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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

Polymer Properties

by R. D. Sanderson

The 6th Annual UNESCO School & IUPAC Conference on Polymer Properties was held in Mpumalanga, South Africa, 14-17 April 2003. The organizing committee was comprised of Prof. R. D. Sanderson (UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials, Polymer Science Division, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa), Prof. G. Michler (Martin Luther University, Halle- Wittenberg, Germany), Dr. A. J. van Reenen (US, SA), Dr. P. E. Mallon (US, SA) and Aneli Fourie (UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials, Polymer Science Division, US, SA).

A satisfactory number of delegates (102) participated, representing 23 countries other than South Africa. Delegates from the African continent were from Libya, Gabon, Eritrea, and Uganda. Delegates from non-western nations were from Russia, China, and Iran. Other western countries represented were Germany, The Netherlands, USA, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Budapest, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, Japan, Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, Australia, Slovak Republic, and Korea. There were 26 students who participated in the conference.

Fifty-seven presentations were made (9 plenary speakers and 48 invited speakers) by experts in their field. All others were accommodated in a lively poster session especially popular for student presentations.

Highlights of the conference included the following lectures: Multifunctional Materials Through Nanostructuring, by G. Wegner (Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Germany); Extending the Frontiers of Manipulating Soft Matter Towards Single Molecules, by G. J. Vancso (University of Twente, The Netherlands); Polymer Morphology: A Guide to Macromolecular Self-Organization, by D.C. Bassett (University of Reading, United Kingdom); Crazing and Fracture in Polymers: Micro-Mechanics and Effect of Molecular Variables, by H. H. Kausch (Swiss Federation Institute of Technology, Switzerland); and Polymer Nanofibres Produced by Electrospinning, by D. Reneker (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA).

Twenty-three posters were selected for the twohour poster session, the standard of which was very good. In conclusion, refreshments donated by the local KWV (Pty) Ltd. and Distell (Pty) Ltd. companies were enjoyed by all.

The overseas plenary and invited speakers stressed the importance to the African economy of postgraduate training in polymer science and chemistry. A virtual teaching encyclopaedia, CD-ROM 2003 (PolymerED), is being created that will consist of all abstracts as well as conference talks. This encyclopaedia, which will provide an excellent tool for teaching and expanding course notes, will be made available to all speakers who attended the conference. It will be available for USD $50 per copy through the UNESCO Associated Centre's Web site. It will be placed in an abridged form on the Web site after approval by each of the contributors.

The 7th Annual UNESCO Introductory Course (3-4 April 2004) and UNESCO/IUPAC Conference (5-8 April 2004) will take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

R. D. Sanderson <rds@sun.ac.za> is the National Representative from South Africa on the IUPAC Macromolecular Division Committee and a Task Group Member on the project Establishment of Quantitative Reliability of Electron Spin Resonance Techniques for Polymerization Kinetics.

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