Canada Post released a limited-edition stamp on October 3rd 2011 to celebrate the work of world-renowned University of Toronto chemist Dr. John Charles Polanyi, and the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.
Polanyi’s groundbreaking research forged a new field of chemistry – chemical kinetics – which examines the rates of chemical reactions. Polanyi pioneered the use of infrared chemiluminescence, using extremely weak infrared emissions from newly formed molecules to understand how chemical reactions take place. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work in 1986.
Designed by Tejashri Kapure, the Canada Post stamp features a photograph of Dr. Polanyi and a graphic image representing his work in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy.
While the official launch date of the stamp was October 3, Canada’s 2011 International Year of Chemistry organizing committee unveiled the stamp on October 1, as part of the University of Toronto’s Chemistry Nuit Blanche event.
Chemistry Nuit Blanche is a new event initiated by students at the University of Toronto that aims to present chemistry to the general public in a fun and interactive manner. The event showcased a dynamic panel discussion and also included booths demonstrating chemistry topics prevalent in everyday life. Crowds were engaged as they walked amongst over 20 booths and learned about the diversity of chemistry and how it affects and improves their lives.
The stamp can be purchased at the Canada Post Website.
Rationale for Stamp Design
The background image is a cropping of actual bromine atoms photo-imprinted on a silicon surface. This image is part of current research in molecular-scale printing lead by Professor Polanyi at the University of Toronto. The graphic on the lower right shows molecules moving within the three states of a chemical reaction: initial state, transition state and final state. We included this graphic as part of the stamp as Professor Polanyi won a Nobel prize in 1986 for his contribution in initiating a new field of chemistry called reaction dynamics that deals with the prediction of the pattern of the motion of molecules in a chemical reaction. The wavy lines behind the molecules emphasize transition within a chemical reaction.