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Vol. 25 No. 5
September-October 2003

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Chromatography and Separations in Biosciences

by Vadim A. Davankov

The twenty-first of March 1903 is considered the birthday of chromatography. On that day, at a meeting of the Warsaw Society of Natural Scientists, Mikhail Semenovich Tswett presented a lecture entitled "On the Novel Category of Adsorption Phenomena and their Application to Biochemical Analysis." This was the first public disclosure of the dynamic adsorption analysis, which Tswett soon began to call chromatographic adsorption analysis. Chromatography, which changed science in a most revolutionary way, became the premier separation technique of the 20th century.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of chromatography, a jubilee international symposium called 100 Years of Chromatography was held 13-18 May 2003 in Moscow as part of the 3rd International Symposia on Separations in BioSciences. The symposium was held in the New City Hall of Moscow. Moscow Mayor Yuri Lushkov started the opening session that consisted of three main lectures. The first lecture, entitled "Mikhail Tswett: The Creator of Chromatography," was given by the chair of the symposium, V. A. Davankov, who briefly described the tragic fate of Mikhail Tswett in the turbulent periods of World War I, two Russian Revolutions, and the Civil War. Davanakov also gave an overview of Tswett's pioneering studies into adsorption phenomena and their evolution into a chromatographic separation technique. Two additional lectures, delivered by Professors Rudolf Kaiser and Heinz Engelhard, reviewed the difficult start of gas and liquid chromatography and the triumphant developments in the field in the last half century.

Corresponding to the jubilee character of the meeting, the scientific program of the next four working days was rather broad and incorporated reports from all types of liquid and gas chromatography, as well as electromigration techniques. It consisted of 30 lectures, 40 oral 20-minute-long presentations, and 300 poster presentations. Reports on chiral separation techniques and achievements in the separation of polymers, viruses, and bacterial cells, and updates from the rapidly expanding area of proteomics and metabolomics were especially well presented. Parallel to the scientific program, an exhibition of 30 international and local manufacturers of chromatographic materials and equipment was held, which included 6 vendor seminars. The total number of participants was about 600, with about 250 foreign guests from 43 different countries represented. Regretfully, Chinese scientists were not able to participate in the Moscow meeting because of restrictions placed on travel by their national authorities in order to prevent the spread of the SARS epidemic.

The social program of the meeting was also intense and included visits to the Kremlin, the famous Bolshoi Opera Theater with its premiere of Verdi's Nabukko, and to the unique Obraszov puppet theater, which presented a special English version of its "Extraordinary Concert." A post-symposium bus tour through a chain of historic Russian cities and monasteries, the so-called Golden Ring, was delightful. There was also a three-day visit to St. Petersburg, which was about to celebrate its 300th anniversary and was exceptionally clean and decorated.

The success of the meeting was only partially due to its impressive scientific program and unusually good weather in Moscow. Much more important was the informal and friendly atmosphere during the meeting; the feeling that the chromatographic world community, as a big international family, gathered to celebrate this outstanding event–the 100th anniversary of Mikhail Tswett's discovery.

Vadim A. Davankov <davank@ineos.ac.ru> of the Russian Academy of Sciences is also a Task Group Member of the Revision of Terminology of Separation Science project within the Analytical Chemistry Division.

http://alpha.ineos.ac.ru/sbs2003/


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