Archive for the ‘Chris's Blog’ Category

Come Experience Science

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Science Rendezvous is taking place on Saturday, May 7th from 12-4pm at the Mayflower Mall. CBU’s Science and Technology department, along with some others, will collaborate in an effort to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation for science. There will be a wide variety of displays for people of every age so grab your friends and family and come out to have some fun!

Science Rendezvous is an annual event that takes place in Canada. The goal is to promote science awareness to the general public and to teach everyone that science affect us all the time in our daily lives. On May 7th there will be events taking place right across Canada from Vancouver, BC, to St. John’s, NL. Every year more and more volunteers come together for this great cause.

There are going to be many different activities to see and try out and prizes to take home! Displays will be set up across the whole mall including ones from chemistry, biology, geology, physics, math, psychology and more! I’ll just tell you about a few of the events that will be there.

- A chemistry magic show where you’ll get to see things like elephant toothpaste.

- See how the CSI teams use chemistry in catching the criminals.

- You can impress all of your friends by walking across a pool of water.

- Build your own telescope to spy on people at the other side of the mall.

- Bring in your own fossils and have them identified.

- See the rock and fossil road show.

- Get tricked into thinking a rubber hand is your hand.

- Create your own Mobius strips.

- See some insects (and maybe even eat some).

- Join in the ‘Great Science Race’ and win prizes.

And that is just a taste of what will be happening at the ‘Mall of Science’ on May 7th. Everyone come down and have some fun! And you never know you just might learn something!

Science Rendezvous 2011! Come experience science!

Cars + Hemp = Cleaner Environment?!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Environmental issues have become a huge topic of discussion lately around the entire world. Researchers everywhere are trying to find new methods for generating power, disposing of waste, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Wind and solar power are two current technologies that are used to reduce the overall need for burning fossil fuels. A lot of products being made now are from recycled materials and a lot of others are totally biodegradable so we can reduce space in our landfills.

There is still one really big problem that overall hasn’t been improved a whole lot in terms of the environment. That problem is cars. First of all they severely pollute the environment with their emissions from the burning of fossil fuels (gas). Second that oil has to be obtained through drilling, and as we saw with the BP oil spill, this can have detrimental effects on the environment.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been a lot of steps forward in their improvement, like hybrid cars for example. While they do cut down on pollution they come nowhere near removing it. In my searches through the Internet I did come across something. That something is a car made totally with hemp.

You read that correctly. A car made out of hemp.

The Kestrel. A car made of hemp.


Are You Smarter Than A Scientist?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Hey guys and gals! The year seems to be going by so fast. It’s already over halfway through the semester. But even though it’s March, the International Year of Chemistry is just getting started! And us here at CBU Chemistry have a lot planned for the upcoming months.

First off, to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry the CBU Chemistry Society will be holding a Science Trivia night, tonight in The Pit! It’s from 8-10PM and there is a $2 entry fee. Teams of four will compete in answering science trivia questions for a chance to win a fabulous prize. This is a dry event so everyone is welcome to join in the fun. Go get three of your friends (or three total strangers) and get ready to outwit, outplay, and outlast the competition!

This is what some of your competition may look like


Starting the Year with a ‘BANG’

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Fireworks at Disney. They are much better in person!

One of my favourite times of year has again come and passed in the blink of an eye. You probably think I’m referring to Christmas but I’m actually talking about New Years! And the reason I love New Years so much is the fireworks. The boom of the explosion and seeing all of those different lights and patterns in the sky. The oooh’s and aaah’s of the crowd. What’s not to love about them!

You can see fireworks of all different shapes, sizes, and colours. From the classic star shaped ones to the simple roman candles and firecrackers. And best of all they can be enjoyed by anyone.

For such a simple thing we take for granted, the construction of fireworks actually consists of a lot of different things. I’m going to show you the different components that make up fireworks and just how they explode to get those effects we all love to see.


Turkey + Science = Delicious

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Trust me. It tastes better than it looks.

It’s that time of year again. Shoveling snow out of driveways. Listening to people complain about how crowded the malls are while they do last minute Christmas shopping. And don’t forget all of the bad Christmas music that is constantly playing.

But you can’t forget about all the good things too. Getting a few weeks off of school. Getting to see family and loved ones. Visits from a certain jolly man dressed in red. And of course, the most important thing: eating gratuitous amounts of turkey!

I’m going to show you how to scientifically cook a turkey. Cooking really is just a science. Taking it stepwise and analyzing each part can really make your food turn out fantastic. You need to know what makes it up and how it actually cooks, then you can make a great turkey!

The first thing to do when trying to make the perfect turkey is, of course, going out and buying a turkey! Then you have to decide how you actually want to cook it. There are many different ways to cook turkeys (deep frying for instance) and different people like it in different ways, but I’m going to tell you how to make that classic Christmas turkey in the oven, roasted to a golden brown colour and filling the house with that pleasant aroma.

Getting hungry yet? (more…)

Life Isn’t As We Know It

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus. These are what are considered to be the 6 elements required to make up all life. Without one of these life simply cannot exist.

When looking at other planets, scientists would determine if life could be there by looking for traces of these 6 elements. If one wasn’t found then it was concluded that life could just not exist there.

Or so we thought…

A recently made discovery is going to change the way we view life forever.

Unidentified flying object

Aliens on Earth?!? Ok... maybe not yet


Saving Lives is Only Skin Deep

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Now the vampires can come out of hiding

Scientists working in the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University have made an amazing discovery last week in their research. The team has learned how to convert human skin cells into human blood. The blood created is the same type as the person who donates their skin cells. This means that patients requiring blood for surgery, cancer treatment or people with blood disorders such as anemia would no longer have to be put onto a waiting list to receive a transfusion.

Stem cells have become a very popular topic in the media of the last decade. I’ll assume most of you reading this have heard of them and the controversy that surrounds the topic. I’ll just give a brief intro to the science behind what they are and why they are so important. (more…)

The Art of Chemisty

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Not actually used in the research

There are some chemistry techniques that I never thought would really be applicable to other things except for chemistry.

Last Friday, as part of the APICS Chemistry Speaker series, the Chemistry Department welcomed Dr. Christa Brosseau from St. Mary’s University. She had a fantastic presentation called ‘New Frontiers in Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy’ (SERS).

I’ll give just a brief intro to what Raman spectroscopy is. It is essentially a way to scan an object using a high-powered laser. This produces a graph, which (after being interpreted) can tell us which molecules make up the object being scanned. The ‘Surfaced Enhanced’ part of the title means that the surface of the molecule was, well… enhanced, in order to get a better reading. In Dr. Brosseau’s case silver was used to enhance it.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way I’ll tell you about the really awesome stuff that she and her team have used it for. (more…)

Chemistry You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Mmm that Uranium sure does look tasty...

Many different people have asked me before what exactly I do while working in a chem lab at CBU. To state the bare minimum I could say it consists of searching up research papers in a journal or on the Internet, getting the stuff I need and then carrying out the reaction (or steps from the reaction) that I need to do. Then I sit and wait for the magic to happen. Sometimes it’s a few minutes other times it’s a day. This is when people will state how it must be so boring and that they never want to do chemistry.

This is the point where I say to them, “Haven’t you ever cooked or baked anything?” If the answer is yes then you have done chemistry too! Baking is, in every way, just chemistry, the only big difference is you get to eat your final product. We could even call bakers chemists is disguise. (more…)

A Nobel Trio

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry

The 2010 Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry: Richard Hech, Ei-ichi Negeshi and Akira Suzuki

Richard Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi, and Akira Suzuki. Three names which (unless you’re a chemist) probably do not mean a whole lot to you. Their contributions to chemistry, however, have been affecting the entire world for a long time and they finally got the recognition they have always deserved. On October 6th 2010, these three chemists were awarded the much deserved Nobel prize in chemistry. (more…)