CSC celebrates 100 years of chemistry in Toronto

Summer 2017
GUEST COLUMN

Canada’s premiere chemistry event, the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, celebrated 100 years this past May in Toronto, attracting 3,500 attendees from more than 50 countries and chemical society representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and China. Nobel laureate John Polanyi, HFCIC, of the University of Toronto, which hosted the event, opened the conference, followed by a plenary lecture on nano-bioelectronics from renowned chemist Charles Lieber of Harvard University. Other speakers included U of T’s Eugenia Kumacheva, who was awarded the prestigious CIC Medal, as well as Neil Burford of the University of Victoria, who received the Montreal Medal.

CIC chair Andrew Hrymak, FCIC, presented the 2017 CIC Medal and plaque to Eugenia Kumacheva.

CIC chair Andrew Hrymak, FCIC, presented the 2017 CIC Medal and plaque to Eugenia Kumacheva. Photo credit: collective67

A special closing event, This Molecular World, explored the creative approaches being developed in chemistry to tackle such things as healthcare for refugees, crises in aquaculture, reversing blindness and the social implications of fake news and pseudoscience. Speakers included Sir Martyn Poliakoff of Nottingham University, Joe Schwarcz of McGill University and U of T’s Molly Shoichet, Gilbert Walker and Aaron Wheeler.

University of Nottingham chemistry professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff gave the This Molecular World presentation.

University of Nottingham chemistry professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff gave the This Molecular World presentation. Photo credit: collective67

Through personal ingenuity, and as part of global collaborations, chemists have made their mark on society by contributing to the myriad of technology platforms that underpin our quality of life. The calibre of speakers and the relevance of the topics addressed during the centennial conference gave me great confidence that discovery and innovation by the Canadian chemistry community will continue to provide answers to some of the world’s greatest challenges in the next 100 years.  

Kim Baines, FCIC, is president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and a chemistry professor at the University of Western Ontario.