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REF NO.: 232

SUBJECT: Chemistry expert to lecture on the science of the scare
DATE: July 10, 2008

               One of the best analytical chemists in North America has been named the 2008 Job Visiting Professor. Dr. R. Graham Cooks of Purdue University in Indianapolis will visit Memorial University from July 22-24 to give a series of public and research lectures to the local community.
            In addition to constructing mass spectrometers, Dr. Cooks has become internationally known for his ability to develop new uses and applications for these devices, including using mass spectrometry in the fields of health, forensics, and security matters. 
            “Dr. Cooks has developed a whole range of analytical techniques for mass spectrometry that can be used in hospitals, for example, to screen and follow the progression of cancer or at airports to sniff out interesting molecules that may pose a safety concern,” said Dr. Robert Davis, head of the Department of Chemistry at Memorial University.
            Dr. Cook’s public lecture is titled The science behind the scare: Trace organic analysis in public safety, forensics, environmental security and medicine. The lecture will take place July 22 at 3 p.m. in SN-2109, located in the Science Building on Memorial University’s St. John’s campus. This discussion will cover the questions asked at airports, in the courts and in daily life regarding the chemicals to which we are - or thing we are or might be – exposed.
            In his lecture, Dr. Cooks will suggest that current methods of answering these questions are too slow to be useful and that handheld portable tandem mass spectrometers have the potential to provide the information needed in amounts of time that matter. He believes the same methodology has application in medical diagnosis. He will raise ethical questions and will make an argument for providing individuals with personal versions of these high powered chemical analysis technologies.

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