Analytical Chemistry in Canada

Analytical Chemistry in, analytical chemistry is alive and well in...

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Editors' Column

(U.S. Patent 3,289,879)

Analytical Chemistry in Canada According to information given in the April 1974 issue of Chemistry in Canada, analytical chemistry is alive and well in the United States' north­ ern neighbor. Some examples of what is happening around Canada are given below. The chemistry department at Dalhousie University in Halifax has, since 1971, maintained a Trace Analysis Re­ search Centre (TARC). According to D. E. Ryan, "The basic objectives of the centre are to train specialist ana­ lytical chemists and to contribute, through research, to the advancement of analytical chemistry. The long range goal is a centre of research and training excellence in analytical chem­ istry." Instrumental techniques are stressed with research centered around the creation of new instrumen­ tation, modification of existing instru­ mentation, and novel applications of existing instrumentation to problems in trace analysis. All 16 alumni (grad­ uate or postdoctoral study) of TARC who have left in the past two years are now working as analytical chemists. In research the group has devised new analytical methods for metals (e.g., Hg), anions (e.g., phosphate), and pes­ ticides (e.g., carbamates) and has de­ veloped new instrumentation (e.g., Zeeman-modulated hollow cathode lamp and spectrometer). At McMaster University in Hamil­ ton, analytical chemistry was given a firm foundation in the mid-1940's and has grown steadily at both the under­ graduate and graduate levels. Accord­ ing to A. Corsini, undergraduate "courses are designed to ensure that students in chemistry encounter the fundamentals of analytical chemistry in both theory and practice. As the student gains background knowledge, increasing emphasis is given (via as­ signments and laboratory projects) to the solution of 'real' problems. Stu­ dents who complete a four-year chem­ istry program will have experienced problem-solving techniques" using all important analytical methods. The graduate (MSc and PhD) program at­ tracts students from all over the

world. The number of graduate stu­ dents in analytical chemistry ranges between 10-15 per year. Successful completion of a laboratory course with emphasis on the solution of "real" an­ alytical problems is a requirement for the PhD degree. Areas of research in­ clude design, synthesis, and applica­ tion of selective chelating agents; radiochemistry; trace analysis in ecologi­ cal and biochemical systems; electroanalytical studies; thermogravimetric studies; determination of polluting trace elements in Great Lake sedi­ ments; and the comparison of trace analytical methods for selected ele­ ments. The chemistry department at Queen's University in Kingston also has an active program in analytical chemistry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to the usual MSc and PhD programs, a 'nonthesis' analytical MSc program has been set up "in recognition that the analytical specialist must have reason­ able familiarity with a wide range of analytical methods if he is to cope with general chemical problems. The aim is not just to consider the analysis of a product by a variety of techniques and say how good or how bad it may be, but be able to look at the whole process, identify the key chemical steps and take positive action to con­ trol the product." The program is problem centered and recognizes that analytical problems may be concerned with much more than just elemental composition. Reports from industry show that re­ search in analytical chemistry is much in vogue. From the Steel Co. of Cana­ da Ltd., Hamilton, we find that "an all-too-common belief that industrial quality control laboratories do nothing but routine mind-numbing analyses" is dispelled. "Rather, because of the economic and other pressures, the need for improvements in analytical procedures is very strong and provides fertile ground for innovative ideas and progress." A. A. Husousky

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