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Further developments ...


I want to thank Jennifer Clarke, MCIC, for kindly including my development with Alan Marshall of FT-ICR Spectroscopy as one of the highlights of Canadian chemistry in the last 100 years ("Canadian Chemical Discoveries 1908-2008," May 2008 ACCN).

I am also writing to you to note three other Canadian chemical developments that could, and in my opinion certainly should, have been included in any list of important Canadian chemical achievements. Each of these is far more significant than several of the items listed in your article.

The first achievement is Neil Bartlett's 1962 discovery of the first noble gas compound. This work at The University of British Columbia opened up a whole new field of noble gas chemistry and even caused the rewriting of freshman chemistry texts.

The second noteworthy Canadian chemical achievement is Paul Kebarle, FCIC's observation and exploitation of thermodynamic equilibria between gas phase ions and neutrals. This was first done in 1963 at the University of Alberta. Kebarle's work from 1963 to this day created the field of gas phase acidity/basicity and allowed a step-by-step thermodynamic analysis of the process of ion solvation. Kebarle's work, which is discussed in any treatise on solution chemistry or physical organic chemistry, is Nobel calibre.

The third noteworthy achievement is Norm Dovichi's gene analysis technology from the 1990s that was critical to the success of the human genome project. Without Dovichi's work at the University of Alberta, sequencing the human genome would have taken many decades rather than a few years. Dovichi's methodology (independently developed by Hideki Kambara at Hitachi in Japan) is in wide use today for gene sequencing.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS/LETTRES
Author:Comisarow, Mel
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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