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Vol. 26 No. 2
March-April 2004

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

Molecular Characterization of Polymers: From Conventional Bulk Methods to Separation Procedures

by Dusan Berek

The 17th Bratislava International Conference on Macromolecules, “Molecular Characterization of Polymers,” was held 24–28 August 2003. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Macromolecular Division of IUPAC, the Federation of European Chemical Societies, the European Polymer Federation, the Slovak Chemical Society, and the Slovak Academy of Sciences’ Polymer Institute.

The meeting attracted 71 participants from 27 countries. Overall, there were 38 oral presentations, complemented by over 40 posters, two open discussion sessions, and an IUPAC meeting on polymer round robin tests. Included were lectures of three generations of polymer scientists—from Ph.D. students who delivered their first talks at an international forum to Prof. H. Benoit (France), the “father” of the famous universal calibration for size exclusion chromatography.

Chromatographic methods and synthetic polymers dominated the conference program. Still, neutron scattering (J. Higgins, UK), mass spectrometric methods (L. Prokai, USA), temperature rising elution fractionation (TREF) and crystallization analysis fractionation (CRYSTAF) (S. de Goede, South Africa), ultracentrifugation (D. Hunkeler, Switzerland) and the monitoring of mechanical properties (M. Matsuo and S. Osaki, Japan) were discussed as well. Theoretical approaches to the solution of chromatographic problems were presented by G. J. Fleer (Netherlands), A. Skvortsov (Russia), T. Bleha and P. Cifra (Slovakia), M. Netopilik (Czech Republic), F. Dondi (Italy), and G. R. Meira (Argentina). Progress in the characterization of complex polymer systems, which exhibit more than one distribution in their molecular characteristics, was reviewed by P. Kratochvil (Czech Republic), P. Schoenmakers and A. van den Horst (Netherlands), A. Lederer (Germany), R. Tsiang (Taiwan), M. Strlic, and M. Zigon and E. Zagar (Slovenia). Innovative methods for separation and characterization of macromolecular substances were introduced by T. Chang (Korea), P. Jandera and S. Podzimek (Czech Republic), and R. Mendichi (Italy). Chromatographic instrumentation was discussed by D. Havlickova (Czech Republic), P. Kilz (Germany), and D. Heinzmann (UK). Studies of processes occurring part in the chromatographic columns were presented by C. Wandrey (Switzerland), S. Saunders and L. Creaser (UK), D. Berek (Slovakia), and T. Macko (Germany).

The scientific program was accompanied by a small exhibition of chromatographic equipment, materials, software and literature; representatives of three companies delivered the “Company Lectures.”

Organized by Dusan Berek, the five-day event included a concert, as well as excursions to Devin castle at the confluence of the Danube and Moravia rivers, the Danube dam at Cunovo where participants could watch a water slalom competition, and to the Old Town of Bratislava.

For several young participants, especially for those from Central and East European countries, the conference provided their initial contact with the international scientific community. The 18th international conference in this series is planned for 2006.

Dusan Berek <upoldber@savba.sk> leads the Liquid Chromatography Department of the Polymer Institute and also serves as the president of the Slovak Chemical Society. He is an associate member of the IUPAC Macromolecular Division.


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