Celebrating the chemistry behind the traditional knowledge of the Inuit People

Friday, September 30, 2022
Chem 13 News Fall 2022 Special Edition Chemistry and Inuit Life and Culture

This month, the Department of Chemistry and Chem 13 News Magazine announced the publication of a Special Edition entitled, “Chemistry and Inuit Life and Culture.”

What makes the quarry at Ramah Bay so special? How are pollutants making their way to the Arctic? What are the properties of snow and ice that help the Inuit live in such a harsh climate? Ever wonder about the chemistry (and Inuit legends) of the Northern Lights? Over the years we featured articles on topics such as these showing the links between Inuit life and chemical concepts. The Fall 2022 Special Edition brings together this important work into a single publication, as well as some new articles, creating an issue that is both very compelling and visually stunning.

There has been a great team in charge of this project, including the previous chair of Chemistry, Prof. Bill Power. We also acknowledge the guidance of our former editor, Jean Hein, who helped edit and publish the original set of articles. Of course, the greatest tribute should go to the authors, Geoff Rayner-Canham, Chaim Christiana Andersen and Rosalina Naqitarvik, whose excellent work we hope this issue properly reflects and supports.

For more than 50 years, Chem 13 News has supported chemical education in high schools across Ontario, Canada, and internationally. Chem 13 News articles not only touch on chemistry education, but expand into history, art, puzzles and even humor. Anyone who has visited campus, has likely seen examples of our outreach: the Periodic Table Project mural located in EIT, and the Timeline of the Elements mural and display in the basement of STC.

Below is a link to the digital version featuring this issue on our Chem 13 News magazine website, which is free and available to all: https://uwaterloo.ca/chem13-news-magazine/

Two Inuuk women throat singing (kataqjjaq) up in north Baffin Island near Rosalina's home.

Two Inuuk women throat singing (kataqjjaq) up in north Baffin Island near Rosalina Naqitarvik's home. Read more in her article, "Composites in Inuit Life: What was old is new again."

Canadian high schools in addition received a complimentary physical copy of the Fall 2022 Special Edition in advance of the next Truth and Reconciliation Day, September 30th, with hopes that it can spark some conversations and lessons around that important date. We thank the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and NSERC’s Promo Science fund for their generous financial support.

This issue has been some years in the making. Chem 13 News thanks the Department of Chemistry, the Faculty of Science, and its readers for their continued support and hope you enjoy reading (and sharing) this very special issue with everyone you know.

-The Chem 13 News team