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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beavertonwomen in politics to women in leadershiphistory to artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Feb 8, 2019

Chemistry is often considered the 'central science', because it serves as a bridge between so many disciplines: physics, biology, engineering, computers and the environment. And chemists are also on the forefront of some exciting research that could change our world.

Joining Ben is Professor Cathy Crudden, award-winning chemist and head of the Crudden Research Group. They discuss the cutting edge of chemistry research as well as Cathy's mentoring philosophy, traveling and working in Japan, and more.

About the Guest

Cathleen Crudden was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland to Patrick and Linda Crudden. Shortly thereafter, her family emigrated to Canada, where they settled in Toronto and gave Cathleen two younger sisters, Mary and Sarah, and her only brother, Patrick.

Cathleen grew up in Toronto attending Notre Dame high school in the Beaches before starting her B.Sc. at the University of Toronto. After this, she stayed on at the U of T to complete a master’s degree with Professor Mark Lautens.

Ottawa was the next stop where Cathleen completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Howard Alper. During this time, she had the pleasure of an extended stay in Japan, doing research with Professor Shinji Murai and Naoto Chatani at Osaka University.

After completing her Ph.D., she was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow with Professor Scott E. Denmark at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. In 1996, she started her own research group at the University of New Brunswick.

After 5 years at the University of New Brunswick, where she learned to canoe, pick fiddleheads and tell the difference between hostas and skunk cabbage, she was offered a job at Queen’s University, where she moved in 2002 as a Queen’s National Scholar.

In 2006, Cathleen and the distinct pleasure of taking part of her sabbatical back in Japan, this time in Nagoya in the Noyori Research Labs, with Professor Kenichiro Itami as her host. In addition to learning some great chemistry, she experienced an earthquake, improved her Japanese (すこしだけ) and enjoyed a few nights out at local karaoke bars. In 2007, it was off to Spain for a half sabbatical with Elena Fernandez, enjoying the fabulous Catalan hospitality, chemistry and food.

In 2010, Cathleen became Mom to her beautiful daughter Caitlin, and shortly after her return from maternity leave, became head of an NSERC CREATE award in Chiral Materials. For 2011-13, she was Vice President, President and Past President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

In 2013, Cathleen was offered a position at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules in Nagoya Japan as a Research Professor. With the help of her very talented Assistant Professor Masakazu Nambo, she runs a satellite group there year round.

Learn more about Cathy and the Crudden Group.