UWO Chemistry - News

for the

2002 / 2003 Academic Year


Current News | 2002-2003 | 2001-2002 | 2000-2001

June 20: We are pleased to announce that Nick Mosey, graduate student in the group of Tom Woo, has won an award for the best poster presentation at the SHARCnet Annual General Meeting, in Guelph on June 18. Nick's poster titled "Atomic Level Simulations of the Finite Temperature Behavior of Engine Oil Anti-Wear Additives" was competing against 25 other presentations from all areas of scientific computing, ranging from computer networking topology to computational astrophysics. Congratulations!

June 19: Congratulations to Professors Oleg Semenikhin and Zhifeng Ding for receiving very sizable CFI New Opportunities grants. For the full story in Western News click here. Congratulation also to Professor Mike Kerr for receiving a substantial grant from the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.

June 17: Congratulations to Amy Lloyd, whose oral presentation on "The Properties of Passive Oxides on Ni-Cr-Mo Alloys" was voted the best student presentation at the 2003 Canadian Nuclear Society Conference in Toronto. Amy was competing against 20 other presentations, that covered topics ranging from Physics and Mechanical Engineering to Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Amy is a graduate student in the group of Professor David Shoesmith.

June 13: After 29 years here at UWO, Professor Robert M. Cory will take early retirement, starting July 1, 2003. All the best, Rory, for the future!

Professor Robert "Rory" Cory.

June 13: We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Jamie Noel, research associate with Dave Shoesmith, has been awarded the 2003 Lash Miller award from the Canadian Section of the Electrochemical Society. The award is given to a young electrochemist with proven achievements and outstanding promise.

Dr. Jamie Noel, winner of the 2003 Lash Miller Award.

June 2 - 4. Professor Richard V. Wolfenden (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) was this year's Pattison Lecturer. Dr. Wolfenden presented three fascinating lectures on the role of transition states in enzymatic reactions. The Pattison Lectureship was endowed by the family of Fred L. M. Pattison, Head of the Department from 1959 to 1965. For more information on this year's lectureship click here.

Richard V. Wolfenden, Pattison Lecturer for 2002/2003.

May 29: We are pleased to announce that Ms. Dana Adkinson has been awarded a Faculty of Science Graduate Student Teaching Award for her outstanding performance as a TA in the Department of Chemistry.

May 24: The Department of Chemistry participated in the Faculty of Science "Interactions" event on Saturday. This is a two-day (overnight) program for elite secondary school students to introduce them to the topics and programs in Science, Engineering and Medicine at Western. Many thanks to John Corrigan and Marty DeGroot for running our extremely popular "Chemistry with a Bang" show. As in previous years, this show was one of the highlights for the visiting students.

May 23: The annual Science Olympics were held at Althouse College yesterday. Once again, the Chemistry Department put on the "Mystery Solutions" event. Seven high school teams responded to the challenge. The winning team was from Westminster.

This event could not have been staged without the help of various members of our Department. We would like to thank Robin Hall and Ron Maslen for making up the "mystery solutions".

We also thank Kim Baines, Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, Kaarina Milnes, Laura Pavelka, Krysten Hurni and Steve Gottschling for their help in making the event a success.

May 22: Congratulations to Keith Griffiths, who has been selected by the Faculty of Science for one of this years' Awards of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

May 21: Dr. Jason L. Pitters was awarded the Paul DeMayo Medal for 2002. Each year, this Medal is given to a recent Ph.D. from our Department who has been nominated by his supervisor(s) and chosen by a committee of faculty members to receive the award in recognition of achievement in research and potential in future research.

Jason did his Ph.D. under the direction of Professors Mark Workentin and Peter Norton. He spent 1.5 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Steacie Institute for Molecular Science at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. He has recently been appointed as one of the first Research Council Officers with the National Research Council's National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) in Edmonton, AB.

Jason gave a lecture entitled "STM and Organic Reactions on Silicon Surfaces" based on his work at the NRC. The picture shows Jason being presented the medal by Professor Robert Lipson, Chair of the Department. Past winners can be found on our awards page.

Jason Pitters (left), winner of this year's Paul DeMayo Award,
with Chair Rob Lipson.

May 6: We are very pleased to announce that our graduate students Matt Frizzle, Grace Kim, and Jake Magolan were given Teaching Assistant Awards at UWO President Paul Davenport's house yesterday. Congratulations as well to Jayna Chan, Kathy DeJong, Dana Atkinson, Nora Keating, Andrew Wallbank, and Ian Young for being nominated!


May 4: We would like to thank Marty DeGroot, Tom Woo and John Corrigan for for organizing our "Chemistry with a Bang" show, as part of the Preview Western program. 75 invited high school science students took in the shows on Saturday and Sunday.

April 22: It our pleasure to announce a new scholarship agreement involving Varian Canada Inc. and the Faculty of Science. The undergraduate scholarship will be known as the Varian Scholarship and it will have a value of $10,000 ($2,000 per year over the next 5 years). The scholarship will consist of 4 awards of $500.00 to each of 4 students from the Chemistry Department each year. Varian will also sponsor an annual speaker in the Department of Chemistry by donating $2,500 per year.

April 17: We are delighted to announce that Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag has been selected as the Faculty of Science Outreach Award winner for 2003. Sandy has been doing a great job in outreach for the Chemistry Department for many years. This recognition is well deserved. Congratulations, Sandy, on winning this award!

Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, winner of this year's
Faculty of Science Outreach Award.

April 16: It gives us great pleasure to announce this year's winners of OGSST scholarships:

Jayna Chan
Kathy De Jong
Michelle Grandin
Maureen Merrifield
Maria Salgado

Congratulations to all of you!

April 10: The University Student Council announced today that Professors Tom Woo, Roland Haines, and Lars Konermann were nominated by their classes for the Bank of Nova Scotia, The UWO Alumni Association and the University Student's Council Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Congratulations!


April 9: It gives us great pleasure to announce this year's winners of NSERC and OGS scholarships and fellowships:

Tara Burchell
Ann-Marie Chacko
Peter Zawada

Michelle Grandin
Russell Virre
Peng Zhang

Dana Adkinson
Tara Burchell
Daniel Chau
Jonathan Goldik
Stephen Gottschling
Xihua He
Arnold Kell
Amy Lloyd
Kaarina Milnes
Kelly Rigby
Douglas Simmons
Nicholas Trefiak
Peter Zawada

April 5: Congratulations to all our 4th year Chemistry B.Sc. Honors students, who presented their research results at this year's Chem490 day: Danny Chau, Darryl Dixon, Chandra Nesbitt, Andy Chu, Neema Kasravi, Andrew Grosvenor, Scott Jacklin, Justin Pratt, Tracy Wong, Jared Smith, Leanne Reid, Eli Stoffman, Huong Ngo, Filip Wojciechowski, Brian Healy, Nick Trefiak, Charles McKenry, Heather MacLeod, Michael Broczkowski, Alex Blades, James Brokenshire. Despite (or because of) the gruesome weather conditions with arctic temperatures, freezing rain, and broken trees all over the UWO campus, everyone had a great time. The quality of the talks was even better than in previous years. Special thanks go to Stewart McInctyre and Darlene Hagen for organizing this event.

The Chemistry B.Sc. Honors class of 2003.
(Click here for more pictures of this year's Chem490 day)

April 2: We are delighted to announce that Professor Peter Guthrie has been appointed as a Distinguished Research Professor in Science for 2003-04. Congratulations, Peter, on yet another most deserved distinction.

March 22: The 31th Southwestern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference (SOUSCC) was held at McMaster University. Attendees from UWO included five faculty (NOP, TKS, RRM, JW and KY) and sixteen students who presented their 490 research. Prizes (1st, 2nd, 3rd and runner-up) were given out in each divisions including: organic, inorganic, physical, materials, biochem and analytical. Awardees from Western include:

Most importantly, all presenters put in an tremendous effort in preparing for their presentations and the quality of all presentations was truly superb. On behalf of the department, we would like to congratulate all students on their accomplishments.

UWO attendees of the 31st SOUSCC at McMaster University.
For more pictures click here.

March 20: Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag and Ron Martin were representing the Faculty of Science at this year's "UWO Community Connection" event in Galleria London. As usual, Chemistry put on the best show and attracted the largest crowds. Many thanks, Sandy and Ron, for a job well done !!!

March 18: The Department of Chemistry held a reception at Windermere Manor in honor of Patrick W. M. Jacobs.

Patrick W. M. Jacobs

Patrick is one of our most distinguished senior colleagues. He came to Western as full professor from Imperial College in London/England in 1965. After fifteen years of post-retirement research and teaching, he now moves on to Toronto.

Patrick has made deep experimental and theoretical contributions in numerous areas of solid state chemistry including the thermal and photochemical decomposition of solids, the optical properties of ionic crystals containing defects or impurity ions, and the transport properties of ionic crystals. He has done calculations of defect energies and entropies and matter transport in ionic crystals. He was an early pioneer on the use of molecular dynamics, in the computer simulation of defect clustering, impurity and anion diffusion, defect Gibbs energies, many body forces, dipole moments, and the list goes on. In 1991 his work was recognized by the Royal Society of Chemistry in a tribute volume of the Philosophical Magazine. Patrick also was one of the founders of the Centre for Chemical Physics at Western.

We thank Patrick for his many years of service to our Department, and we wish him well in his move to Toronto.


March 17: Congratulations to Mark Workentin on his appointment as member of the NSERC Accelerator Grant for Exceptional Opportunities Selection Committee.

March 15: Many thanks to Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, John Corrigan, and Duncan Hunter for all their help with this year's March Break Open House. Once again, the Chemistry display attracted the biggest crowds. Hundreds of periodic tables and info flyers were handed out to prospective students.

March 5: We are delighted to announce that Marty DeGroot has been awarded a Robert and Ruth Lumsden Fellowship, and that Jayna Chan has been awarded a Robert and Ruth Lumsden Graduate Award in Science. Congratulations to both of you!

February 14: The hearts of Chemistry unite!! The Chemistry Department celebrated a BON VOYAGE, 4 BIRTHDAYS AND VALENTINES DAY all in one event! A wonderful time had by all !!!

Ron Maslen, Anna Vandendries, Duncan Hunter, Lesley Tchorek, and Sandy McCaw.

February 11: We are most pleased to announce that Ron Martin has won the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2002-03. Congratulations Ron on this well deserved distinction! For the full story in Western News click here.

February 10: Congratualtions to Ken Yeung on his $ 300,000 CFI New Opportunities Grant for purchasing a state-of-the-art MALDI mass spectrometer. For the full story in Western News click here.

February 8: We are delighted to announce that Peter Norton (and French professor Marilyn Randall) are this year's recipients of the Hellmuth Prize for Research Excellence. Congratulations, Peter, on this most deserved recognition!

The Hellmuth Prizes are named in honour of Bishop Isaac Hellmuth, regarded as the founder of Western. The prizes will be presented at a ceremony on March 20.

For the full story in Western News click here.

Peter Norton and Marilyn Randall (left), winners of this year's Hellmuth Prize.

February 7: It gives us great pleasure to be able to announce the winners of our Undergraduate "Fall" Awards based on performance in last year's undergraduate courses. In order to receive one of these awards, an undergraduate student must remain enrolled in a Chemistry program in Fall 2002, as well as satisfying the criteria of one or more of the awards and scholarships. The winners are:

Selay Lam: the Albert E. Wells Scholarship

Edward Lam: the Chemistry Class of 1950 Scholarship

Neema Kasravi: the Chemistry Alumni Award

Daniela Matijevic: the Chemistry Alumni Scholarship

Jesse Popov: the James D. McNabb Scholarship in Chemistry

Heather Macleod: the UWO Scholarship for Honors Biochemistry and Chemistry (for 3rd year), and one of the two Varian Canada Prizes for Analytical Chemistry

Keith McIntosh: the UWO Scholarship for Honors Biochemistry and Chemistry (for 2nd year)

Justin Pratt: one of the two Varian Canada Prizes for Analytical Chemistry

Congratulations to all eight of these students for these well-deserved awards!

February 3: Congratulations are due to Anna Vandendries, who, at a surprise ceremony on the weekend, was presented with a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. The citation says that the medal "is awarded to those persons who, like you [Anna], have made a significant contribution to Canada, to their community or to their fellow Canadians". In Anna's case the award was made for her stellar contributions to Girl Guides Canada.


January 18: We are delighted to report that Mike Bancroft has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work with synchrotron radiation and the creation of Canada's first synchrotron. Congratulations Mike on the most deserved recognition! For the full story in Western News click here.

January 17: Our biannual Quaff with your Prof event provides a perfect chance for undergraduate students and faculty to get together in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the more revealing pictures can be found on the ChemClub web site.

Quaff with your Prof, January 2003.

January 9: It gives us great pleasure to announce that Peter Guthrie is this year's recipient of the Canadian Society for Chemistry's (CSC) Alfred Bader Lecture Award in Organic Chemistry. Congratulations Peter for yet another well deserved distinction! Also, Lars Konermann is the winner of the Canadian Society for Chemistry's Fred Beamish Award. The Fred Beamish Award is to recognize individuals who demonstrate innovation in research in the field of Analytical Chemistry, where the research is anticipated to have significant potential for practical applications. The award is made to someone within four years of their first university faculty appointment.

Both Lars and Peter will receive their awards at the 39th IUPAC Congress & 86th Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry which will be held in Ottawa.

January 6:

The Chemistry department welcomes Professor Fred J. Longstaffe, Dean of Science and Professor of Earth Science, as an adjunct Professor of Chemistry. In addition to his adminstrative duties, Professor Longstaffe is Director of the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Studies. More information regarding his research can be found here.

Professor Mel Usselman was an invited speaker at a special symposium held at Cambridge University to celebrate that institution's 300th birthday. He presented a historical talk entitled "Smithson Tennant, the Innovative 8th Professor of Chemistry".

A special issue of the Journal of Molecular Structure on Intermolecular Forces (Theochem) (Volume 591, 2002) was dedicated to Professor Bill Meath on the occasion of his 65th birthday. A bound copy of that issue is currently in the Chair's office and can be examined on request. Congratulations Bill on this well deserved distinction.


December 20: It was quite a surprise to have Santa and Elf drop by at this year's Chili Luncheon. Can you guess who they are? (hint: click here and here).

Santa and Elf in the Chemistry Department.

December 18: Once again, all Staff and Faculty of the Chemistry Department got together to enjoy our annual "Staff-Appreciation-Luncheon" at Spencer Hall.

Christmas lunch at Spencer Hall.

December 4: It gives us great pleasure to announce that Jason Pitters, from Mark Workentin's group, has won the Paul de Mayo Award for Excellence in Chemical Research for 2003! This award is given to a recent Ph.D. from the Dept of Chemistry who has been nominated by his supervisor and chosen by a committee of faculty members to receive the award in recognition of achievement in research and potential in future research.


November 27: The latest Departmental photograph has become available (it was actually taken on September 26). Click on the picture below to see an enlarged version in a new browser window.

The Chemistry Department in 2002.

November 26: This past weekend's Graduate Student Recruitment Open House at Great Hall was a success with over 100 students registered. We thank our two grad student volunteers, Joe Tse and Arnold Kell, that helped give our Department a strong showing at this event.

November 25: This weekend at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Professor J. Peter Guthrie was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The news release announcing his election can be found here. Induction as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada is "Canada's most prestigious academic accolade". This is a tremendous and most deserving honor to Peter who has contributed enormously to Chemistry in Canada. We are fortunate to have him a member of this department. Congratulations, Peter !!!

Peter Guthrie and Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada.

November 16 was Fall Preview Day at UWO. Thousands of high school students and their parents came to visit our campus and check out the many activities, departmental displays and information sessions. For the first time, the Faculty of Science booths were located in the UCC. The new location worked out terrifically, and we had a continuous stream of visitors from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. As in previous years, the Chemistry table drew the biggest crowds, and visitors of all ages were marveling at the "cool" things that can be done with liquid nitrogen and dry ice.

Special thanks go to Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, John Corrigan, and Ron Martin for making this event a success.

November 7: As a fund raiser for the United Way, eleven members of the ChemClub, along with faculty advisors Ken Yeung and James Wisner participated in this year's "United We Climb" event. The thirteen mountaineers climbed all 25 floors of London's tallest building, located at One London Place (apparently the stairs were used!).

United We Climb, 2002.

November 4: We am very pleased to announce that the following graduate students will be awarded a Christian Sivertz Scholarships in Physical Chemistry: Woo-Jae Cheong, Nicholas Mosey, and William Novak. Congratulations to these students for their outstanding first year in grad studies here at Western! We wish them continued success!

October 31:

The annual Halloween Pot-Luck was held in the Chemistry lounge.

October 21: As in previous years, our promotional booth for National Chemistry Week was held at White Oaks Mall. Hundreds of samples of "slime", were handed out, and various tricks with liquid nitrogen and dry ice were on display. Special thanks go to Sandy Zakaria-Holtslag, Ken Yeung, James Wisner and 15 voluteers from the UWO ChemClub.

For more pictures click here.


September 30: Art Westelaken from The Northern section of NACE International, the International Society for Corrosion Science and Engineering, awards $1000 bursaries to graduate students Charmaine Lee and Xihua He in recognition of their contributions to corrosion science. Both students presented their research as posters at the last annual NACE meeting in Denver. Departmental Chairman, Rob Lipson, grabs a little reflected glory while supervisor Prof. Dave Shoesmith wonders why his travel budget is in the red.

Rob Lipson, Charmaine Lee, Xihua He, and Art Westelaken.

September 26: Once again, our "Quaff with the Prof " was a great success. The turnout was one of the largest ever. Many thanks to all members of the Chemclub, and to James Wisner and Ken Yeung for organizing this event.

For more pictures click here.

September 21: The Department of Chemistry represented the UWO Faculty of Science at this year's Homecoming. Special thanks to Sandy Zakaria-Holstag for making this event a success.

September 20:

Meet our new faculty members ...

Oleg Semenikhin

Zhifeng Ding

James Wisner

It has been a a long way for Zhifeng Ding to get to Western from Nanjing, China. He obtained his BS degree in Chemistry from the Southeast University in Nanjing and MS degree in Electrochemistry in the National Key Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry from Nanjing University. He has worked as lecturer and researcher for six years jointly in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical engineering and in the National Laboratory of Molecular and Biomolecular Electronics at Southeast University. Ding then went to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he got his Ph.D. in Spectroelectrochemistry and Photoelectrochemistry. After that Ding moved to Prof. A.J. Bard's Electrochemistry Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. He has lived in Texas for three years as a "cowboy" and postdoctoral research associate on photoelectrochemistry and scanning probe microscopy. This July, he came to London with his wife and daughter as they like Canadian multi-culture and the friendly living and working environment at Western. Ding is now working as assistant professor in Analytical/Physical Chemistry Division in our Department. He has begun to teach Chemistry 322 (Analytical Chemistry) and he is currently in the process of setting up his research lab. Ding speaks Chinese, English and French. His lab will be quite international. He is very ambitious to carry out his electrochemistry research toward analytical, optoelectronic, biological and pharmaceutical applications.

Oleg A. Semenikhin was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1965. In 1982 he entered the D.I. Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology (Moscow, Russia), graduating with M.Sc. degree (Honours) in 1988. He then joined the A.N. Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia), where he obtained his Ph.D. in Electrochemistry in 1993 for studies in photoelectrochemistry of semiconducting oxide electrodes. Then he worked with Prof. A. Fujishima at the University of Tokyo as a PDF at the Science and Technology Agency of Japan (STA) studying microheterogeneity and charge distribution in conducting polymers. In 1996 he returned to Moscow and became a senior researcher at the A.N. Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry working on the photoelectrochemistry on conducting polymers. In 2001 he moved to Duesseldorf, Germany, where he worked with Prof. J.W. Schultze developing the technique of photoelectrochemical microstructuring of conducting polymers. He is now an assistant professor in our Department, with interests in electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, materials chemistry, micro- and nanotechnology.

James Wisner studied at the University of Waterloo from 1989 to 1994 in the honours Co-op chemistry program graduating with his B.Sc. (Hons.). He then entered the graduate chemistry program at the University of Windsor and obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1999 for the synthesis and study of new pseudorotaxanes and rotaxanes based on bis(pyridium)ethane cations and crown ethers. He was awarded the Governor General's Gold Medal for Academic Excellence by the University of Windsor for these efforts. James then attended Oxford University in the United Kingdom as an NSERC PDF and Canada-UK Millenium fellowship holder to work with Prof. P. D. Beer developing a method for the anion templation of interlocked and interpenetrated structures. Like Oleg Semenikhin and Zhifeng Ding, James is now assistant professor in our Department, with interests in self-assembly, templation and mechanically-bonded molecules.


September 9: We are happy to announce that the following adjunct professor appointments in Chemistry have been made: Linda Johnston of the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, and Rodger Smart of the University of South Australia. Dr. Johnston will be working mainly with Peter Norton, and Dr. Smart, with Stewart McIntyre. The appointments are for a five year term.

September 3: The Department held a farewell party at Spencer Hall for Mike Mosley, who had been Director of Laboratories in Chemistry for the last 15 years. This summer, Mike accepted an offer from the UWO Department of Occupational Health and Safety. We thank Mike for all the superb work he has done for our Department over the years, and we wish him all the best for his new job.


Mike Mosley, cutting the "farewell cake".

August 23: Congratulations to Xihua He (graduate student in Dave Shoesmith's group) for winning the award for the best student presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for Metallurgists in Montreal. Her presentation was entitled "Effects of Temperature and Metallurgical Features on the Crevice Corrosion of Alpha Titanium Alloys".

Xihua He

August 21: Like in previous years, the Departmental Picnic was held at the Fanshawe Lake Conservation Area. The weather was perfect and everybody had a great time! Special thanks go to the members of our Social Committee (Bruce Harwood, Robert Harbottle, Duncan Hunter, Nils Petersen, and David Shoesmith) for all of their hard work and time. Thanks also to everybody else who helped out either by flipping burgers(Robert Hudson) selling tickets (Darlene Hagen and Sandy McCaw), to Bill Meath for picking up the sweet corn and to Phil Dean and Bill Meath for cooking the corn. Leftover food was donated to the Men's Mission.

July 11: Professor Kim Baines has been appointed to the NSERC Grant Selection Committe 24 for 3 years effective immediately. It has been long overdue since UWO had representation on either Chemistry GSC. Congratulations Kim on this distinction (and work load).

July 2: Professor Peter Guthrie is among this year’s 64 new Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada. He is a scientific leader in developing methods for the prediction of rate constants for chemical reactions in solution. For the full story in WESTERN NEWS click here.

July 1: Congratulations to John Corrigan on his promotion to the rank of associate professor, and to Yining Huang on his promotion to full professor.





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