (Memorial University); Geoff Rayner-Canham, FCIC (Sir Wilfred Grenfell College); Kathy Darvesh, MCIC (Mount Saint Vincent University); Stephanie Melnyk and Christy Miskelly (Queen's University); Nancy Hache (Universite de Moncton); Yahia Djamel Djaoued, MCIC (Universite de Moncton a Shippagan); Carl Berthelette (Universite de Sherbrooke); Francois X. Garneau, FCIC (Universite du Quebec a Chicoutimi); Josee Brisson, MCIC (Universite Laval); Doug Bickley, MCIC (University College of the Cariboo); Majda Djordjevic (University of Calgary); Elmer Alyea, MCIC (University of Guelph); Joe O'Neil, MCIC (University of Manitoba); Han Arp (University of New Brunswick); Wayne Larson, FCIC (University of Regina); Stanislaw Skonieczny (University of Toronto); Dave Berg, MCIC (University of Victoria); Mark Workentin, MCIC and Chantelle McRoberts, MCIC (University of Western Ontario); Philip Dutton, MCIC (University of Windsor); Amar Suchak (University of Winnipeg); Department of Chemical Engineering: (*)(University of Ottawa); Raymond Legge (University of Waterloo); 2-Year Colleges: Steve Gamache (Cegep de St-Felicien); Anna Kemecsey and Karioka Mirski (Coquitlam College): David Adley (Dawson College); (*)(Grant MacEwan Community College); Debbie McKie (Holland College); Peter Mahaffy, MCIC (King's University College); Bob Perkins, MCIC (Kwantlen University College); Eithne Dunbar (St. Lawrence College); Arthur Last, MCIC (University College of the Fraser Valley); Leslie Gomm (Yukon College); Community Colleges: Dawne Smith (College of the North Atlantic); Matthew McKim, MCIC (New Brunswick Community College); Eric Mead, MCIC (SIAST- Kelsey Campus); Alan Racey, MCIC (Red Deer College); Others: Mary Repovski (Bathurst Heights Secondary School); Marcel Martin (Ecole Seraphin Marion); Ken Naples, MCIC (Espanola High School): Joy Harrison (Frank Maddock High School); Jim Kreuger (Keewatin Divisional Board of Education); Richard V. DeMerchant (Kugluktuk High School); Francesca Martin, MCIC (Lakeshore Catholic High School); Lyle Sadavoy (Middlefield Collegiate Institute); Connie Powell (Roncalli High School).

We would also like to thank the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association, in particular the Public Relations Committee, for their assistance in supplying contacts at companies to encourage participation and for their advice on industry involvement in the event.

* signifies that the Institution was involved through their Local Section.

RELATED ARTICLE: On a Personal Note

Following National Chemistry Week/Semaine nationale de la chimie, I attended a meeting of partners of National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), a partnership which has existed for eight years. This partnership involves government departments, associations, and other organizations who have a national interest in science. An announcement was made that as of 1997, NSTW would no longer exist, at least in its present format. Industry Canada has disbanded its Science Promotion and Academic Affairs Branch and its employees have been moved to other Branches and are being given new responsibilities. Industry Canada will no longer be the national coordinator of science and technology celebrations. Students will not receive the face-to-face interaction as Industry Canada's mandate focuses on the Information Highway. The interaction with students is quite different, less personal when it is carried out through the computer.

The Computers in the Schools program saw computers introduced in every school across the country, east to west and north to south, a positive move. Unfortunately, in many instances, as our surveys for Discover Canadian Chemistry have shown, many of the schools in the more remote areas have only one or two computers which limit the number of people who are able to access them. The information highway is a wonderful tool for students to access information. It has allowed information to travel faster and more wide-spread at lesser costs; however, it does not altogether replace the personal, hands-on approach with the kids.

The NSTW partnership is not yet dead. The organizations involved in this partnership are working to try to retain this cooperation, which has opened many avenues for NCW/SNC than could ever have been accomplished on our own. The partners are working to retain the timing of events to build on the strength of a unified cause. We are optimistic that we can at least partially save this united group, regionally, if not nationally.

I wish to thank Doug Hall, Director General, Information Highway Applications Branch and Manny Checuti, Director, Scholarships, Awards and Science Promotion, for initiating this celebration. Special thanks go to Mary Marshall-Gardiner, who in her position as Manager, Promotion and Marketing, headed the project since its inception in 1989, Lise Picknell, Tisha Hutchinson, Jason Cote, Stacey Palangio, all of Industry Canada, my major contacts. There were others, too. I wish you all well in your new positions and look forward to new partnerships with you.

Gale Thirlwall-Wilbee Program Manager, NCW/SNC

RELATED ARTICLE: Goodbye and Hello

National NCW/SNC Coordinator, Peter Wan, FCIC, of the Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria, completed his role as of the conclusion of NCW/SNC 1997. Peter, along with his student Sarah Baker, has initiated the new booklet for junior high school students Exploring Chemistry and produced two new editions of the ever popular Discover Canadian Chemistry. We wish to thank Wan and Baker for their hard work on these projects as well as Wan's work in conjunction with the NCW/SNC Program Manager in organizing the Week.

On a happier note, we welcome Norman Hunter, FCIC of the University of Manitoba, as the new National Coordinator. Hunter is already working with Thirlwall-Wilbee, Program Manager in preparing for the tenth anniversary of National Chemistry Week. He would like to encourage others to get involved and would like to hear suggestions from the community on events that would be of national interest. With plans taking shape for International Chemistry Celebration in 1999, initiated by the American Chemical Society, the ground work must begin now.
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Title Annotation:includes related articles regarding the nationwide exhibition
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Feb 1, 1998
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