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Report from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposium


15th International Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry (ICPOC-15),
8-13 July 2000, Göteborg, Sweden

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This conference was held at the University of Göteborg in Sweden, with all sessions at "Artisen", the performing arts center of the University. These facilities were ideal, with excellent acoustics, and the venue was in the heart of the city close to hotels and residences. Almost 300 participants were in attendance, and the welcome on behalf of IUPAC was given by T. Tidwell, Vice President of IUPAC’s Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Division (III). The importance of physical organic chemistry to IUPAC and to chemistry as a whole was stressed. For example, in the past decade, the Nobel Prizes in 1999, to Ahmed Zewail for femtosecond studies of reaction mechanisms; in 1998, to Walter Kohn and John Pople for computational chemistry; and in 1994, to George Olah for carbocation chemistry, are all in the mainstream of physical organic chemistry.

The topics noted above were featured in many of the lectures at ICPOC-15, most notably by Prof. Zewail himself, who, as the leadoff speaker, covered many exciting new applications of femtochemistry and femtobiology. Other plenary lectures dealt with molecular topology (F. Vögtle, Bonn), spin chemistry (A. L. Buchachenko, Moscow), atom transfer reactions (P. Beak, Urbana), quantum chemistry (B. O. Roos, Lund), molecular recognition (J. K. M. Saunders, Cambridge), ionic liquids (K. R. Seddon, Belfast), photochemistry in supramolecular systems (C.-H. Tung, Beijing), quinone methides (A. J. Kresge, Toronto), synthetic peptide ligases (R. Ghadiri, San Diego), carbocations (J. Sommer, Strasbourg), metal activation of alkanes (H. Schwarz, Berlin), organosilicon chemistry (M. Kira, Sendai), and dendrimer chemistry (D. A. Tomalia, Ann Arbor). [Manuscripts from ICPOC-15 appear in the December 2000 issue of PAC, Vol. 72, No. 12.] There were also 35 invited lectures, 75 oral presentations, 119 posters, and a historical lecture on the development of free radical chemistry from 1900 to 1934, which noted the important contribution of the Swedish chemist H. L. J. Bäckström, who was a professor in Göteborg.

A feature of the conference was after-lunch concerts by local musical groups, which were well attended. Another innovation was an open meeting of IUPAC’s Commission on Physical Organic Chemistry (III.2), which is responsible for the organization of these conferences. It is expected that the Commission will evolve into a Subcommittee with a new title, perhaps Structural and Mechanistic Organic Chemistry, to represent the focus of the field better, and to recognize important roles for materials and bioorganic chemistry. It was announced by C. Perrin, Chairman of Commission III.2, that the 2002 conference (ICPOC-16) would be held in San Diego.

The participants and speakers were most grateful to Prof. Per Ahlberg of the University of Göteborg and to his efficient and helpful organizing committee for an exciting and well-run conference.

Prof. Thomas T. Tidwell
Vice President, IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular
Chemistry Division III
Department of Chemistry
University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada

> Published in Chem. Int. 23(1), 2001

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