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Vol. 28 No. 1
January-February 2006

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

Innovation in Chemistry

by Xibai Qiu

With nearly 1000 participants from 64 countries, the 40th IUPAC Congress, held 14–19 August 2005 in Beijing, helped to build a bridge between Chinese chemists and the world. With 412 of the participants from China and 556 from other countries, the Congress was an excellent forum for encouraging cooperation and excellence in the chemical sciences and in the practice of chemistry.

The high-scientific value of the Congress was evident in the plenary lectures, which were delivered by eight distinguished chemists, including three Nobel Laureates and one Einstein Award Winner. A total of 1145 papers and 622 posters were presented in eight sessions of the Congress.

From left: Chunli Bai, president of the Chinese Chemical Society, IUPAC Poster Prize winners Zhou Jiehua (China), Rattikan Chantiwas (Thailand), and Kelly Anderson (New Zealand), and IUPAC President Leiv Sydnes.

The Congress was held in parallel with the 43rd IUPAC General Assembly at the same venue, the Beijing International Convention Center. The Congress was sponsored by IUPAC, China Association for Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, Ministry of Education of China, and the SINOPEC Corporation. It was co-organized by the Chinese Chemical Society (CCS) and the Institute of Chemistry of CAS. The president of the Congress was Chunli Bai, president of CCS.

During the Opening Ceremony, IUPAC President Leiv K. Sydnes presented the 2004 and 2005 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemist Awards. On 19 August 2005, Professor Sydnes presented the IUPAC Poster Prize Awards to Zhou Jiehua from Wuhan University, China, Rattikan Chantiwas from Chiang Mai University, Thailand, and Kelly Anderson from Canterbury University, New Zealand.
A session of the Congress on environmental and green chemistry, featured presentations on the distribution and transportation of organic and heavy metals, development of new catalysts, deep oxidation of pollutants for pollution control, investigation and characterization of high-efficiency adsorbents, and toxicities analysis.

Dynamic Combinatorial Library: recognize, select, stabilize and amplify—A Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry Approach to Synthesizing and Screening Specific Ligands for RNA Ribozyme was investigated by Jiehua Zhou of Wuhan University.

A number of presentations from the session on chemistry in the life sciences stimulated heated discussions and demonstrated the widespread enthusiasm for biological chemistry research. Many of these presentations involved recent research on nucleic acid, including “DNA Repair at Atomic Resolution” by T. Carell (Germany), “It’s a Small RNA World that Makes a Big Revolution” by K. Taira (Japan), “Low Molecular Weight Protamines for Long-Acting Insulin Formulation” by Y.F. Li (Canada), and “DNA-RNA World” by P. Guga (Poland). Other presentations focused on natural compounds, including “Accessing Plant-Associated Microbial Diversity for Discovery of Small Molecule Bioactive Agents” by A.A.L. Gunatilake (USA) and “Marine Natural Products Sponge Mimics and the Role of Allelochemicals in the Field” by M. Garson (Australia).

Presentations in the session on Materials Chemistry, Supermolecular Chemistry, and Nanochemistry made it clear that the intersection of these fields will be the key to future developments in science and technology. The session on Information Technology in Chemistry and Computational Chemistry featured leading-edge research on the calculation and pharmaceuticals design of bio-macromolecular systems, multi-scale analog for complex systems, progress in the quantum chemistry calculation method, chemical reactions with molecular ab initio calculation, and chemical informatics.

Presentation of the 2004 and 2005 winners of the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists at the Congress opening ceremony on 14 August 2005; L to R: Hiromitsu Maeda, Tokyo University of Japan; Xun Wang, Tsinghua University of China; Jiaxing Huang, University of California Berkeley; Zev Gartner, Harvard University; Zhipan Liu, Queen's University of Belfast, UK; Parag Acharya, Uppsala University of Sweden; Yu Huang, Harvard University; and S.G. Srivatsan, India Science and Technology University of Kanpur, India.

The session on Innovation in Physical Chemistry and Biophysical Chemistry—Research Methods and Techniques showcased the most up-to-date research in the areas of spectroscopy, catalyses, chemical dynamics, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, colloid and interfacial chemistry, and biophysical chemistry. Among the highlights were presentations on the physico-chemical properties of nano-materials and the development of new experimental methods, including imaging technology, probe technology, single-molecule reaction technology, and bio-single molecule detected technology. All of these presentations indicated the interdisciplinary nature of current research in physical chemistry.

Papers in the session on innovations in analytical chemistry related to the separation techniques of protein in human proteomics, protein zymohydrolysis, modification of nano-materials at the surface of sensor electrodes, biological nano-label techniques, new chromatographic stationary phases, monolithic columns, molecular imprinting techniques, enantiomeric separation, and analysis of chiral bio-active material and chiral pharmaceuticals. The interdisciplinary nature of analytical chemistry and life sciences was a frequent theme of this Congress. A number of lectures left a deep impression on attendees, including “Multidimensional Liquid Phase Based Separation Technique and Its Application in Proteome Study” by CCS academician Prof. Yukui Zhang, “Developments in Multi-dimensional Chromatography” by Chinese academician Prof. Erkang Wang, and “Novel Instrumentation for Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy” by Korean Prof. Su-Moon Park.

Synthesis of the redox-active β-hexapeptide reported by Kelly Anderson (University of Canterbury) in her study on the electrochemical and structural properties of simple
b-oligomers on gold surface.

The session on Innovation in Chemical Education and Teaching Methods attracted a large audience in addition to those who had registered in advance. The vivid and unique presentations brought participants up to date on the latest innovations in chemistry education. The first invited speaker, Viktor Obendrauf, gave a presentation on “Microscale Experiments Dealing with the History of Making Fire from Fire Drills to Jet Flame Lighters,” which explained how to use microscale experiments to explain the chemical principles behind fire. Peter Atkins’ lecture on “Communicating Chemistry: The Challenge” garnered big applause for its magical presentations and demonstrations.

The session on Innovation in the Chemical and Petrochemical Industries and “Responsible Care” for Society featured experts from world famous institutions such as ABB Lummus Global Inc. of the USA, UOP LLC., and the SINOPEC Corporation. Their practical and highly applicable lectures dealt with the technology of alkene, technical progress of aromatic hydrocarbons, synthesis technology of caprolactam, branching technique development of toluene, and progress involving metallocene polyolefins.
Through the Young Chemists Program, CCS and IUPAC cosponsored 88 young chemists from 34 countries to attend the Congress. The program aims to promote young chemists’ academic development and facilitate information exchange. In addition to helping the careers of these young chemists, the program provides a spark to the Congress through the valuable contributions of these chemists.

Professor Xibai Qiu <qiuxb@infoc3.icas.ac.cn> was secretary of the 40th IUPAC Congress Program Committee; he is vice-chairman of the Committee on International Activities of the Chinese Chemical Society.


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