Microsymposium, Advances in Polymerization Methods: Controlled Synthesis
of Functionalized Polymers
12-15 July 1999,
Prague, Czech Republic
This symposium was chaired by Dr. Petr Vlcek and organized
by the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Academy of Sciences
of the Czech Republic, one of the most prestigious research institutions
in Europe and the organizer of a series of IUPAC microsymposia and
discussion conferences within a program called "Prague Meetings
on Macromolecules". On average, two microsymposia and one discussion
conference per year are organized.
Prof. Otto Wichterle
Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry
The Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Prague, with its former
directors, the late Prof. Otto Wichterle and long-time IUPAC member
Prof. Pavel Kratochvil, is now headed by a new director from a younger
generation, Dr. Karel Ulbrich. The directors and their staff organize
these meetings to deal with problems related to the research carried
out at the Institute. Meetings are attended by distinguished scientists
from all over the world. Virtually all leading researchers in macromolecular
science have attended at least oneóor more often severalóof
these meetings. The research program of the Institute is sufficiently
diversified to encompass the major contemporary topics of these symposia.
Institute Director Ulbrich opened the symposium with
his presentation, and Prof. Stanislaw Penczek, Official IUPAC Representative,
gave a congratulatory speech on behalf of Prof. Joshua Jortner, President
of IUPAC, and Prof. Robert Gilbert, President of the Macromolecular
Division of IUPAC.
The Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry
The symposium attracted 127 active participants from
29 countries, including 25 from the Czech Republic. There were 9 main
lectures, 23 special lectures, and 61 posters. Main lectures were
presented on both radical and ionic polymerization, as follows:
K. Matyjaszewski (United States)."Atom transfer radical
polymerization as a route to polymers with controlled architecture,
compositions, and functionality".
M. Sawamoto and M. Kamigaito (Japan)."Controlled synthesis
of functionalized polymers by transition metal-mediated living radical
Y. Yagci (Turkey)."Photoinitiating systems and their
use in polymer synthesis".
R. P. Quirk (United States)."Anionic synthesis of
functionalized polymers using functionalized initiators and electrophilic
N. Hadjichristidis (Greece)."Synthesis and characterization
of model 4-sulfozwitterionic polymers of variable architecture".
A. Hirao (Japan)."Anionic living polymerizations of
functional monomers. Precise synthesis of various polystyrenes with
monosaccharide residues by means of anionic living polymerization
and living functionalization reaction".
S. Penczek and A. Duda (Poland)."Polymerization of
cyclic esters on covalent metal alkoxides and carboxylates. Importance
for polymer synthesis".
A. H. E. Müller (Germany)."New well-defined polymer
structures via living polymerizations".
P. J. Lutz (France)."Control of macromolecular architectures
via various polymerization processes: Advantage and drawback".
Although any choice of the other lectures would be strictly
personal, I should note that interest is focused on radical polymerization
allowing several kinetic and structural features of resulting polymers
to be controlled. Thus, mostly nitroxy-mediated polymerization and
atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) were discussed. These
forms of polymerization are not as demanding from the experimental
viewpoint as ionic processes, and it was shown that they may lead
to graft, block, multiblock, star, and functionalized macromolecules
from several classes of monomers. In these processes, termination
by macroradical coupling or disproportionation cannot be avoided,
but macromolecules of medium molar masses (e.g., up to l04 and sometimes
higher) can be prepared with well-controlled molar masses and end-groups.
By"controlled", it is understood that, e.g., almost 100% of the end-groups
have the desired structure. Control of molar masses means that within
a certain range of molar masses, one can obtain a desired and planned
The main lectures were given by well-seasoned scientists,
although the younger rising stars, such as Profs. Müller, Lutz,
and Matyjaszewski, were also present.
In special lectures, both ionic and radical techniques
were exposed. Polymers with special properties, further developments
in heteromultistar polymers, water-soluble polymers, and molecular
recognition in template polymerization were considered the most interesting
directions for research.
In addition to the scientific program, the organizers
provided social events and a program for accompanying persons that
included sightseeing in Prague and a guided tour of the Old Town with
a walk over famous gothic Charles Bridge, a visit to the Prague Castle
Hradcany, and dinner at the house where Mozart wrote Don Giovanni.
All of us have been convinced that we participated not
only in a first-class scientific meeting, but also spent a few happy
days in the most beautiful town of Central Europe.
Professor Stanislaw Penczek
Titular Member, Macromolecular Division (IV) Committee
Associate Member, Commission on Macromolecular Nomenclature (IV.1)