the Titanic, the Halifax Explosion (the largest recorded explosion prior to the atomic bomb), Alexander Keith’s brewery, and nice, friendly Canadians. A culture of science doesn’t even register as a blip on my radar.
But while walking down Lower Water St. to get a latte near the Halifax Harbour, I passed a building called the BioScience Enterprise Centre. It’s right next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the bear claw booth (open only in the summer, unfortunately). Assuming the place was a museum or a tourist destination, I decided to go in and ended up speaking with an administrative assistant, Moscoula Mallis. As it turns out, the center is an incubator for Nova Scotia start-up companies doing R&D and commercialization of their products and services, which range from DNA-based tracking technology to alternative energy consultation to stackable buoys to pharmaceuticals.
The center is managed by InNOVAcorp, which works with the start-ups and provides some funding, mentoring, and an infrastructure (lab/office space) to help the firms through whatever stage of research, development, or commercialization they are in. InNOVAcorp, a provincial corporation under the Nova Scotia Economic Development department, has a mission to promote Nova Scotia as a hub of technology research to engender a culture of science, discovery, and product innovation in the province, Mallis says.
Some companies have been pretty successful, according to Mallis. Ocean Nutrition Canada is now a full-fledged marine nutrition company, providing omega-3s as food additives and nutritional supplements. Even Wyeth (soon to be Pfizer) did some vaccine work at BioScience Enterprise Centre earlier this millenium, Mallis says, although I can’t find any reliable information about this.
It might not be science in my own backyard (not anymore at least), but it just goes to show that science, and chemistry, is everywhere.
I recently went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a vacation to visit my old haunts and get reacquainted with friends. When I think of Halifax, I think of scarves and hats,