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Vol. 27 No. 2
March-April 2005

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

Organic Synthesis

by Tamejiro Hiyama

Organic synthesis has long played a central role in the chemical sciences. Thus, it is stands to reason that the series of International Conferences on Organic Synthesis, initiated and sponsored by IUPAC, continues to thrive. The 15th Conference (ICOS-15) was held 1–6 August 2004 in Nagoya, Japan.

Given the widely held view that chemists in Japan are leaders in organic synthesis, the decision was made to hold ICOS-15 in Nagoya. In light of its distinct leadership in organic synthesis, it is surprising that ICOS had not been held in Japan since 1982 (ICOS-4). Professor Minoru Isobe (Nagoya University) and Professor Hisashi Yamamoto (now at the University of Chicago) enthusiastically took up the baton as the conference co-chairs. Nagoya was chosen as the venue because it is a research center that is close to Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto.

IUPAC Poster Prize Winners Toshifumi Dohi (top), Eun Joo Kang,, and Natalie A. Miller.

The organizers provided a superb combination of chemistry, efficiency, and hospitality for near 1000 participants. A major change for ICOS-15, compared with ICOS-4, was the marked increase in participants from East Asia, which reflects the rapid growth in this field over the last two decades in Taiwan, China, Korea, and Singapore. These countries, combined with Japan and East Asia, now comprise the third center of chemical research activity in the world after North America and Europe.

Another feature of ICOS-15 was that all plenary, invited, and award lectures were presented in the main hall, enabling all of the participants to enjoy the full range of cutting edge developments in chemistry. In addition, all of the poster presenters (totaling 466) were allowed to orally summarize their presentations before the session to help attendants decide which of the posters they should visit. Of the posters, three excellent presentations by Toshifumi Dohi (Osaka University), Eun Joo Kang (Seoul National University), and Natalie A. Miller (Australian National University) were awarded the IUPAC Poster Prize.

The scientific program embraced all aspects of modern synthetic organic chemistry. There were 10 plenary lectures, the Thieme/IUPAC award lecture, 2 Nagoya medal lectures, and 20 invited lectures. Following is a list of the plenary speakers and their lecture subjects:

  • E.M. Carreira (ETH) on asymmetric catalysis
  • J.L. Wood (Yale) on synthesis of polycyclic target molecules
  • P.B. Dervan (Caltech) on regulation of gene expression
  • A. Fürstner (Max-Planck) on catalysis-based total synthesis
  • Ryoji Noyori (RIKEN) on molecular catalysis
  • L. E. Overman (UCI) on alkaloid total synthesis
  • C.-C. Liao (Tsing Hua) on masked o-benzoquinone strategy
  • S.V. Ley (Cambridge) on methods for azadirachtin total synthesis
  • Y. Langlois (Paris Sud) on cytotoxic natural products synthesis
  • E.N. Jacobsen (Harvard) on asymmetric metal catalysis

The Thieme/IUPAC prize was awarded to John Hartwig (Yale) who lectured on transition metal-catalyzed substitution reactions. The Nagoya Silver Medal was given to Keiji Maruoka (Kyoto) who gave a talk on practical asymmetric synthesis with chiral phase transfer catalysts. The Nagoya Gold Medal was presented to J.F. Stoddard (UCLA), who discussed the nature of the mechanical bond.

The synthesis of chiral [3]- and [4]dendralenes has been achieved. Diene-transmissive Diels-Alder reactions of these compounds allow the rapid assembly of enantiomerically pure polycyclic compounds. (IUPAC poster prize winner Natalie A. Miller).
A novel non-polymer-supported hypervalent iodine(III) reagent 1 has been developed that has high recyclability as well as high reactivity, stability. This reagent has several advantages overcoming several drawbacks of conventional polymer-supported hypervalent iodine(III) reagents. (IUPAC poster prize winner Toshifumi Dohi).

Topics of ICOS-15 focused on automated synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, green chemistry, Lewis acid catalysis, new catalysis, new material, oxidation catalysis, polymer synthesis, process chemistry, reduction catalysis, self-assembled molecule, synthesis of natural products, and medicinal drugs and agrochemicals. A selection of plenary and invited lectures will be published in Pure and Applied Chemistry, for which Tamejiro Hiyama is acting as conference editor.

The next conference, ICOS-16, will be held in Merida, Yucatan, México, from 11–15 June 2006. Dr. Eusebio Juaristi, Instituto Politecnico Nacional, México, is the chairman of the organizing committee.

Tamejiro Hiyama <thiyama@NPC05.kuic.kyoto-u.ac.jp> is a professor of organic materials in the Department of Material Chemistry at Kyoto University Katsura, Japan. Since 2004, he has been the editor in chief of Chemistry Letters.


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