One of Dr. Rayner-Canham’s
continuing interests has been the popularization of
chemistry - making chemistry relevant and more
comprehensible to young students and the general public. He
has contended for many years that academics have a duty to
venture forth from the ‘ivory tower’ and excite future
generations with the pleasure to be derived from knowledge
and understanding. As part of this work, he has authored
articles in relevant publications such as Chem13 News.
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Are Fake Diamonds Better than Real
Diamonds?” Chem13 News, 10-11, (September 2005).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Making Money through Electrolysis,”
Chem13 News, 18-19 (February 2005).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “What is X-Rated in Chemistry?,”
Chem13 News, 3, (October 2004).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “No More Sleeping Beauty,” Chemistry
World, 1(5), 24-25 (2004).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Enriched and Depleted Uranium,”
Chem13 News, 1, 4, (December 2002).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “What is a Pyrophoric Substance?”
Chem13 News, 13-14 (November 2002).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Fluoride: Trying to Separate Fact from
Fallacy,” Chem13 News, 16-19 (September 2001).
Since 1993, Dr. Rayner-Canham has been giving on-campus
Chemistry is Everywhere! presentations to 800 high school
students every April. These students come from schools
across western and central Newfoundland. The presentations
consist of live demonstrations, video clips, and slides
which show students the importance of chemistry in their
In the photo below, Dr. Rayner-Canham is rehersing the
presentation while the SWGC staff (Wanda Ellsworth, Wade
Goulding, and Bobbie-Ann Lovell [chemistry] and Dale Power
[theatre]) complete the set-up.
G. Rayner-Canham, “A Chemistry Show Without the Magic,”
Can. Chem. News, 50(3), 22-25 (1998).
Dr. Rayner-Canham realized that it was the more remote
schools, those who could not attend the chemistry
presentations, who were in greatest need of stimulation. He
developed a transportable version of the show that could be
understood by a wide range of student ages. With the initial
and continuing support of SWGC, he and his first student
colleague, Ms. Christina Smeaton took their first expedition
across the Straits of Belle Isle to schools on the Labrador
coast. With two successive grants from the Natural Science
and Engineering Research Council PromoScience program, Dr.
Rayner-Canham accompanied by one or two students has visited
almost all the high schools in Labrador together with
schools along the Quebec lower north shore, the tip of the
northern peninsula and the south coast of Newfoundland.
The photos below show his student colleagues to date: Ms.
Christina Smeaton beside the SWGC Ford Windstar on the
coastal highway south of Port Hope Simpson, Lab.; Ms. Amy
Snook beside an Air Labrador Twin Otter at Nain, Lab.; Ms.
Tonia Churchill beside the shuttle helicopter at St.
Augustine airport to the community, Que.; Ms. Natalie Alteen on the charter boat at Hermitage, Nfld.;
and Ms. Laura Griffin near the M.S. Apollo at St. Barbe; and
Ms. Tanika Chaisson beside the Strait Air Beaver at
G. Rayner-Canham, C. Smeaton, A. Snook, and T. Churchill,
“To Boldly Go Where No Chemical Educators Have Gone Before,”
Canadian Chemical News, 58(8), 16-17 (2006).
Wilfred Grenfell College funding for pilot outreach