The King's University College Faculty and Students Contribute to Education and Outreach Efforts of 2013 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, OPCW The King's University College students and faculty at the King's Centre for Visualization in Science (KCVS) have made important contributions over the past eight years to the Education and outreach efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the organization honoured this week with the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
"We are thrilled with the news of this well-deserved honour for OPCW, which has been working tirelessly for a world free of chemical weapons," says The King's University College Professor Peter Mahaffy, a member of the OPCW Temporary Working Group on Education and Outreach, and co-director of the King's Centre for Visualization in Science. "OPCW works to raise public awareness, in addition to its important scientific work of verification and implementation of legal and political frameworks. And we are pleased that King's students and faculty have contributed so meaningfully to this work in 2013 by creating a rich set of interactive web resources to help the public understand the responsibility that each of us has to ensure that chemicals are used responsibly and for beneficial purposes."
A comprehensive set of interactive web materials created by the KCVS research team in 2013 explores the beneficial uses, misuses, and abuses of multi-use chemicals, both historically and presently, and introduces the Chemical Weapons Convention. Users are invited to explore what is being done to monitor the abuse of multi-use chemicals and to discover the responsibilities of both scientists and the public in responding to the misuse of chemicals, such as in the production of chemical weapons. The web materials, developed as a joint project of the OPCW and the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), were piloted at the World Chemistry Congress in Turkey in August, several days before chemical weapons were used in Syria.
In addition to his work with the KCVS research team, Professor Mahaffy, as the chair of the IUPAC's Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) has contributed to OPCW's work on education and outreach for the past eight of the 16 years since OPCW was established. His involvement began with a July 2005 invitational joint IUPAC/OPCW Conference in Oxford, where he was the rapporteur for the Education working group. The conference concluded that for the work of OPCW in freeing the world of chemical weapons to succeed and be sustainable, a systemic attempt to address this in formal educational contexts and public outreach was needed. From 2005-2013, Professor Mahaffy led and contributed to numerous initiatives to develop and support the education and outreach mandate of OPCW, focusing as chair of IUPAC CCE on bringing together the chemistry education expertise of IUPAC CCE members with that of OPCW staff and advisory board members. The joint work of IUPAC and OPCW is summarized in a congratulatory letter from IUPAC President Kazuyuki Tatsumi to OPCW posted on the IUAPAC website, iupac.org.
The King's Centre for Visualization in Science is a research centre of The King's University College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Centre is committed to improving the public understanding of science in Canada and globally through the development of innovative ways to visualize science. Professors Brian Martin and Peter Mahaffy are co-directors of the centre, working with a talented interdisciplinary team of undergraduate researchers. This past year, a quarter million visitors from over 100 countries accessed KCVS resources.
The King's University College was recently named Most Supportive Campus Environment of any Canadian institution, as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement, and is in the top ten per cent of all colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1979, King's offers fully accredited Bachelor degrees in the Arts, Humanities, Music, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Commerce/Management, as well as an Education after degree. King's serves almost 700 students from across Canada and abroad, representing more than 16 nations. Faculty members are highly qualified, committed to academic excellence and communicate a Christian perspective in their teaching. Students are challenged - both inside and outside the classroom - to apply what they learn to their lives and future careers.