25 No. 6
IUPAC in Ottawa
Every two years, IUPAC holds a General Assembly (GA) for governance meetings of its Council and Bureau, and for all division and standing committees and other bodies. Since 1997, the GAs have been held in the same city as the biennial scientific Congress. This year the GA and Congress were held from 8–17 August in Ottawa, Canada. This was only the second time that the meetings were held concurrently—the first was in 2001 in Brisbane. An intense and intricate schedule of various committee meetings took place over 10 days with the Congress itself basically scheduled in the middle of that period. The last meeting to take place was that of the Council, the highest governing body of IUPAC, composed of delegates from the member countries.
President Piet Steyn remarks in his column
on page 2, both the GA and the Congress are major events
for IUPAC. CI asked IUPAC Executive Director John
Jost and the Congress President Alex McAuley to highlight
the major developments that took place in Ottawa.
The IUPAC Congress and Conference of the
Society for Chemistry
by Alex McAuley
< The General Assembly by John Jost
IUPAC Prize Winners (clockwise from left): Stefan Lorkowski (2002), Martin Trent Lemaire (2003), Gonzalo Cosa (2003), Roman Boulatov (2003), Kaihsu Tai (2003), Christoph Schaffrath (2003), Jinsang Kim (2002), Simi Pushpan (2002), and Jeroen Cornelissen (2002).
Photo by Larry Munn/Ottawa
joint meeting of the 39th IUPAC Congress and the 86th Conference
of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) was held in Ottawa
from 10–15 August 2003 at the Westin Hotel and Ottawa
Congress Centre. In all, 2500 participants attended, including
850 students, with slightly over 2000 papers presented, 800
as oral presentations and 1200 as posters. Although the GA
of IUPAC had been held in Montreal in 1962 and the Congress
in Vancouver in 1981, this was the first occasion in North
America that the national chemical society has joined with
IUPAC for the scientific meeting in addition to playing host
to the GA and Council meetings.
title of the conference—"Chemistry at the Interfaces"—was
chosen to indicate the breadth of chemical science and to
confirm the vitality of our subject not only in the macro-interfaces,
from biology through materials science to physics and computing
science, but also within the micro-interfaces of the various
subdisciplines of chemistry.
Congress was opened formally by Dr. Arthur Carty, president
of the National Research Council of Canada, the National Adhering
Organization of IUPAC. As Dr. Carty remarked, “many
of the advances in these interfacial-interdisciplinary areas
and much of the potential have been driven by three scientific
revolutions which are now occurring simultaneously. The first
is the information technology revolution sparked by the discovery
and development of the all-electronic digital computer. This
digital revolution is being rivaled by a second in molecular
biology and biotechnology through genomics and proteomics
which stands to revolutionize heath care, reengineer agriculture,
and help drive a new bio-energy industry. The third revolution,
only in its infancy, is in nanomaterials science. These revolutions,
particularly biotechnology and nanoscience, have one characteristic
which is quite distinctive and appealing. They are not in
the domain of a single discipline but are multidisciplinary
Alex McCauley, Congress president, delivers remarks at the Opening Ceremony. Seated (from left) are Arthur J. Carty, president of the National Research Council of Canada; John Vederas, president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry; and Piet Steyn, IUPAC president.
Photo by Larry Munn/Ottawa
special effort was made to attract to the Congress scientists
who are at early stages in their careers. Among those presenting
results were 85 young chemists from 45 countries, all of whom
had been awarded partial support from a variety of sponsors.
In addition, a highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation
of nine IUPAC Prizes awarded in 2002 and 2003 to recent Ph.D.
graduates on the basis of their dissertations (see
photo above of winners).
Link to Prize info
morning the technical program began with a plenary lecture
by an internationally recognized scientist. Nobel Laureate
Professor John Polanyi described “Reactions at Surfaces,
Studied One Molecule at a Time;” Chemical Institute
of Canada Medallist Professor Raymond Kapral lectured on “A
Hop, Jump, and a Skip: Quantum Reactions in Classical Solvents;”
and Professor Jean Fréchet introduced “Organic
Chemistry and Molecular Design at the Interface of Biology,
Engineering and Physics.” Unfortunately, Nobel Laureate
Professor Richard Smalley was indisposed, but his place was
ably taken by Dr. Michael Gait who provided a historical context
in his lecture “50 Years of Nucleic Acids Synthesis:
A Central Role in the Partnership of Chemistry and Biology.”
More than a dozen CIC and CSC award lectures were presented.
"The main body of the technical program, which consisted of over 50 symposia in more than 160 sessions, was both international in scope and broad in range of topics."
main body of the technical program, which consisted of over
50 symposia in more than 160 sessions, was both international
in scope and broad in range of topics. The program included
six specific chemical themes: Analytical/Environmental, Chemical
Education, Inorganic, Macromolecular Science and Engineering,
Organic, and Physical and Theoretical. There was also a special
symposium devoted to synchrotron radiation and the opening
of the Canadian Light Source in early 2004. Two symposia celebrated
the careers of two distinguished Canadian chemists: Dr. Arthur
Carty (Inorganic) and Dr. Almeria Natansohn (Macromolecular).
Four symposia focused on supramolecular chemistry. The Chemical
Education program was the largest in recent memory. Within
the broad symposia topics there were areas as diverse as:
Nanoparticles and Carbon Nanotubes, Environmental Quality
and Human Health, Metalloproteins and Metals in Medicine,
Activation of Small Molecules by Early Transition Metals,
Polymers in Electronics and Photonics, the Chemistry of Nucleic
Acids, Organic Synthesis, and Chemical Biology.
to the public at large, a special symposium on the Public
Understanding of Chemistry, was coordinated by the IUPAC subcommittee
of the same name. Questions such as “How do ideas flow
between chemistry and the public through the media?”;
“How do they flow between the research lab and industry
or public use?”; and “How do ideas flow through
society?, were the central themes of the debates.”
arrangements for the conference went smoothly until the power
failure occurred late Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, this
caused the cancellation of 45 lecture presentations on Friday
morning, including the plenary lecture by Professor Howard
Alper on “A Chemist’s Journey into Policies and
Politics.” However, attempts are being made to offer
authors the opportunity of depositing their papers on the
conference Web site. In addition to the oral and poster presentations,
a fine exhibition of equipment, books, and other materials
was well attended.
aspects of the Congress program were supported by many Canadian
and international organizations, including, as major sponsors,
the National Research Council of Canada, Wiley Publishers,
Imperial Oil, and Xerox. In addition, funds were provided
principally by the U.S. Army Research Office, UNESCO Paris
and Canada, the Canadian National Committee for IUPAC, and
the Natural Sciences and Engin-eering Research Council of
Canada to assist young scientists from many countries to attend
the meeting and present their results as posters or oral presentations.
last modified 4 November 2003.
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