CAREER INFORMATION

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
• Analytical chemistry
• Food chemistry
• Physical chemistry
• Biochemistry
• Organic chemistry
• Toxicology

What do I need to study?
At CSEC and CAPE:
• Chemistry
• Physics 
• Biology
• Mathematics

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

Famous Chemists
Marie Curie                              Alfred Nobel
Robert Boyle                            Dmitri Mendeleev
Atul Kumar

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.

Fun Facts:

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 water.

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 Standing)

  • Queen’s University, Canada
    –MSc in Analytical Chemistry

Other Achievements

  • 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

 

 

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