What is a chemist?
Chemists are scientists who study the composition,
behaviour, structure and properties of matter. They
reproduce and synthesise naturally occurring
substances and create new artificial substances.
They develop new products such as medicines,
cosmetics, synthetic fibres and plastics.
Areas of Specialisation
• Food chemistry
• Physical chemistry
• Organic chemistry
What do I need to study?
At CSEC and CAPE:
A bachelor’s degree in
chemistry is required for an entry position as a
chemist. A master’s degree or doctorate in
chemistry is however needed for a career in
research and university teaching.
What skills and traits do I need?
• Attention to detail
• Patience and concentration
• Love for laboratory work
• Creative thinking
• Good teamwork skills
Dolly Nicholas is the first and only woman to receive a
Trinidad and Tobago national award for scientific
invention. She has received both the Public Service
Medal of Merit and the Chaconia Medal (Silver) for her
inventions and contribution to the field of science and
technology. She was also the winner in the process
category of the Prime Minister’s
Awards for Innovation and Invention in 2000 and, in
2002, she received a special award of merit in the
field of chemistry under that same awards programme.
She holds in total eight patents for different
commercially useful processes.
She loves to read, chat with friends over
lunch or coffee, and do volunteer work.
A brilliant student of chemistry at universities in
Canada, Ms Nicholas, after graduating, was employed at
the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI).
She went on to work at Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and
Tobago (1978) Ltd, where she researched the properties
of Trinidad asphalt and invented a range of coatings,
paints and adhesives, which were marketed under the
LASCO name. This was a major achievement since the
laboratory facilities were sparse. Moving ahead, she
worked as a materials scientist at the Dunlop Tire
Corporation in New York, USA, for a short period, then
with Asphalt Products Trinidad Ltd as Research and
Development Director. Currently, she is a consultant
with R&D Environmental Solutions Inc.
Recently, Ms Nicholas was awarded patents for processes
to convert soft drink ‘plastic’ bottles into usable
products such as epoxy coatings, and to treat emulsions
and effluents from the petroleum and petrochemical
industry. With the latter technology, a very tight
emulsion is separated into saleable crude that meets
global standards for crude oil, clean sand and effluent
Dolly Nicholas (née Mungalsingh) was born on 9th
February, 1952 in Gasparillo, Trinidad, and was one
of nine children. Her humble parents instilled in
them the importance of higher education although
they could not afford to pay for it and Ms Nicholas
and all of her siblings succeeded in finding the
resources to attend university. Her love for
research and development stems from her love of the
unknown, and her passion is to bring ideas from
conceptualisation to commercialisation.
A member of the Third World
Organization for Women in Science and Scientists
without Borders, she believes that women should not see
chemistry as a man’s area. She urges girls to get
involved in chemistry since women around the world are
making great strides in the field. She is passionate
about developing students’ capacity for
entrepreneurship and innovation, and she is a
facilitator in innovation programmes.
What institutions did she attend?
Gasparillo Government School, Trinidad
Naparima Girls’ High School, Trinidad
Lakehead University, Canada
– BSc in Environmental Polymer Chemistry (First Class
Queen’s University, Canada
–MSc in Analytical Chemistry
US Patent #- 7,442,311: Emulsion & Effluent Treatment Processes
US Patent # - 6,558,462: Method of making a powdered product from Trinidad Lake Asphalt for use in a road building mix
US Patent # - 6,277,904: Improved tires/retreads including Trinidad Lake Asphalt as a component
Patent # - TT/A/2008/00122: Tar/oil sands bitumen removal & fluidization process
Patent # - TT/A/2002/00032 : Process to treat and break down emulsions
TT Patent # - TT/A/2002/00021: Process to treat waste fluids from petroleum and petrochemical industry
Patent # - TT/A/2001/00039: Process to convert plastics and/or PET to create usable products
Patent # - PCT/IB98/01196: Improved coating made with Trinidad Lake Asphalt