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Vol. 30 No. 3
May-June 2008

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

Physical Organic Chemistry in Latin America

by Adriana B. Pierini

The Ninth Latin American Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry (CLAFQO9), held 30 September–5 October 2007 in Los Cocos in the province of Córdoba, Argentina, was locally organized by researchers from the faculty of Chemical Sciences at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) and from the faculty of Exact, Physical, and Natural Sciences from the Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto (UNRC).

CLAFQO9 was the ninth in a series of conferences held several times in Brazil (1991, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005) and also in Argentina (1993), Chile (1999), and Venezuela (2001).

Participants in the opening ceremony of CLAFQ09 (from left): Roberto A. Rossi, Adriana B. Pierini, Gladys B. Mori de Moro, and Norma Nudelman.

The opening ceremony included speeches by Eduardo Humeres (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil), a member of the Latin American Committee; Norma Nudelman (Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences) representing IUPAC; and Adriana B. Pierini (Faculty of Chemical Sciences, UNC), chair of the organizing committee. In addition, a message by Ambassador Kalimi Mworia, director of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division of the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was delivered.

Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program that included 15 plenary lectures, 6 invited lectures, 31 oral presentations, and 2 poster sessions with 117 posters. To promote the participation of attendants in all activities, the conference was not divided into individual or parallel sessions. Instead, its scientific program was designed to cover most of the different areas in modern physical organic chemistry, including:

  • theoretical and experimental interpretation of reaction mechanisms in solution and in the gas phase
  • reaction dynamics
  • electron transfer in redox enzymes
  • development of bioinspired electron-transfer systems and their applications to renewable and clean energy resources
  • photocatalysis as an environmentally friendly synthetic path to chemicals
  • photobehavior of protein-bound drugs and drug phototoxicity
  • design and development of new materials from gels to nanostructured blocks
  • generation of metal and semiconductor nanoparticles by organic photochemistry
  • design of nanoparticles and small molecules as probes for cellular function
  • radical chemistry
  • reactions in organized systems
  • mimicking of biological processes
  • enzymatic catalyses
  • enzymes reactions
  • oxidative DNA damage

A list of plenary and invited lectures can be found on the conference website listed below. In total, 176 registered participants joined the conference from 16 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. Peru, Uruguay, Taiwan, Hungary, Poland, and Romania participated through joint contributions. Conference abstracts are available at <www.fcq.unc.edu.ar/claf9>.

Participants in the Ninth Latin American Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry (CLAFQ09).

Of the registered participants, 68 were Ph.D. students, reflecting CLAFQO9’s emphasis on providing an international forum for young researchers and advanced students to present their scientific work. As part of this effort, 29 fellowships were awarded by the local organizing committee to partially cover the costs of the Ph.D. students’ registration and hotel accommodations. Two poster prizes were also awarded to young researchers (doctoral candidates and/or recently graduated Ph.D.s). The poster quality was assessed by an academic committee led by Rita H. de Rossi (Argentina), Juana Chessa de Silber (Argentina), Julio Mata Segreda (Costa Rica), Oswaldo Núñez (Venezuela), and Eduardo Humeres (Brazil). The following CLAFQO9 poster prizes were awarded at the conference:

  • Photolysis of Asymmetric Diazenes. From Solid State to Supercritical Fluids: A Cage Effect Study, Pablo A. Hoijemberg, et al.
  • Physical Characterization of Spin-Coated Films of Luminescent 2,1,3-Benzothiadiazole-Based Liquid Crystalline Compounds, André A. Vieira, et al.

The conference provided an ideal opportunity for Latin American participants to attend lectures by prominent researchers, giving them valuable insights into current and future trends in the field. In addition, many Latin American scientists had the opportunity to exhibit their works to a prestigious audience of international scientists. All told, the conference promoted the exchange of ideas in both formal and informal ways, allowed for the renewal of personal contacts among friends and colleagues from Latin America and all over the world, and encouraged the development of new joint projects.

In sum, the following objectives for the conference were fully met:

  • the promotion of physical organic chemistry in Argentina, Latin America, and the world at large
  • the enhancement of scientific interactive relationships among groups from Latin America and group leaders from other countries
  • the fostering of physical organic chemistry in the new generations of graduate students
  • the promotion of peaceful uses of physical organic chemistry

It is important to mention the large number of representatives from different institutions who attended the conference, especially from Argentina. It was the first time that scientists from such varied universities and research centers from throughout Argentina were able to participate in CLAFQO. This coming together has paved the way for further intercommunication and integration of research groups and institutions, as well as for the future of physical organic chemistry in Argentina, Latin America, and many other nations.

In the closing ceremony, C. Dale Poulter (University of Utah, United States) outlined the importance and main contributions of the physical organic chemistry to the advance of science.

The organizers wish to thank the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Río Cuarto, CONICET, the National Agency for the Promotion of Science and Technology, the Argentine Association for Physical Chemistry Research, and the Argentine Society for Research in Organic Chemistry for their invaluable sponsorship and financial assistance.

The conference also received financial support from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Journal of Organic Chemistry, a publication of the American Chemical Society. IUPAC’s sponsorship is greatly appreciated; it allowed the conference to earn IUPAC’s academic recognition and gave it international scope. A special issue of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry is being devoted to CLAFQO9, and participants have been invited to submit manuscripts containing original unpublished work.

CLAFQO10 is to be held in Florianópolis, Brazil, 2009. It will be organized by Faruk Nome from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.

Adriana B. Pierini <adriana@fcq.unc.edu.ar> is a professor and CONICET researcher in the Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.


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