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Vol. 25 No. 6
November-December 2003

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

Organo-Metallic Chemistry

by Mark Lautens

OMCOS-12 (Organo-Metallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis) was held in Toronto, Canada, from 6–10 July 2003. The inaugural conference in this series was held some 25 years ago in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. In the intervening years, OMCOS has grown to become a very successful and well-established event that brings together chemists from academia and industry to share results in the areas of catalysis, new organometallic reagents and reactions, and new materials chemistry.

OMCOS-12 was organized in collaboration with Rick Friesen (Merck Frosst in Montreal), with much-appreciated assistance from our secretariat Sue McClelland and our co-organizers William Tam, Eric Fillion, Andrei Yudin, Robert Batey, and Andre Charette. Generous financial support from more than 20 companies and the University of Toronto (chemistry department, dean, and provost) were absolutely necessary given the complex conditions under which the conference was held. Global concerns over SARS and Toronto’s central role in that unfolding drama made everyone from sponsors to speakers, attendees, and organizers uncertain of the viability of the conference. Two outbreaks of SARS at key moments (abstract registration and in the weeks prior to the final registration) led the organizing committee to constantly re-evaluate the feasibility of holding the event. Of course, substantial reductions in the number of participants also put the financial health of the conference at great risk. We were very fortunate and pleased that the speakers agreed to give their lectures under the circumstances, and the scientific content of the conference was never compromised. The conference was held as planned.

The meeting was held in the Isabella Bader Theatre on the campus of the University of Toronto. This newly constructed building is an ideal venue for a medium-sized conference and the proximity of the speakers to the audience provided a good atmosphere for scientific exchange and enthusiastic participation by the conferees. A total of 300 chemists from 20 countries attended the plenary, invited, and short lectures, and presented approximately 100 posters. OMCOS-12 had a high proportion of students attending the meeting, giving short talks and/or posters. Seven plenary lectures (Echavarren, Hartwig, Hayashi, Helmchen, Kocienski, Marek, Mikami) and 15 invited lectures were presented on the latest advances in asymmetric catalysis, new metal-promoted reactions, new catalysts, mechanistic studies, and the utility organometallic reagents in synthesis. The highlight of the conference was the OMCOS Prize Lecture given by Professor Kyoko Nozaki of Tokyo University. We are grateful to the Yen Chuang Foundation and Springer Verlag for the support necessary for the OMCOS Prize.

OMCOS-13 will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17–21 July 2005. Peter Kündig is the chair of the Organizing Committee.

Mark Lautens <mlautens@alchemy.chem.utoronto.ca> is the AstraZeneca Professor of Organic Synthesis in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, and was the chairman of OMCOS-12.
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