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  1. "What is the Evidence that Atoms Exist?"

    This topic focuses on the sub-discipline of physical chemistry, with a strong historical component. Students might trace the experimental evidence that lead chemists to construct our current understanding of the nature of matter. The essay should lead up to and connect information on current work on subatomic particles, and relate the topics in an overview of the progression of science.

    Pointers for pursuing this topic
    Although students will find much useful information by searching the internet, they will do well to consult some academic references such as text books for the historical information, and reputable science journals for current information to ensure that their information has scientific merit as understood by reputable scientists in the field.

    1. Students might construct a timeline for the various historical experiments (and researchers whose work) lead to our current understanding of the nature of matter
    2. Describe the currently accepted conception of the nature of matter
    3. Describe experiments being carried out today to push the frontiers of our understanding of the nature of matter
    4. Describe the benefits of this evolving understanding to the community; the country; the world.
  2. "Describe the Contribution of a Canadian Chemist and Explain the Significance of the Contribution"

    This topic is directly relevant to the grade 11/12 science curriculum, and includes historical information as well as leading edge scientific work. It might contain brief biographical information on the individual(s) studied, to the extent that such information sheds light on the scientific motivation of the individual(s). However, the main focus of the essay should be on the scientific contribution the individual has made, and how it has advanced the field in which the individual works.

    Pointers for pursuing this topic
    Students might conduct research on the Internet or in the library to identify award winning Canadian chemists (looking for recipients of the Nobel Prize, IUPAC prize for young chemists etc.), then collect information about their candidate.s work in the following areas:

    1. Background of the researcher(s) involved in the breakthrough, which sheds light on his/her/their scientific motivation.
    2. Model(s) used in or developed for the research.
    3. How the research has lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon studied.
    4. How the scientific contribution made by this individual has changed (is changing) the direction of scientific development, or how it changed (is changing) scientific understanding in the sub-discipline.
    5. The benefits of this discovery to the community; the country; the world.
  3. "From the City to the Forest; Chemistry of the Atmosphere"

    *please note: this topic has been refined from the topic originally advertised.
    This topic is closely connected to the work of Professor Jennifer Murphy on the composition of the atmosphere and its influence on ecosystems.

    Pointers for pursuing this topic
    Students might search the internet and libraries to gain an understanding of atmospheric composition, and the sources of pollutants to the atmosphere. They will do well to consult some academic references such as text books for a general understanding, and reputable science journals for current information to ensure that their information has scientific merit as currently understood by reputable scientists in the field.

    Provinicial and federal agencies also host websites that provide information about pollutant monitoring networks. The essay might

    1. Describe sources of atmospheric pollution
    2. Describe the impacts of smog on humans and ecosystems
    3. Describe the monitoring system used by the government to measure atmospheric pollutants
    4. Describe experiments being carried out to understand the affect of atmospheric pollutants on forests
    5. Describe the benefits of this evolving understanding to the community; the country; the world
  4. "How Does One Molecule Recognize Another?"

    This topic is concerned with chemical reactivity in general; focusing on more complex, stereospecific processes. It might then connect our understanding of the dimensionality of metabolic processes to applications in modern pharmaceutical preparations.

    Pointers for pursuing this topic
    Students might search the internet and libraries to gain an understanding of basic principles of reactivity and stereochemistry. They will do well to consult some academic references such as text books for a general understanding of basic concepts, and reputable science journals for current information on pharmaceutical applications to ensure that their information has scientific merit as currently understood by reputable scientists in the field. The essay might

    1. Describe chemical reactivity in terms of electron flow and distribution (polarity of molecules, electron rich vs electron poor, etc.)
    2. Describe stereochemistry and discuss why it is important in biological and metabolic processes
    3. Describe experiments being carried out to understand the stereochemistry of how a specific drug works
    4. Describe how this understanding is related to some basic principles of drug design
    5. Describe the benefits of this evolving understanding to the community; the country; the world.

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