Dr. Allen J. Britten (2015)

Dr. Allen J. Britten
Allen J. Britten, PhD


Science Atlantic Outstanding Contributing Member, 2015
Membre exceptionnel 2015 de Science Atlantique


Dr. Allen J. Britten (PhD, University of Waterloo) has been inducted into the Science Atlantic Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Contributing Member for 2015.

After obtaining his PhD and spending a few years in industry, Dr. Britten joined the department of physical and applied sciences at Cape Breton University (then University College of Cape Breton) in 1991. As a dedicated educator, Dr. Britten developed a unique teaching method known as “court session teaching” for his upper level analytical chemistry class. This method proved both entertaining and educational for science and non-science students alike, who crowded his classroom each session to listen to the “science debate.”

 Dr. Britten held the position of Dean of Science and Technology from 2004 to 2011, representing Cape Breton University on APICS Council (now Science Atlantic) during that time.  He also served on the APICS Executive Committee from 2005 to 2009. When asked for some of the highlights of his involvement with the organization, he replied, “APICS turned into Science Atlantic at the meeting we hosted at CBU!”

Another lasting contribution to Science Atlantic came from his involvement with a group that developed a new fee structure to more fairly distribute the organization’s costs across institutions of different sizes. In the face of fiscal challenges, he says the organization survived “because of the cooperation of the good people that thought that this is worthwhile and really important.” He continued, “the really nice thing about APICS is the cooperation, not competition. The universities in Atlantic Canada work really well together.”

L-R David McCorquodale (CBU), Allen Britten, Steve Smith (SMU), Adango Miadonye (CBU); November 20, 2015 Cape Breton University

Of the Science Atlantic student conferences, Dr, Britten (popularly known by all generations of high school and university science students as “Dr. B”) is a strong supporter:

I think that any honours student in any science discipline should almost be required to attend a Science Atlantic conference as part of their degree. I’ve been sending kids for 25 years. You can see when they come back they’re a different person. They’re energized! Someone from another campus saw their work and they liked it. There were questions and discussions after [their presentation], and [sometimes] they meet the person who will become their graduate supervisor.

Under his leadership as chair and dean, a four-year program in chemical sciences was developed at CBU. The program later became a government-approved, Canadian Society of Chemistry-accredited, four-year chemistry degree program. Dr. Britten also played a major role in the development of the nursing degree program for the university.

In addition to being an outstanding teacher and science advocate, Dr. Britten is also a well-recognized researcher. He has attracted numerous federal, provincial, university, and industrial research grants, and is a leading figure in the field of analytical chemistry. He has been on the editorial board for a number of journals, a guest speaker at conferences and symposia around the world, and is a member of several professional associations.

We are pleased to recognize Dr. Allen J. Britten for his outstanding contributions to Science Atlantic, for   teaching and outreach to high school and university students, and his many other contributions to the science community.