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Vol. 27 No. 5
September-October 2005

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

Macromolecules

by Jean-Pierre Vairon and Jean-François Joanny

The 40th International Symposium on Macromolecules (World Polymer Congress—Macro 2004) sponsored by IUPAC, was held at the Convention Center of Paris, 4–9 July 2004. It was organized by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique with the participation of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie de la Ville de Paris.

The congress was sponsored by the French Ministère de la Recherche, Ville de Paris, Académie des Sciences, and the Union des Industries Chimiques. It was held under the auspices of European Polymer Federation, Groupe Français des Polymères (a Division of the Société Française de Chimie and of the Société Française de Physique), Société de Chimie Industrielle, Société Française de Métallurgie et Matériaux, Groupe Français de Rhéologie, and the International Polymer Processing Society. P.-G. De Gennes and J.-M. Lehn were co-chairmen of the congress.

The congress was part of the series of regular biennial “IUPAC Macro Meetings” of the IUPAC Polymer Division. These meetings are the most important events in the activities of the Polymer Division, and are by far the world’s largest gathering of polymer scientists. They provide a venue where young scientists and more experienced researchers have the opportunity for close, friendly contacts with the leading specialists in the various domains of polymer science.

R.F.T. Stepto, president of the IUPAC Polymer Division, addresses the audience at Macro 2004.

E. Giacobino (Director of the Research, Ministry of Research) opened the Congress on behalf of Minister François D’Aubert, before an audience of more than 2300 attendees. Her address was followed by those of Bryan Henry, president-elect of IUPAC, and R.F.T. Stepto, president of the Polymer Division, who respectively stressed the eminent roles played by the Union and its Polymer Division.

The unified character of the now mature polymer science was deliberately emphasized and appeared as an essential feature (and success) of this congress. The Paris MACRO 2004 meeting was largely open to other disciplines, such as polymer and soft matter physics, mechanics, rheology, and polymeric materials processing. It involved 10 plenary lectures devoted to contemporary topics (including those of two Nobel Prize winners) and more than 280 invited lectures, together with about 350 contributed oral presentations, and more than 1300 posters.

The conference embraced fundamental and applied aspects of major frontier topics in polymer science. Special emphasis was placed on new concepts and developments in both basic research and industrial applications. The furthering of polymer education and international cooperation in polymer science are also major concerns of the IUPAC Polymer Division. Two specific symposia were devoted to these issues.

This one-week congress was organized around three half-day plenary sessions devoted to trends in polymer science, and around parallel sessions associated with 21 thematic symposia. For the opening plenary session, the choice was made to move progressively from cutting-edge interfacial aspects of chemistry toward pure polymer science. This was superbly realized by Kurt Wütrich (Nobel, 2002, “NMR with Biopolymers-From Structural Biology to Proteomics”), Jean-Marie Lehn (Nobel, 1987, “Dynamic Molecular and Supramolecular Polymers”) and Dame Julia Higgins (“Polymers Blends: Mixing and De-Mixing Them”).

The topics of the seven other plenary lectures were balanced in order to merge together different polymer communities that normally meet separately, and thus to focus on the unity of polymer science. This was achieved through the cutting-edge lectures of first-rank scientists who kindly agreed to play the game. Following is a selection of lecturers and their topics. A complete list of lectures can be found online at <www.upmc.fr/macro2004>.

From Polymer Chemistry

  • Jean Fréchet, “Functional Polymers: From Organic Electronics to Therapeutics”
  • Kris Matyjaszewski, “From Precise Macromolecular Synthesis to Macroscopic Materials Properties”

From Polymer Physics

  • Masao Doi, “Motion of Micro Particles with Complex Shape: Application to Separation”
  • Helmut Möhwald, “Smart Polyelectrolyte Capsules as Microcontainers and Reactors”
  • Ludwik Leibler, “From Nanostructured Plastics to Green Supramolecular Rubbers: Joys of Self-Assembling”

From Polymer Mechanics and Processing

  • Han Meijer, “Multi-Scale Analysis of Mechanical Properties of Amorphous Polymers”
  • Chris Macosko, “Polymer-Polymer Reactions with Applications to Compatibilization, Adhesion, and Solvent-free Block Copolymer Synthesis”

The general program covered nine broad topics, each of them generally divided into several more specific symposia:

  • Polymer Chemistry: Reactions and processes
  • Macromolecular Architectures and Organized Materials
  • New Tools and Polymer Characterization Techniques
  • Polymer-Based Complex Systems
  • Polymers for Advanced Applications
  • Polymer Processing and Induced Properties
  • New Developments in Commercial Polymers
  • Polymer Education
  • International Cooperation in Polymer Science

Each symposium was organized and chaired by two or three eminent specialists from all over the world who defined the contents of the sessions, proposed the corresponding invited speakers, and selected the oral short presentations and posters. All the contributions submitted to MACRO 2004 followed a regular review procedure (acceptation/revision/rejection) by the chairpersons of the 21 thematic symposia.

A selection of the contributions (invited lectures and selected oral/poster presentations) will appear soon as full papers in the regular polymer journals of several publishers (Wiley-VCH, Elsevier, Springer-EDP Science, and VSP-Brill). Almost 2000 proceedings of all the contributions mentioned above can be found at the Web site of e-Polymers <www.e-polymers.org/paris>. A special issue of Progress in Polymer Science devoted to “Trends in Polymer Science” will feature full papers based on the plenary lectures.

Several prizes were presented during the Congress:

  • The “IUPAC MACRO 2004 Distinguished Polymer Scientist Award,” sponsored by Union des Industries Chimiques and Atofina (now Arkema), was presented to Axel Mueller (Bayreuth) and Ludwik Leibler (Paris).
  • The “Samsung-IUPAC Polymer Division Young-Scientist Award,” sponsored by Samsung General Chemicals, was presented to Timothy J. Deming (Santa-Barbara).
  • The “Best Poster Award in Polymer Chemistry,” sponsored by Wiley-VCH, was presented to Frederic Pelascini (Freiburg).
  • The “Best Poster Award in Polymeric Materials,” sponsored by Elsevier, was presented to Rafael Munoz-Espi (Mainz).
  • The “Best Poster Award in Polymer Physics,” sponsored by Springer, was presented to Moon Jeong Park (Seoul).

World Polymer Congress Macro 2004 was the largest WPC to-date.This large gathering provided the dynamism and the creativity of a mature—but still young—polymer science that is developing in a multitude of directions. Participants came from 54 countries, roughly distributed between Europe (63%), Far East-Pacific (20%), North America (9%), Africa-Middle East (5%), and South America (3%). It should be noted that, due to attractive offers (reduced registration fees, as well as free lodging for some), more than 300 Ph.D. students attended and participated actively. Similarly, reduced fees or partial contributions toward lodging, or both, were allocated to about 200 regular participants from less favored countries. This was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of UNESCO and many industrial companies.

It is not our task to provide here scientific analyses or evaluations of the different symposia, themes, and trends, but the general opinion expressed by the scientific community was that, with respect to its size, its scientific coverage, and its scientific level, MACRO 2004 was one of the best polymer meetings ever held. Interesting and well-balanced reports on the Congress have already been published in Nature Materials, 2004, 3, 586–587, and Polymer News, 2004, 29, 355–357.

The polymer community is invited to join the next IUPAC WPC Macro 2006, 41st International Symposium on Macromolecules, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, 16–21 July 2006. See Where 2B & Y or <www.abpol.com.br/macro2006.htm>.

Jean-Pierre Vairon <vairon@ccr.jussieu.fr>, a professor at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, was chairman of Marco 2004. Jean-François Joanny, also a professor at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, was vice-chairman.


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