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Vol. 29 No. 2
March-April 2007

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

Chemistry in Latin America

by Roberto Cao

Alberto Nuñez (left), president of FLAQ and of the congress organizing committee, and Paulo César Vieira, past president of FLAQ.

The XXVII Latin American Congress on Chemistry and VI International Congress of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, sponsored by IUPAC, was held 16–20 October 2006 in Havana, Cuba. The congress is held every two years in a different country by the Latin American Federation of Chemistry Associations (FLAQ). The host of each biannual congress holds the presidency of FLAQ for the following two years. The event attracted 906 scientists from 33 countries (of Latin America, Europe, USA, Asia and Middle East), who gathered to discuss diverse aspects of modern chemistry and the frontiers of the field in 15 plenary lectures, 65 session lectures, 238 oral communications, and 850 posters.

The congress included three symposia: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Perspectives of Women in Chemistry, and Chemistry and Life Sciences. In addition, a workshop on natural products and a congress on biomaterials were offered.

At the opening ceremony, welcoming remarks were given by representatives of IUPAC, International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), FLAQ, the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the UK Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Three Cuban chemists were presented with awards by the Cuban Chemical Society: María A. Chávez, Vicente Verez, and Reynaldo Villalonga.

The opening lecture given by Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel laureate, on “Architecture at Nanoscale Dimensions,” attracted great attention and was received very warmly. Three other plenary lecturers addressed different aspects of nanoscience: Hector Abruña (USA), Roberto Cao (Cuba), and Robert Corriu (France).

Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of this congress was the attention given to this emerging new interdisciplinary area. In fact, a section of the conference was dedicated to nanoscience.

An important topic for Latin America, natural products, was analyzed by Alberto Nuñez, Cuba. New approaches in organic chemistry were discussed by Eusebio Juaristi (México); Margarita Suárez (Cuba), and IUPAC Past President Leiv Sydnes (Norway). A novel view of representative inorganic chemistry was addressed by Raymundo Cea, México. Education in chemistry received special attention, with a plenary lecture by Peter Atkins, UK. Medicinal chemistry was covered by Simon Campbell, past-president of RSC. Ann Nalley, president of ACS, delivered a lecture on the characteristics of science in the USA in 2006.

The areas of biochemistry and molecular biology were widely covered by the plenary lectures of Vito Turk of IUBMB (Slovenia), María A. Chávez (Cuba), André Menez (France), and by many other presentations.

At the end of the congress, Paulo César Vieira (Brazil), past-president of FLAQ, announced that the new president of FLAQ would be Alberto Nuñez, president of the Cuban Chemical Society and chairman of the organizing committee of the congress. Irma Castro is the new co-chairperson of the organization. The representatives of the different chemical associations agreed that this congress had the highest scientific level of any organized by FLAQ.

Roberto Cao <cao@fq.uh.cu> is a professor at the University of Havana, and is active in the International Affairs section of the Cuban Chemical Society.


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