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Gonsalves Fear, Beer and Science _ Cape Cod Online

Gonsalves Fear, Beer and Science _ Cape Cod Online

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Here is an article from the Cape Cod times on Oct. 20, 2011 about the 3rd Cape Cod Science Cafe. The journalist talks about his early fear of science and how the Science Cafe is trying to overcome that problem with young students.
Here is an article from the Cape Cod times on Oct. 20, 2011 about the 3rd Cape Cod Science Cafe. The journalist talks about his early fear of science and how the Science Cafe is trying to overcome that problem with young students.

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Published by: Dr. John Jack Driscoll on Oct 20, 2011
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Gonsalves: Fear, beer and science
What: Cape Cod Science CafeWhere: Cape Cod Beer, 1336 Phinney'sLane, HyannisWhen: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday Oct. 21, 2011Chowder, salad, bread and non-alcoholicbeverages will be served. Admission isfree. But, if you go, organizers ask that youregister ahead of time at the Cape CodBeer website (www.capecodbeer.com)
Sean Gonsalves
October 20, 2011
Other than a handful of elements from the periodic table, beakersand that white lab jacket the teacher wore every day, I don'tremember a thing from high school chemistry — not even myteacher's name.Maybe that's because the tormented experience of that class chemically induced me to bury those memoriesdeep into my medial frontal cortex. I need Leonardo DiCaprio to dive into my unconscious mind, like a scenefrom the movie "Inception," just to get my "chemistry education" synapses to connect.Of course, there's nothing unique about the bad chemistry I had withchemistry.One of my favorite popular science writers, Natalie Angier, describeschemistry as "the subject that at least 6 out of every 6.0225Americans insist they 'flunked in high school.' The boilerplate evilscientist of Hollywood is often some type of chemist ... People rantagainst all the 'chemicals' in the environment, as though the wordwere synonymous with 'poisons.'"It's precisely this kind of chemical fear and loathing that Jennifer Maclachian and her father, Jack Driscoll ,want to dilute.Maclachian is the managing director of PID Analyzers LLC inSandwich. Driscoll is a physical chemist. Both of them founded PIDAnalyzers and now work in the "industrial hygiene" business, which is all about occupational safety in thechemical industry.In fact, Driscoll is what you might call a pretty big deal in the field. Driscoll used to work for Geophysics Corp. of America, which developed a photoionization spectrometer for NASA. His time there, and then later working withthe Walden Research Corp., led him to invent the first hand-held photoionization detector, or PID, which isbasically a UV lamp attached to a mini-ionization chamber that detects harmful contaminants and volatile organiccompounds.Because of that, earlier this year, he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from the NortheasternSection of the American Chemical Society, the regional arm of the largest single-discipline scientific organizationin the country with 163,000 members.Driscoll's PID is an amazing instrument. Not only did it play a starring role in the discovery and cleanup of contaminants at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y., it also convinced executives at Gillette years ago that their plants weren't as safe as their internal safety inspectors thought. And even though you hear lots of politicalrhetoric about "job-killing" regulations on businesses, in the real world, safety equipment like the PID canactually turn potentially killer-jobs into a job-creation success story.But to do any of this cool, creative, fun stuff, you have to first know a little something about chemistry. To helppromote the contributions of chemistry, and increase the public's knowledge of the field and the importance of science education, the American Chemical Association launched "International Year of Chemistry 2011." ABunsen burner was lit under Maclachian. She ran with the idea and organized a series of "Cape Cod ScienceCafés."The year is broken into four quarters, with a different aspect of chemistry highlighted in each. The first quarter focused on the environment, which Maclachian used as an opportunity to hold a forum on the chemistry of theCape's water systems. The theme of the second quarter was energy, which brought the esteemed MIT scientistDan Nocera to the Hyannis Golf Club to give a talk on alternative energy.The third-quarter focus, which we're in right now, is recycling. And what better way to engage the public on thechemistry of recycling than with libations and a science café hosted at Cape Cod Beer?"The chemistry of brewing is pretty interesting. And it turns out that Todd (Marcus, who co-owns the localbrewery with his wife, Beth) is really into chemistry. He's an electrical engineer by trade. He has microscopesover there and everything," Maclachian told me on Wednesday.More importantly, Cape Cod Beer is a model for "sustainable businesses," she said, noting how seriously theMarcuses take recycling. "And that's something they're going to talk about on Friday."For Driscoll — whether you're talking about brewing beer, the basic building blocks of the universe, or NStar'sherbicide program — it's all chemistry, baby. Not only does chemistry matter, it literally is the stuff of all matter.
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Gonsalves: Fear, beer and science | CapeCodOnline.com, Oct. 20,2011http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111020/...1 of 310/20/2011 10:55 AM

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