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Report from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposium


4th Annual UNESCO School and IUPAC Conference on Macromolecules and Materials Science,
7-11 April 2001, Stellenbosch, South Africa

> Back to Calendar

This fourth in a series of annual events attracted 141 delegates, of whom 46 were from countries other than South Africa, including four African countries. Fifty-three students actively participated. The UNESCO School was opened by Dr. Benjamin Ntim, Science and Technology Advisor of UNESCO, Pretoria. He discussed the role of UNESCO, both at present and in the future, as a proactive body in promoting science and technology awareness and in helping to provide education for the underprivileged– especially in Africa–in all fields of chemistry. Twenty-two experts presented plenary lectures on a wide range of subjects, recording the state-of-the art in various fields, often encompassing the last few years of research. Bringing together several experts into similar fields led to some lively discussions and a sharing of knowledge, particularly about the availability of analytical subroutines for certain analytical equipment that the manufacturer often neglects to explain to the customer. One such example is the measurement of polymer crystallinity by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).

The IUPAC Conference was opened by Prof. Robert Gilbert, President of IUPAC 's Macromolecular Division, Key Centre for Colloids, School of Chemistry F11, University of Sydney, Australia. He explained the proactive role of IUPAC in the chemical community, industry, and government institutions. Prof. Gilbert 's remarks were followed by presentations of 9 plenary speakers, 19 invited speakers, and 20 others. Thirty high-quality posters were presented in a very well attended (especially by students) 2hour poster session.

Some conference topics especially worthy of mention include starch hydrocolloids; self cross-linking of films from functionalized latexes; recent advances in macromolecular engineering using ROMP and self-assembling procedures; mechanisms of formation of iso-and syndiotactic poly(1,3 diene)s; atomtransfer radical polymerization of styrene and butyl acrylate; chain transfer to polymer in emulsion co-polymerization; free volume and transport properties of heterogeneous poly(ethylene cooctene)s; early recognition of oxidative degradation in polymers by chem-iluminescence; analytical techniques for polymers with complex architecture; characterization of macromolecules, micro-gels, and nano-particles by analytical ultra-centrifugation; characterization of complex polyolefins; chemical composition and molecular weight dependence; challenges in the application and design of gel permeation chromatography (GPC)/size exclusion chromatography (SEC) separation media; polyelectrolytes and their characterization; role of micro-mechanisms to improve the mechanical properties of polymers; full characterization of complex polymers and oligomers by different chromatographic techniques; characterization of acid-base properties of polymers and other materials; and a solution to the plastic shopping bag visual pollution problem.

The conference banquet at Boschendal Restaurant, Groot Drakenstein, was greatly enjoyed by everybody who attended it. It embodied South African cuisine, wines of the area, and good music in a wine-farm atmosphere, in an area where up to 40 farms are available for touring and tasting.

A virtual teaching encyclopedia CDROM 2001 (PolymerED), consisting of all abstracts and UNESCO School lectures and IUPAC Conference talks, is being created. Such an encyclopedia is an excellent tool for teaching and expanding course notes and will be made available to all speakers at the UNESCO School and IUPAC Conference 2001. It is also available for ordering for USD 50 a copy through the UNESCO Associated Centre 's Web site: <http://www.sun.ac.za/unesco.unesco.htm/>. It will be placed in an abridged form on the web site after approval by each of the contributors. The 5th Annual UNESCO School (2-3 February 2002) and IUPAC Conference (4-6 February 2002) will also take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Prof. R. D. Sanderson (Conference Chairman)
and Aneli Fourie (Conference Secretary)
UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1
Matieland 7602, South Africa

Prof. Harald Pasch (Conference Cochairman)
Darmstadt Kunststoff Institute
Schlossgartenstrasse 6
Darmstadt 64289, Germany

> Published in Chem. Int. 23(5), 2001

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