Dr. Andrew Carrier attained his BSc (Hon) in 2006 and his PhD in 2011, both from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. Andrew considers himself to most recently be from Trenton, ON. Although Andrew grew up in a military family and has lived throughout Canada.

Andrew has just finished submitting a manuscript regarding summer research investigating the use of biochar, a waste by-product of the production of bio-oil and synthesis gas from biomass, as a value-added adsorbent for heavy metal contaminated waste. His current research program is largely focused on the generation of loosely surface bound catalysts that retain the activity and product selectivity of the corresponding dissolved catalyst, but also includes additional investigation of biochar and other smaller projects.

Andrew’s undergraduate research consisted of projects related to the formation of pseudorotaxane complexes of cucurbiturils, the carboxylation of inactivated methylenes, and a mechanistic study of metal catalyzed hydroborations. Andrew’s graduate research consisted of the development of solvents having switchable hydrophilicity, thermally regenerative fuel cells, and hydrogen storing ionic liquids, among others.

Chemistry has largely become an interdisciplinary science, but the discipline closest to his research is applied physical chemistry, in particular the kinetics and thermodynamics of catalyzed processes for practical applications Andrew chose to study chemistry, largely because it is a very hands-on science. “Actually very similar to being a baker, but with more unusual ingredients,” says Carrier.

“There is a lot of opportunity for collaboration between scientists both within universities, and with other universities and industry. I often find myself amazed at how simple and clever peoples’ ideas can be. Things that should work on paper often don’t in the laboratory, and things that don’t often do. These are always learning opportunities, and can lead to entire projects and publications. Chemists also have many opportunities to invent entirely new things and file patent applications.”

Andrew believes chemistry is not a science that can be learned by rote memorization; every situation you find yourself in is unique.

“This can become overwhelming in the second year of a chemistry program where you are learning the fundamentals of many disciplines at the same time. Resist the urge to cram for an exam, because you will need to know the material in the future. Practice your writing skills at every opportunity. Communication skills are essential to success in any career.”

Read his Blog post: William Henry Perkin and the first synthetic dye