Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No.1, January 2000

2000, Vol. 22
No. 1 (January)
..Environment and Greece
..Millennium Message
..News from IUPAC
..Other Societies
..Reports from Symposia

..New Books
..Awards and Prizes

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Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No. 1
January 2000

Reports from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposia


3rd International Symposium on Molecular Mobility and Order in Polymer Systems

7-10 June 1999,
St. Petersburg, Russia

This symposium continued the series of St. Petersburg meetings sponsored by IUPAC and organized by the Institute of Macromolecular Compounds of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Department of General and Technical Chemistry of the RAS. This meeting was also supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the St. Petersburg Research Center of the RAS. The symposium took place in the House of Scientists (the former Duke Vladimirís palace) located on the Neva River embankment in the picturesque center of the city close to the well-known Hermitage museum.

This symposium (as well as the first one in 1994) was oriented more toward dynamic and relaxation phenomena, whereas discussions at the second symposium (May 1996) were focused mainly on problems of structure and order. Of course, these shifts in the main thrust of the symposium were never too dramatic because mobility in polymer physics and in physical chemistry, just as in real life, is inseparable from the order (or disorder!) of the systems.

Principal topics of the symposium included the following:

  • conformation and mobility of macromolecules in solutions, melts, and networks in strong external fields
  • structure and properties of liquid-crystalline polymers
  • block copolymers
  • polymer layers, brushes, and micelles
  • polymer complexes and membranes
  • structure and dynamics of branched polymer systems, stars, dendrimers, and networks

All systems considered share a common general feature in that the order presented in them is "soft, and a pronounced molecular mobility exists in them.

The symposium featured 18 invited plenary lectures, 32 contributed lectures, and 180 poster presentations. This meeting was a truly international one, with lectures and posters presented by scientists from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United States, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Plenary and contributed lectures were presented by eminent, classical leaders in polymer science (such as Profs. S. F. Edwards, T. M. Birshtein, G. J. Fleer, K. L. Ngai, Yu. Ya. Gotlib, etc.) and also by well-known, active younger researchers. The dynamic poster session was accompanied by very lively discussions.

A short account of the materials presented at the symposium was published in the book of abstracts made available to participants. Some invited plenary and contributed lectures are published as Volume 146 of Macromolecular Symposia (1999) by Wiley-VCH in Weinheim, Germany. Although not all the speakers will be able to present their lectures in this volume (some of the material had been published earlier or submitted elsewhere), it will provide a good representation of the scope of the meeting and the problems discussed.

Because of the close interconnection between different topics, materials presented at the symposium could be divided largely into two main areas: "mobility-structure-order" and "structure-order-properties". Lectures devoted to polymer dynamics (mobility-structure-order) described various types of relaxation phenomena on different time and length scales (from nanoscale to macroscopic scale), which were investigated by a broad variety of experimental methods, including polarized luminescence, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dielectric relaxation and vibrational spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and quasi-electric neutron and X-ray scattering, among others. Theoretical work and computer simulations emphasized a detailed study of the collective motions in complex multichain systems and the effects of strong external or internal fields (as in crystalline phases). Theoretical approaches to unsolved problems of dynamics in melts, networks, and semi-ordered glassy systems were considered, taking into account the hierarchy of molecular motions and interactions.

Lectures on structure-order-properties were devoted to study of the interconnection between chemical constitution, morphology, and order for a broad class of macromolecular systems (see principal topics listed above), including biological polyelectrolyte systems (liposomal membranes), hydrogels, block copolymers, monolayers, mesophases, etc. The many experimental methods employed included electron and X-ray spectroscopy, nonlinear optic phenomena fluorescent probes, and various experimental methods for the investigation of polyelectrolytes. Principal interest in the structure-order-properties area is centered around systems with complex chemical constitution and morphology, such as polyelectrolytes, copolymers, mesophases, and glassy states with local ordering.

This symposium was well organized. The weather was beautiful, and participants were able to enjoy sightseeing in St. Petersburg and its near suburbs. The organizers of the symposium are very grateful to IUPAC for its sponsorship and help in publishing the lectures presented.

The organizing committee believes that this sysmposium has made a significant contribution to understanding the interconnection of mobility and order in complex and heterogeneous polymer systems, including polyelectrolytes and biopolymers. Continuation of this series of symposia should be very effective and fruitful for the subsequent development of polymer science and the fostering of cooperation among theorists, experimentalists, and scientists from different countries, schools, and communities of science.

Professor V. A. Kabanov
Department of Polymer Science
Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


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