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Self-correcting Science

UBC chemist Prof. Chris Orvig P.Chem. recently illustrated how “normal science”  works – by publishing a correction to earlier work from his group.  In 2002, Orvig and co-workers reported a new compound that appeared to contain four N and two P atoms in a cyclic structure.  Returning to the same compound a decade later, they were able to form crystals of the compound, only to discover that was only half what they had previously reported – two N and one P in a cyclic structure half the size.

The previous paper was retracted and the new results were published in the specialist journal Inorganic Chemistry.  In related news reports, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, William H. Tolman applauded Prof. Orvig for coming forward to correct the earlier mistake.  “This is precisely why the retraction mechanism exists – to correct the published record.  … This case is one of many data points in the larger story of how science corrects itself.””

Taking the lab to the sample

Vancouver Island Univers1ty professors and Professional Chemists Chris Gill and Erik Krogh have unveiled their new mobile mass spectrometry lab.  The Mercedes transit van houses two mass spectrometers plus several other atmospheric monitoring instruments, and can provide real time-real space data on chemical concentrations in the environment.  This can be used to track the spread of a spill or the release of gases into the environment using on-board GPS to map the substances and their concentrations as the lab drives around.

More details from VIU and local media.

Annual General Meeting and pre-AGM conference on Professional Chemistry and Professional Reliance October 20

Plan to attend the Annual General Meeting and Pre-AGM conference October 20th.

Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre

515 West Hasting Street, Vancouver BC

Room 7000 (Earl and Jennie Lohn Policy Room)

 

Pre-AGM Discussion on Professional Recognition and Professional Reliance

14:00 – 15:00      Professional Chemistry in 2017

Chemistry is continually evolving and there are many new programs and career paths in parallel to traditional chemistry programs.  The goal of this session is to examine how we recognize a “chemist” as meeting and maintaining the requirements for registration.  How does our thinking on professional registration of chemists need to evolve to keep pace with the demands for modern interdisciplinary approaches to professional advice to governments on behalf of the public?

15:00 – 15:30     Meet and greet break

15:30 – 16:30     Professional Reliance in BC in 2017

The new provincial government has called on the Minister of Environment to conduct a review of professional reliance and its role in government decision-making.  The goal of the session is to examine how we should respond to government, and to society in general, on the value of professionals in the protection of the public interest.  What regulatory mechanisms need to be in place so that the expertise of our members has credibility? How should our organization evolve to address the concerns of fellow citizens about our internal processes?

17:00 – 19:00      Annual General Meeting

The AGM is open to all ACPBC members and will include: the business of electing the Directors and Officers; the audited financial statements for 2016 – 2017; ratification of the Audit committee for 2017 – 2018; announcement of membership for the Nominating, Membership and Registration, Professional Affairs, and Discipline committees; and the report of the Board of Directors.

If you are unable to attend the AGM or the pre-AGM discussion in person you will be able to participate via a web conference.  Contact the Registrar (registrar(at)pchembc.ca).

2017 ACPBC Undergraduate Student Scholarship

The ACPBC Undergraduate Student Scholarship, in the amount of $1000, is awarded annually to an ACPBC student member enrolled in third or fourth year of an undergraduate Chemistry program at a British Columbia university.  The award is equally based on academic performance in all completed Chemistry courses and service to the Chemistry profession.
The application deadline is October 27, 2017.  The award will be announced  by the end of November.

Student membership is free.  Further details on the scholarship application are attached: ACPBC Student Member Scholarship 2017

Science Advisory Board for Contaminated Sites Workshop and Conference

Registration is now open for the Seventh Annual SABCS Conference and Workshop on Contaminated Sites
The conference will be held September 28, 2017 in the Segal Building, Room 1200 – 1500, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC.

As in previous years, a Technical Workshop will be held on the previous day September 27, 2017. This year’s topic is Innovative Methods in Site Characterization. The program includes 9 speakers from across Canada and the US including two presentations from the BC Ministry of Environment.

Registration and full conference and workshop programs are available in the SABCS website. Registration can be accessed directly at the following URL.

Check out new lower rates for the workshop and lower fee for new professionals in the contaminated sites area. Includes hot breakfast, buffet lunch, delegates list and of course, provides presentations on a USB drive for the days you attend.

Elemental Haiku

Check out this Periodic Table!  A haiku for every one of the 118 know elements (plus one for the next one to be made).

Enjoy!

Deadlines: Canadian Mineral Analysts Conference September 10 – 14

The 2017 CMA Conference will be held in Kamloops, BC, between September 10 and 14 at the Coast Hotel & Conference Centre. Workshops include the topics of traceability and method validation.  Conference tours include local laboratories and the New Afton underground gold mine.

If you are planning to submit a technical paper  – act now.  The deadline is August 6.  Download a submission form.

The registration deadline is August 25.  Registration forms for the conference are available

Information about the CMA is on-line.

Notice of Annual General Meeting October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017
Room Open at 16:30
Call to Order 17:00
Meeting Scheduled: 17:00-19:00

Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre
515 West Hasting Street, Vancouver BC
Room 7000 (Earl and Jennie Lohn Policy Room)

The AGM is open to all ACPBC members and will include:
 the business of electing the Directors and Officers;
 the audited financial statements for 2016 – 2017;
 ratification of the Audit committee for 2017 – 2018;
 announcement of membership for the Nominating, Membership and Registration, Professional Affairs, and Discipline committees;
 report of the Board.

In addition to contributing to building a strong and relevant professional association for Chemists in BC, this is a great opportunity to meet fellow members, make new contacts in the profession and catch up with old friends.

Dennis Wester
Secretary ACPBC
Dated: July 27, 2017

Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

Like the Ancient Mariner, billions of people worldwide have poor access to clean drinking water. Desalination – filtering the salt from seawater using membranes with very small pores – offers one potential solution, and desalination technology is widely used in some Middle East countries. Current desalination membranes work but improvements are always needed. A recent report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology describes how very thin layers of carbon known as graphene oxide create a tunable sieve to remove salts from water.

Closer to home, and closer to practical use, is a system created by UBC engineers that uses bacteria to improve the performance of a conventional membrane filter. The system removes contaminants and pathogens by using a bacterial coating (a bio film) on the membrane surface to produce drinking water. Salt stills gets past this membrane, but this system can reuse contaminated fresh water for drinking and cooking.

How much pee is in the pool?

With the good weather finally here, we’ve been thinking of heading to the swimming pool.  And then we recalled the report earlier this year from the University of Alberta that detected a soft-drink sweetener in public pool water.  No – it was not just a spilled beverage.  Acesulfame K (ACE) passes unchanged into urine so finding ACE in public pools and hot tubs is a marker for how much peeing is going on.  A lot it turns out – they found ACE in all the pools and hot tubs they tested.  Not so sweet.
Or if you are thinking about heading to the river instead, there is ACE there too.  Not only does ACE pass though people, it passes through waste-water treatment plants.