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Vol. 29 No. 4
July-August 2007

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

Coordination Chemistry

by Klaus R. Koch

The 37th International Coordination Chemistry Conference (37th ICCC) was held 13–18 August 2006 at the new, centrally located Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. This was indeed a historic occasion in the scientific development of coordination chemistry in South Africa, as it represents the first time in the more than 50-year history of the ICCC series that such an important event was hosted on African soil. This event was the culmination of an 18-year bidding process, which started at the 26th ICCC held in Porto, Portugal, in 1988, followed by the virtually unanimous selection of Cape Town as the venue for the 37th ICCC at the Executive Planning Committee in Florence in 1998.

On behalf of the local ICCC organizing committee, I am pleased to report that the 37th ICCC held in Cape Town, despite the somewhat unpredictable Cape winter weather, was by all accounts a great success, as confirmed by the many positive messages from delegates and participants we received.

A.P. De Silva during his opening ceremony lecture.

The 37th ICCC attracted 630 registered delegates from 57 countries across the globe, resulting in an exciting and stimulating scientific program consisting of seven plenary lectures presented by world-renowned coordination chemists A.P. de Silva (Northern Ireland, UK), P. Sadler (UK), H. M. Marques (South Africa), T. Marks (USA), R. van Eldik (Germany), D. Kurth (Germany), and R. Grubbs (USA, and 2005 Nobel Laureate).

The program consisted additionally of 47 keynote speakers and 215 oral contributions, together with 321 poster sessions reporting on the following new and exciting coordination chemistry themes: Metals in Biology and Medicine, Metals in Materials, Nanostructures and Devices, Metals in Catalysis and Industry, Metals in Self-Assembly and Supramolecular Structures, Metal Complexes in Solution, Structure Mechanism and Ligand Design, and Precious Metal Complexes and Photochemistry. Plenary and keynote lectures are being published as a special issue of Coordination Chemistry Reviews, edited by Barry Lever with Alan Hutton as guest editor (doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2007.04.019).

Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille (right), Minister of Science and Technology M. Mangena (center), and Klaus Koch, chairman of the organizing committee, at the opening event.

Of the 321 poster presentations, 10 produced by young participants were selected to receive poster prizes: K.A. de Villiers (South Africa), N. Mitic (Australia), G.J. Halder (Australia), N. O’ Reilly (Belfast, Northern Ireland), T. Quintus (Scotland), A. Pichon (Belfast, Northern Ireland), J. Zampese (New Zealand), T. Schweitzer (Germany), G. Venter (South Africa) and M. Burger (South Africa). Once again, congratulations to these outstanding contributions, they confirm that coordination chemistry is not only alive and well, but thriving.

In an effort to broaden public understanding, and the development, of fundamental science and technology so vital to progress on the African continent, the Organizing Committee tried something new in 2006. It invited 150 pupils and their science teachers from 30 local high-schools to the formal Opening Ceremony, which was followed by a public lecture by an eminent speaker. The students were first treated to an exciting chemistry demonstration by Peter Sadler and Rudi van Eldik, which was enthusiastically received, followed by an outstanding lecture by A.P. de Silva, who kept delegates, VIPs, pupils, teachers, and guests alike spellbound with an address on “Messages from Molecules.” This turned out to be an outstanding success, judging by the feedback from local science teachers who participated. Immediately after the opening ceremony, the Royal Society of South Africa’s annual science essay prizes were also awarded to the student winners.

The formal opening ceremony featured addresses by Helen Zille, mayor of Cape Town, and M. Mangena, minister of science and technology, which underlined the importance the South African government attaches to the development of science and technology.

The success of the 37th ICCC was the result of almost four years of careful planning and much hard work by a team of outstandingly dedicated individuals in the organizing committee. In my capacity as conference convener and chairman of the organizing committee, I want to acknowledge the outstanding team that made the 37th ICCC a reality.

Arranging an event such as the ICCC would not be possible without financial sponsorship, and for the 37th ICCC this was no exception. In view of the high cost of long-distance international travel to South Africa, we were disappointed that the number of international delegates was not as high as we had hoped. Nevertheless with a final number of 630 registered delegates (of which 191 were students), together with the generous sponsorship we managed to obtain, financially the 37th ICCC just broke even. The largest portion of sponsorship funds were used to support 191 student registration fees, which were set at 48 percent of the early-bird registration fee.

Sponsorships and loans from the following organizations were essential to the conference’s success: the Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation, University of Stellenbosch, University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology University of Cape Town, University of the Orange Free State, Anglo American Platinum Corporation Limited, Anglo American Research, AngloGold Ashanti, Anglo American Chairman’s Fund Sasol, Sigma-Aldrich, Bruker Biospin, Elsevier, Royal Society of South Africa, South African Chemical Institute and IUPAC.

The 38th International Conference on Coordination Chemistry will be held in Jerusalem, Israel, 20–25 July 2008; see website for update <www.kenes.com/iccc38>.

Klaus R Koch <KRK@sun.ac.za> was the 37th ICCC conference convener and chairman of organizing committee. He is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

IUPAC provided financial support to this event through its program for conferences held in scientifically emerging regions. Read more at <www.iupac.org/symposia/support.html>


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