Well, after last night’s veritable feast of fine dining, today it was time to get down to the feast of fine chemistry – and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Moungi Bawendi from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, US, and Hongkun Park from Harvard University, US, kicked off proceedings with a pair of talks about how light interacts with matter.
Bawendi was looking at the real fundamentals of how quantum dots turn light into excitons (separated electrons and positively charged ‘holes’) and back again, whereas Park’s talk was looking at channelling light in the form of surface plasmons through silver nanowires to form the basic building blocks of optical circuits. If they excite the quantum dot with a green laser, the red fluorescence appears not only at the dot but at the far end of the nanowire as well.
Following on from the first International Symposium on Advancing the Chemical Sciences (ISACS1) last week in San Francisco, US, the second meeting in Budapest, Hungary kicked off today. The theme of this second meeting is ‘Challenges in physical chemistry and nanoscience’, and I was lucky enough to bag a place at the speakers’ dinner tonight. The feeling I got from the dinner conversation is that physical chemistry is a massively broad subject, and often gets overlooked as it can be hard to classify – it’s almost like a catch-all for stuff that doesn’t fit as organic or inorganic.
But what it certainly does contain is a good slug of seriously interesting chemistry for you all to enjoy – I feel thoroughly primed for tomorrow’s talks and posters, so I’ll keep you all informed of what’s going on on the cutting edge of at least some of the multitudinous subjects arrayed under the banner of ‘physical chemistry’.
The First International Symposium on Advancing the Chemical Sciences kicked off on Wednesday, focusing on challenges in organic chemistry and chemical biology. Set in the grand Fairmont Hotel in central San Francisco, around 200 delegates were treated to a spectacular line up of plenary speakers covering a broad range of organic chemistry and chemical biology. Day one saw outstanding talks covering hydrogen-bonded catalysis (Jacobsen), iridium-catalysed asymmetric hydrogenation (Pfaltz), C-H oxidation (White), carbohydrate chemistry and biology (Seeberger, Hsieh-Wilson), rapid formation of molecular complexity (Sorensen) and the use of transition metal catalysis for the formation of pharmaceutically interesting compounds (Buchwald).
Robert Eagling (Editor, Chemical Science) and James Milne (Editorial Director) with the ISACS 1 speakers
Day two continued in an equally impressive fashion with further insights into new concepts in organocatalysis (MacMillan, Maruoka). After the break, the focus moved to chemical biology, with talks on activity-based proteomics (Cravatt) and reprogramming the code of life (Chin). There was a further shift in subject after lunch with molecular switches, motors and molecular recognition all covered (Feringa, Hunter). The second day ended with talks on new synthetic methods to lactones (Dong) and the latest developments in gold catalysis (Toste).
Jason Chin discusses reprogramming the code of life
There was plenty of high quality science on the final day, with cutting edge catalysis (Ooi) backed up by high quality chemical biology (Du Bois, Bertozzi).
The vibe at the conference was one of excitement and positivity. The Fairmont hotel is a stunning venue and acted as the perfect back drop to the outstanding scientific talks. The new ISACS conferences have certainly arrived with a bang. Next stop Budapest…