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Educators, industry boost young scientists.

Five local school districts and the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association (FSRIA) kicked off Education Week with the Young Scientist Conference on May 2. This science extravaganza saw 120 students work first-hand with local scientist on more than 40 experiments.

The junior high students came from Sturgeon School Division, Strathcona County Schools, Sherwood Park Catholic Schools, County of Lamont and Fort Saskatchewan Catholic schools. Scientists staged lab activities and demonstrations for the students at the Sherritt Gordon plant site in Fort Saskatchewan.

The ultimate goal of the conference was to enhance students' awareness of the relationship between science, technology, industry and social values.

To achieve this, students worked in small groups of eight to 10 people. One student commented, "The groups are nice and small. There's lots of interaction and everyone gets a turn!" Another student said, "This conference is really neat, I knew it was going to be good, I just didn't think it would be this good."

Feedback indicated that the conference was well-received by all attendees - educators, presenters and students. According to presenter Eric Hillier, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., "The kids asked some pretty tough questions and when we turned the tables, they knew the answers."

Forty presenters and speakers included volunteer personnel from FSRIA member companies, University of Alberta, NAIT, Alberta Research Council, Edmonton Telephones, Edmonton City Police, University of Alberta Hospital, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Alberta Environment and Alberta Energy. The Honourable Fred Stewart, Minister of Technology, Research and Telecommunications, opened the conference as the keynote speaker.

Dow Canada Celebrates 50 Years

Nineteen ninety-two is a special year for Dow Canada. It marks the 50th Anniversary of Dow's Canadian operations. Special celebrations were held at Dow locations across Canada on June 5 to recognize the event.

The history of Dow Canada begins during World War II. The war created a tremendous need for rubber since natural rubber supplies virtually vanished. The Canadian department of munitions and supply needed a supply of styrene, a necessary raw material in the production of synthetic rubber. Thus the Canadian government invited the Dow Chemical Company to come to Sarnia to set up a styrene plant and begin operations as soon as possible. Dow Chemical of Canada, Ltd. was incorporated on June 5, 1942, and the Sarnia plant began manufacturing the product on September 29, 1943. Willard Dow served as the first president of Dow Canada and was instrumental in turning Dow's wartime project into a permanent presence in Canada.

After the war, the Sarnia plant site continued to grow with a polystyrene plant (1945), a Styron|TM~ plant (1947), ethylene and latex plant (1953). By 1955, Dow Canada had grown from 96 employees in 1945 to 700 employees in Sarnia and 100 spread across Canada at various locations.

In 1957, Dow decided to expand to western Canada. The first plants at Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., began production in 1961. In 1969, Dow Canada moved into Quebec, opening up a plant in Varennes, southeast of Montreal.

During the 1970's, the whole focus of Dow Canada changed significantly. Prior to this time, production was primarily geared to the domestic market although there had been significant export sales earlier. But in 1973, Dow started up a world scale chlor-alkali plant in Sarnia designed to serve the global market. The Alberta expansion project saw the construction of several new world-scale plants in Fort Saskatchewan. This project, which totalled $1.1 billion, was the single biggest project ever attempted and completed by Dow anywhere in the world.

Research and development has been an important part of Dow Chemical Canada since the beginning. In 1942 the first analytical laboratory in Dow Canada was set up in the styrene plant in Sarnia. Since then R&D has grown steadily and now includes over 250 researchers working in several locations across Canada.

As Dow completes a half century in Canada, many new challenges lie ahead. Some older facilities are being shut down and some new plants are under construction with several unique features. At the new hydrocarbons project in Fort Saskatchewan, a wild-life greenbelt to preserve and create wetlands for animal life was officially opened in 1991. A new focus on community relations has led to more public tours and partnerships with schools in local communities. The company's commitment to Responsible Care|R~ involves all employees in what is effectively a life cycle approach to the manufacture of chemicals.

On June 5, Dow employees across Canada celebrated this Golden Anniversary with birthday cake and sharing of memories from Dow Canada's history.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Chemical Institute of Canada
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:chemical industry; educating science to high school students
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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