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Dr Winklett Gallimore: From mixing liquids at home to the research lab

Jamaican beach goers have, for the past decade, been left frustrated and at times downright disgusted by the abundance of thick, unsightly, brown, smelly Sargassum that wash up on the nation’s beaches each year.

The algae blooms or seaweed as it is popularly called has potential dire consequences as it poses a significant threat to both the local tourism and fisheries industries. Across the Caribbean region it is costing significant sums to clean-up the nuisance almost on an annual basis since the algae first showed up in large quantities in 2011. It cost an estimated US$210 million to clean-up across the region in 2018, according to the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.

Amidst the frustrations there is one scientist whose research on the seaweed is aimed at both saving lives and creating a cleaner, more pleasant environment.

Meet Dr Winklet Gallimore, senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of the West Indies, Mona. She moved from St Ann where she grew up to attend sixth form at Immaculate Conception High School at the insistence of a teacher she described as "charismatic".

She became interested in things scientific from she was a child and would be thrilled by the way liquids react when they are mixed. Gallimore would run ‘experiments’ using things commonly found in the home, like vinegar. She liked to watch the bubbles that formed after mixing liquids.

Photo caption: Science and Technology Minister Daryl Vaz presents a plaque to S&T XXtrordineers honouree Dr Winklett Gallimore.

Published on 22 Aug, 2022

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