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Dr. Dale Keefe A Leading Light In Chemistry Research

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December 13, 2005

Source: University College of Cape Breton:

Dr. Dale Keefe A Leading Light In Chemistry Research

Dr. Dale Keefe A Leading Light In Chemistry Research
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Molecular Spectroscopy Launched Today

(Sydney, NS) – Today, University and Canada Research Chair officials, colleagues and students alike marked the launch of Dr. Dale Keefe’s Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Molecular Spectroscopy, valued at $500,000. A leading expert in the use of molecular spectroscopy, Dr. Keefe investigates the microscopic properties of molecules and, in particular, their energy levels. The work being done in the spectroscopy lab at Cape Breton University is helping to expand the scientific knowledge of these important interactions.

Dr. Keefe, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Physical and Applied Sciences at the University, was also recently awarded $119,751 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The funds will be used for a Raman Spectrometer and High Performance Computer to support the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Spectroscopy.

Molecular spectroscopy measures how infrared and visible light interacts with molecules. These interactions change depending on the chemical environment the molecule is placed in.

How intermolecular interactions affect a liquid’s physical and molecular properties will be the primary focus of Dr. Keefe’s Canada Research Chair, allowing him to combine his love of three areas of science.

"I always enjoyed Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Molecular spectroscopy allows me combine these interests. We use applied Mathematics and Physics to study chemical problems."

Dr. Keefe notes as an undergraduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, two professors became major influencers. "Professors Raymond Poirier and Murray Brooker sparked my interest in molecular spectroscopy and quantum mechanics. I was and still am amazed at how much information we can get by looking at how a molecule interacts with light and how the electrons interact with the nuclei in a molecule to determine its properties." With this background, it seemed natural for Dr. Keefe to pursue his Ph.D. in the field of molecular spectroscopy with Professor John Bertie at the University of Alberta, a well-known and respected molecular spectroscopist.

Today, Dr. Keefe is considered to be a mentor for many of his undergraduate students who have worked in this area of research with him. "This award is recognition of not only my research but also some of the very talented students who have worked in my group and they will continue to be a part of my team."

Special guests today included Dr. John ApSimon, Executive Director Canada Research Chair Program, members of CBU including President John Harker and the Board of Governors, and a number of Dr. Keefe’s colleagues and students. Dr. David Sneddon, Associate Professor of Chemistry, provided a toast and current research student Jennifer MacDonald spoke about her experiences studying and working with Dr. Keefe.

Dr. Keefe’s research will become the foundation for a collaborative research community that can produce new information for use across these critical disciplines.

"Cape Breton University is home to a thriving research culture and in many instances our faculty are considered national leaders in their respective research areas," said University President John Harker. "Dr. Keefe continually pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge and this prestigious honour will allow he and his team to make great strides in Molecular Spectroscopy."

A faculty member at CBU since 1996, Dr. Keefe was born and raised in Grand-Falls Windsor, NL. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science (Chemistry/Mathematics) (Honours) from Memorial University in St. John’s, NL and earned his Ph.D. (Physical Chemistry) from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. He completed a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Prof. Mario Morin at the University of Ottawa, ON. He has authored or co-authored more than 35 publications, presented at major conferences and received numerous awards. He holds professional memberships in the Chemical Institute of Canada, Canadian Society for Chemistry and American Chemical Society.

Dr. Keefe’s current research funding comes through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation.

Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are held by Cape Breton University faculty Dr. Cheryl Bartlett and Dr. Richard Mackinnon, in Integrative Science and Intangible Cultural Heritage respectively.

The Canada Research Chairs Program stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top five countries for research and development. In 2000, the Government of Canada allocated $900 million to establish 2,000 research professorships-Canada Research Chairs – in universities across the country.

Chairholders advance the frontiers of knowledge in their fields, not only through their own work, but also by teaching and supervising students and coordinating the work of other researchers.

About Cape Breton University:
Cape Breton University is an Atlantic Canadian post-secondary education leader, with a growing national and international focus. With one of the most favourable faculty student ratios in the country, personalized education is key at Cape Breton University. A dynamic and young University, Cape Breton University focuses on quality academic and research excellence, student services, a vibrant campus life and technology tools to support undergraduate education.

Research and development opportunities on campus and in the field put some of our top expert researchers in direct contact with undergraduate students, providing them with research projects generally only available to graduate students.


Kelly Rose
Communications Officer
Cape Breton University
Tel: (902) 563-1638

Dr. Dale Keefe
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair
Cape Breton University
Tel: (902) 563-1185



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