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Vol. 27 No. 1
January-February 2005

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Photochemistry

by Silvia E. Braslavsky

The XX-IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry, which took place 17–22 July 2004 in Granada, Spain, was a real success. Unlike previous symposia, the scientific organizers, chaired by Scientific Chairman Miguel A. Miranda (Universidad Politécina de Valencia), chose to hold several parallel sessions. This enhanced the attractiveness of the symposium, since it allowed for coverage of the large number of fields in which photochemistry is involved nowadays.

The symposia attracted 505 participants from 37 countries and it featured 12 plenary conferences (one by the 1986 Nobel-Prize winner John Polanyi) plus 39 invited oral contributions. The parallel sessions accommodated 105 oral communications. In addition, there were 361 posters, which were displayed the entire week due to ample space in the very comfortable Granada Conference Center. The invited oral contributions and the oral presentations were organized in 13 workshops:
1. Photochemistry Towards Nanotechnology and Photochemical Devices
2. Photochemistry of Biomacromolecules
3. Organic Photochemistry
4. Femtochemistry
5. Development and Applications of Incoherent Excimer Radiation Sources
6. Applied Photochemistry
7. Photochemical Electron Transfer
8. Photochemistry in Heterogeneous Media
9. Single Molecule/ Single Cell Spectroscopy
10. Polymer Photochemistry
11. Photophysical and Photochemical Approaches in the Control of Toxic and Therapeutic Activity of Drugs (jointly sponsored by the European Photochemical Association and the European Society for Photobiology)
12. Theoretical Methods in Photochemistry
13. Supramolecular Photochemistry

Fortunately, many younger scientists and scientists from less-developed countries were able to attend the symposia because conference organizers offered 105 fellowships, which covered room and lodging in a university facility and waived part of the registration fee. The symposium was sponsored by IUPAC, the University of Granada and the Polytechnical University of Valencia, the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, the Andalusian Government, and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology. Additional financial support was provided by the Granada Savings Bank and several Japanese companies listed in the Symposium web page <www.ugr.es/~xxiupacs/iupacxx.htm>.

The lack of financial support from American science agencies, for the participation of their own photochemists, was reflected in the very low number of scientists from the USA who participated in the symposium. Of the 19 American attendees—the large majority of whom were senior scientists—four were plenary lecturers and four invited lecturers. Unfortunately, there appears to be a trend of decreasing numbers of symposia participants from the USA, which is undoubtedly a real loss for international cooperation and exchange.

Apart from the large number of Spanish scientists and students, the nation with the largest number of participants was Japan. The active participation of a large number of Japanese colleagues, as well as the financial support of Japanese companies, has been a constant with the IUPAC-supported photochemistry symposia.

In the spirit of IUPAC, the symposium covered basic research as well as applied aspects of photochemistry, such as microlithography, solid-state luminescent devices, photoproduction of antimalarial drugs, photochemical and spectroscopic aspects of polymer studies, phototherapies, photocatalysis, and more. The scientific level of the symposium was very high as evidenced by very intense discussions after the presentations. The posters sessions were very lively, with the students and young researchers presenting their data with great enthusiasm.

The highest prize in the photochemical community, the Porter Medal, awarded jointly by the three photochemical societies (European Photochemical Association, Inter-American Photochemical Association, and Asian Photochemical Association) was awarded to Graham R. Fleming, from the University of California at Berkeley, who delivered one of the plenary lectures titled “Photosynthetic light harvesting.”

During the symposium, there was a lunch meeting of the Subcommittee on Photochemistry of IUPAC’s Division on Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Diverse problems associated with the various projects handled by the Subcommittee were discussed.
The efficiency and hospitality of the Spanish committee (headed by Bartolomé Quinteros, University of Granada) and the local organizers of the symposium were extraordinary. The social program enabled participants to enjoy the splendid buildings and monuments of Granada, in particular the Alhambra Castle and its gardens, remains of a great era in which science and tolerance flourished.

The next IUPAC-sponsored Symposium on Photochemistry is scheduled to be held 2–6 April 2006 in Kyoto, Japan, which will mark the first symposium held outside Europe. The scientific chairman is Masahito Irie, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Silvia E. Braslavsky <braslavskys@mpi-muelheim.mpg.de> was the IUPAC representative at the XX-IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry. She is the German Representative on the IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Division, chairman of the Subcommittee on Photochemistry, and member of the Advisory subcommittee of the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division.


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