On the 5th of April 2017 the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced the winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the heritage field.
Among the 29 laureates (from 18 countries) is also the Rode Altarpiece Research and Conservation Project (research category) of the high altar of St. Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn.
The project was coordinated by Dr. Hilkka Hiiop from the Art Museum of Estonia. This project also involves several scientists from the chair of analytical chemistry at the University of Tartu, among them Dr. Signe Vahur and her student Krete Saak, and Dr. Riin Rebane, who carried out a thorough material analysis.
The Award Ceremony will be held in Turku, Finland on the 15th of May 2017. During the ceremony, in addition to seven Grand Prix laureates also the Public Choice Award winner will be announced. Everyone has a chance to vote for 3 of their favourite projects, and thereby enter a draw to win a trip for two to Turku and take part in the European Heritage Awards Ceremony on 15th of May. The deadline for casting your votes is the 3rd of May, 2017.
Further information on the project can be found on the web page: Rode Altarpiece in Close-up.
On Monday, March 27, 2017 the web course “Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was launched the third time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course).
Currently 336 participants from 62 countries are registered. The somewhat decreased popularity of the course is most probably due to the fact that starting from this year certificate of completion on paper is not free of charge (digital certificate is still free). Given this change, we are actually surprised that we still have so many participants! Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from. As in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories, once again demonstrating the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation in analytical chemistry.
The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. Some developments and improvements have been made to the course material, in particular, better description of course organisatsion a self-test on sophisticated uncertainty estimation taking numerically into account the limited selectivity of the technique (potentiometry with ion-selective electrode). Some changes are still in the pipeline. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.
The online course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis will start its 4th edition on Monday, Mar 27, 2017. 300 participants have already been registered from 58 countries. Registration is still open and all people interested to learn this important topic are welcome to participate!
The registration link is available from the course website: https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty
On Feb 16, 2017 the MOOC LC-MS Method Validation finished successfully.
Altogether 303 people were registered from 61 countries. 224 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 168 successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 55%. The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 75%. Both completion rates are all time highest that our group has seen in our MOOCs!
The questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work and in several cases led to improvements in the course. This active participation made teaching this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers! The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials.
We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!
We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn 2017.
Friday 27.01.2017 was the last day of the EACH Winter School 2017. It appears to have been a memorable experience for all participants, especially those from southern countries. For example, quite some people had never walked on ice in their life, not to speak about jumping into water from sauna or under ice fishing! (See the previous post).
We were able to experience the best of Sweden – Swedish food, nature and hospitality, which was spiced up and complemented with exotic dishes and participants’ enthusiasm.
The next Winter School will take place in January 2018 in Lyon.
Photos by Jayaruwan and Jonas: group photo and beautiful sunset on Lake Erken.
Wednesday Jan 25, 2017: a major entertainment on that day of the Winter School was a short fishing trip to the nearby lake
Photos by Santosh, Sadakat and Jayaruwan: 🙂
On Jan 23, 2017, the second Winter School of the EACH programme started in Erken Laboratory (Erken, Sweden). Altogether 34 students from more than 20 countries participate.
The Winter School offers a diverse set of activities to the participants. There are lectures on advanced analytical chemistry topics by top experts, group works and entertainment. Several sessions are presented by industry practitioners. The intense working is counterbalanced by social activities.
Traditionally an important activity in the Winter school is selecting first year students to study tracks. In order to give one more piece of information what the study tracks are about, there was a session of presentations on the first day by second year students on their master thesis topics.
Full information about the Winter School activities is available at the EACH Winter School web page.
Group Photo (Jayaruwan Gunathilake): in front of the main building of the Erken Laboratory; Photos in the middle (Ivo Leito): Uppsala students presenting their master theses and prof. Jonas Bergquist enjoying their presentation; Photo on bottom left (Ivo Leito): Vietnamese students following the presentation.
The American Chemical Society (the world’s largest scientific society by membership!) has recently published a document titled Top Ten Trends Driving Science, which summarizes in an intelligent and engaging way the main processes and trends in the contemporary society that drive the scientific research. The explanations are supported by numerous quotes from leading scientists.
Of specific interest for our study programme is the trend No 2: Big data is more essential than ever, which supported by quote from Jonathan Sweedler, Editor-in-Chief of Analytical Chemistry, stating among other things: This is a Golden Age of Measurement Science!
All the best wishes to all measurement scientists – both chemical and physical – everywhere in the world!
Among the analytical chemistry research directions at UT are studies of materials, especially materials with artistic and/or historic relevance. Textiles have a prominent place among these materials and the leading force of textile analysis in our group is PhD student Pilleriin Peets.
We have the pleasure to announce that her master’s thesis defended in June 2016 “Method development for textile dye analysis on the example of red dyes” was awarded with the 1st prize in the Estonian National Contest for University Students supported by Estonian Research Council. Congratulations, Pilleriin!
This very interesting and challenging master’s thesis involved development of methodologies using complementary techniques – FT-ICR-MS with ESI and MALDI sources, LC-QQQ-MS, SEM-EDS – for thoroughgoing investigation of composition of red dyes.
Natural dyes (extracted from plants and insects) are complex mixtures of sophisticated organic compounds and their chemical composition is still not fully known. Dyes can be divided into different groups (antraquinones, flavonoids etc) but within a group they can be quite similar. In order to fix dyes on fabrics mordants (alum, tannic acid etc) are commonly used. Identifying dyes and mordants in textiles is challenging: samples are very small, analyte concentrations are low, objects consist of many components (incl. impurities) and their decomposition products. So, accurate methods that can work with small amounts of sample and very low analyte contents in samples, are still needed.
During her master’s studies Pilleriin Peets managed to overcome all these difficulties and developed a useful methodology for dye analysis. At first Pilleriin collected different red dyes (madder, cochineal etc), dyed pure wool pieces and then extracted the dyes from dyed wool. During dyeing she adjusted different recipes and developed suitable dyeing procedure. After that she analysed all these dye standard solutions and fibre extracts, using HPLC-QQQ-MS, ESI- and MALDI-FT-ICR-MS methods and developed a suitable measurement methodology for every dye. Additionally, different mordants were analysed from known mordanted samples and unknown real samples using SEM-EDS. The developed methodology was applied to real samples from the Estonian National Museum and private collections (photo on the right: Pilleriin taking textile samples at the Estonian National Museum).
These developed methodologies are right now being extended to the analysis of other colours and dyes: Pillerin continues this investigation during her PhD studies and in the future there will be coming much more interesting research developments in this topic.
Pilleriin started with serious scientific research already in the bachelor’s studies: she developed an approach of classification of single- and two-component textile materials using ATR-FT-IR spectra and chemometric methods, principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis on the basis of altogether 89 textile samples belonging to 26 different types (11 one- and 15 two-component textiles). This work has been published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A 2017, 173, 175-181.
On Monday 12.12.2016 the 2nd year EACH students studying at Uppsala had the wonderful opportunity to meet Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, one of the three 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize laureates. The 2016 Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded for the contributions to design and synthesis of molecular machines.
On the photo Prof. Stoddart is in the middle of the second row. In the first row on the right is prof. Jonas Bergquist (the EACH coordinator at Uppsala) who organized the meeting.