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Vol. 29 No. 2
March-April 2007

Officer's Column — Torino—Passion Lives Here

by Leiv Sydnes, Giuseppe Della Gatta, and Franco De Angelis

Just about a year ago, the city of Torino in northern Italy was energized by hosting the Olympic Winter Games. The official motto of the games was “passion lives here.” This coming August, Torino will host the 41st IUPAC World Chemistry Congress. On behalf of the organizers, we plan to show that chemistry is also one of our passions. We are therefore pleased to invite chemists from all over the world to attend this unique scientific event—to be held 5–11 August 2007—which constitutes one of the major international conferences in chemistry.

Column authors (L to R) Franco De Angelis, Leiv Sydnes, and Giuseppe Della Gatta.

Under the theme “Chemistry Protecting Health, Natural Environment and Cultural Heritage,” the congress will address fundamental aspects of the sustainable chemistry endeavors of our age. Through plenary lectures, other oral presentations, poster sessions, workshops, symposia, and even a play, the whole Congress program will illustrate how important chemistry is when we are facing the most pressing challenge of our times, namely how to achieve a sustainable future. Here, sustainability is used in its widest sense; it is applied not only to the environmental situation, but also to global human health and social issues, such as infant mortality, which is still a major problem. Moreover, the Congress will stress the role of chemistry in uncovering and preserving our cultural heritage and better understanding the cultural roots of our civilizations. The Congress will devote at least one full session to each of these themes, even though all branches of chemistry will be covered by the program, which includes 10 sessions, some 30 workshops, and 2 satellite symposia.

Several of the Congress themes are intimately connected with the ethics of science. This is reflected in the opening plenary lecture by Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate 1981, “Science and Ethics: A Marriage of Necessity and Choice for this Millennium.” The other plenary lectures will be delivered by Vincenzo Balzani (University of Bologna, Italy), “Molecular Devices and Machines”; Akira Fujishima (Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology, Japan), “The Increasing Contribution of Photocatalysis to Comfort and Safety in the Urban Environment”; Robert Huber, Nobel laureate 1988 (Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Germany), “Proteins and their Structures for Basic Science and Application in Medicine”; Jan Wouters, president of the International Council of Museums —Committee for Conservation (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels, Belgium), “Reflections on the Position of Chemistry in Multidisciplinary Approaches, Aiming at Protecting Cultural Heritage”; and Kurt Wüthrich, Nobel laureate 2002 (ETH, Zürich, Switzerland), “Protein Structure Biology Using NMR—at the Interface of Chemistry and Biology.”

The sessions of the congress are as follows:

  • Chemistry Protecting Natural Environment
  • Chemistry Protecting Health
  • Chemistry Protecting Cultural Heritage
  • Materials Chemistry and Nanotechnologies
  • Theoretical Chemistry and Computer Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biological and Biophysical Chemistry
  • Advances in Chemical Education
  • Joint Session Symposium: CHEM-BIO-TECH2007

In addition, the Congress program comprises the presentation of Should’ve, the new play written by Roald Hoffmann about the social responsibility of scientists and artists, and also about three people struggling with the transforming power of death.

It is worth noting that IUPAC and Italy have a longstanding relationship. Italy was part of the original group of nations, together with Belgium, France, UK, and the USA, that decided in 1919 to found IUPAC. In fact, the Union’s first General Assembly was held in Rome in June 1920. The Italian “Chemical National Council” was established at that time to be the contact with IUPAC; the president was Emanuele Paternò, the famous chemist and successor to Stanislao Cannizzaro. Pictures of that historic 1920 meeting, taken at the Accademia dei Lincei and the Hotel Excelsior in Rome and during visits to major Italian chemical factories, are still in their original frames on the walls of the office of the president of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI) in Rome.

Two more general assemblies were held in Italy. The 13th IUPAC General Assembly was again held in Rome in 1938 together with the 10th IUPAC Congress. The 25th General Assembly took place at Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the Dolomites, in 1969.

Following the custom established in Geneva in 1997, this year’s General Assembly will be held 4–12 August concurrently with the Congress. The General Assembly is the occasion for meetings of the statutory bodies of the Union, specifically of the Council, Bureau, division committees, and standing committees. The General Assembly will take place in facilities of the Università di Torino and the Politecnico di Torino, located adjacent to the Lingotto Complex.

The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) of the Congress is chaired by Giuseppe Della Gatta and Francesco De Angelis, president of SCI, and has all the Italian session chairs as members. The cooperation between the Italian chemical community and IUPAC in organizing the Congress is reflected in the involvement of representatives from the IUPAC divisions in developing the session programs and by the participation of Leiv K. Sydnes, past president of IUPAC and chair of the Congress’ International Advisory Board.

The SCI’s contributions to the organization of the Congress are substantial and strategic. All the Italian chairs of the sessions are presidents of SCI divisions, who provide vast and authoritative experience in their own scientific fields. Each session will include presentations by invited speakers who will deliver keynote lectures, and other oral contributions to be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts.

The Congress will be held at the Lingotto Conference Centre, a great modern structure designed especially for conventions. Formerly a FIAT factory, built in 1923, the center’s facilities have been completely restructured by the renowned architect Renzo Piano to become an advanced multifunctional complex. The auditorium has seats for about 2 000 people; in addition there are many conference and meeting halls and rooms that can host audiences of various sizes. The conference area of Lingotto is served by a Wi-Fi system. And a number of restaurants of different classes are an integrated part of the premises.

Rooms have been reserved in the hotels of the Lingotto Conference Centre as well as in the major downtown Torino hotels. In order to support the participation of chemists from every country, organizers are offering 1 200 low-cost accommodations in the university residences. Furthermore, to encourage young chemists to participate, the organizers have established two different programs, both offering travel assistance. About 50 awards will be available to qualified candidates under 40, which will cover some of the registration and travel costs.

In addition to the traditional social events included in the Congress program, such as the Congress banquet, several excursions and visits have been arranged for Wednesday afternoon of 8 August. Other one-day excursions and half-day visits will be planned for accompanying persons and participants. Pre-Congress and post-Congress tours and visits will also be organized.

An exhibition featuring scientific instruments and equipment from leading manufacturers, books, and journals will be held during the conference.

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Torino for the 41st IUPAC World Chemistry Congress. We look forward to seeing you there and sharing our passion for chemistry!

<www.iupac2007.org>

Leiv K. Sydnes <Leiv.Sydnes@kj.uib.no>, IUPAC past president, chairs the Congress International Advisory Board; Giuseppe Della Gatta <giuseppe.dellagatta@unito.it> chair of the Scientific Programme Committee; and Francesco De Angelis <deangeli@univaq.it>, president of the Italian Chemical Society, co-chairs the Scientific Programme Committee and the International Advisory Board.


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