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Vol. 30 No. 5
September-October 2008

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

Photochemistry

by Silvia E. Braslavsky

The XXII IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry was held 28 July through 1 August 2008 in Göteborg, Sweden. The conference was a real success, with 430 participants from 51 countries.

In spite of the gorgeous weather, all of the sessions at the symposium were well attended. Plenary lectures were given by eight outstanding speakers: Vincenzo Balzani (University of Bologna, Italy), Harry Gray (California Institute of Technology, United States), Leif Hammarström (Uppsala University, Sweden), Stefan Hell (Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Germany), Masahiro Irie (Rikkyo University, Japan), Josef Michl (University of Colorado, United States), Atsuhiro Osuka (Kyoto University, Japan), and Eric Vauthey (University of Geneva, Switzerland). The majority of plenary lectures and many of the invited and selected oral lectures either directly or indirectly addressed the problem of solar energy conversion in view of the climate change and energy crisis confronting the world. In addition, there were 12 invited lectures and 96 selected oral presentations organized by scientific areas, as well as 414 posters that hung throughout the symposium. The discussions after the lectures and during the poster sessions were lively.

A wide range of topics were covered during the week, including the spectroscopy of molecular entities and nanostructures, the photochemistry of drugs, photochemistry in microheterogeneous media, fluorescence markers and sensors of various chemicals, supramolecular units mimicking antennas and reaction centers of photosynthesis, photopolymerizations and photochemistry in solid state, theoretical considerations and calculations of excited states, and spectroscopic studies with biological photosensors. Scientific instruments were also on display at a variety of often-visited booths.

The plenary lecture offered by Stephan Hell was sponsored by the photochemistry and photobiology societies that own the journal Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, which is produced by the Royal Chemical Society. Michael Wasielewski received the prestigious Porter Medal, which was awarded by three photochemistry societies: the Inter-American Photochemical Society, the European Photochemical Association (EPA), and the Asian Photochemical Association. He also gave a plenary lecture on this occasion. EPA Prizes were also given to young photochemists: Maria Abrahamson from Sweden and Alex Fürstenberg from Switzerland.

During the lunch breaks, several committee meetings took place, including that of the presidents of the photochemical societies, IUPAC’s Subcommittee on Photochemistry, and the IUPAC project task group on Fluorescence Standards (IUPAC project 2004-021-1-300). In addition, the EPA had its general assembly on Thursday afternoon.

All in all, the conference was well organized and successful, both scientifically and socially. Once more the photochemistry community showed its strength and vitality. Many young fellows enjoyed the scientific discussions and were able to share the results of their research. What’s more, the boat trip to the Archipielago was wonderful . . . and the medieval dinner in a dungeon gave us a taste of Sweden’s past.

During the conference it was announced that the next IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry will be held in Ferrara, Italy, in July 2010. The conference’s scientific chair is Franco Scandola. It was also suggested that the 2012 Symposium be held in Coimbra, Portugal, and that the scientific chair be Hugh Burrows from Portugal.

Silvia E. Braslavsky <braslavskys@mpi-muelheim.mpg.de> is chair of the Photochemistry Subcommittee of IUPAC’s Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Division (Division III) and the Advisory Committee of the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division (Division I). She works at the Max-Planck-Institut für Bioanorganische Chemie, in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.


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