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Vol. 35 No. 2
March-April 2013

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

Chemical Thermodynamics

The first International Conference on Chemical Thermodynamics (ICCT), organized by the IUPAC Commission on Thermodynamics (Commission I.2), was held in Warsaw, Poland, from 31 August–4 September 1969. Subsequently, the ICCT meeting has been held every two years, with one exception for the 6th ICCT meeting, which was held during August 1980 in Merseburg of the former German Democratic Republic.

The 2012 International Conference on Chemical Thermodynamics was held in the pleasant city of Búzios, on the north coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5–10 August, marking the first time this traditional conference moved south of the equator. In addition, this ICCT2012 was organized in conjunction with the 67th Calorimetry Conference. With a feeling of freshness and anticipation, a robust program was prepared to highlight not only the latest achievements in thermodynamics and calorimetry, but also how they have expanded to encompass other related areas of science and technology.

The general program was divided into thematic sessions: Energy, Ionic Liquids, Molecular Energetics and Databases, Phase Equilibria and Solutions, Thermodynamics of Materials, Education and Thermodynamics Frontiers, Biothermodynamics, Pharmaceuticals, Modelling and Simulation, and Thermal Studies and Phase Transitions. Plenary lectures on these themes were delivered by the following distinguished scientists: Peter L. Privalov (The Johns Hopkins University), Peter Atkins (Oxford University); Joan F. Brennecke (University Notre Dame), Aline Auroux (Institut de Recherches sur la Catalyse et l’Environnement de Lyon), Kamel Bennaceur (Schlumberger), Rafiqul Gani (Technical University of Denmark), Edward Maginn (University Notre Dame), Gabrielle Sadowski (Technical University of Dortmund), and Duncan Craig (University of East Anglia).

The ICCT2012 program also included invited lectures, oral contributions, and two well-attended poster sessions, accounting for more than 150 presentations and around 150 posters. The conference was attended by close to 300 participants from more than 30 different countries.

The ICCT2012 was preceded by a two-day Workshop on Biothermodynamics, which started with tutorials on basic calorimetry principles and techniques delivered by specialists Verna Frasca (from GE HealthCare) and Caleb McDonald (from TA Instruments). These sessions were followed by lectures by experts Lee D. Hansen, Carlos H.I. Ramos, Lucia Bianconi, Peter L. Privalov, Gerhard Klebe, Glyn Williams, Michale K. Gilson, and John Ladbury on recent developments and applications of calorimetry focused mainly on how these measurements could be used to understand biological processes and for the development and design of new and more efficient drugs. These presentations were followed by fruitful discussions moderated by Carlos Montanari and David P. Remeta, and the feeling among the nearly 80 participants was of complete satisfaction, affirming the importance of continuing this more recent tradition associated with organizing workshops prior to the main calorimetry conference.

The ICCT2012 was opened on the evening of 5 August with a lecture by Carlos H. Brito Cruz (FAPESP and UNICAMP), who presented an overview of the field and perspectives of Biofuels and Bioenergy, mostly focused on developments in Brazil, but also addressing issues that should be considered for their wider use and impact.

An important part of the conference is the awarding of prizes to recognize the careers and scientific contributions of outstanding scientists. This year, the IACT presented the Rossini award to Keith E. Gubbins (North Carolina State University), who presented the Rossini lecture on “Thermodynamics of Confined Nanophases.” Two awards were presented at the Calorimetry Conference: the Hugh M. Huffman Memorial Award went to Alfred Blume (Martin Luther University at Halle-Wittenberg), who presented a lecture on “Interaction of Cationic Surfactants and Oligo/Polypeptides with Anionic Lipid Model Membranes,” and the James J. Christensen Award went to George Makhatadze (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) who talked on “Pressure Perturbation Calorimetry and Structural Biology of Proteins.”

Another highlight of the program was a session organized by Jean-Pierre Grolier and Yasuhiro Nakazawa on “New Developments in Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry” in memory of Tooru Atake, who was always an enthusiastic supporter of the of the ICCT conferences. He chaired the ICCT held in Tsukuba, Japan, in 2010.

The aim of the ICCT conferences, supported by IUPAC sponsorship, is to provide a forum to discuss the latest advances, to foster collaboration, and to advance and extend the impact of the discipline. Our evaluation, supported by the comments we received from participants at the end of the conference, is that this goal was fully satisfied. Therefore, we believe that its success confirms the correct choice of moving this conference to new locations. The 23rd ICCT, scheduled for Durban, South Africa, in 2014, will be the first ICCT held within Africa.

Professor Watson Loh <wloh@iqm.unicamp.br> is director of the Institute of Chemistry at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Ron Weir, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontarior, is currently chair of the Interdivisional Committee on Terminology, Nomenclature and Symbols (ICTNS) of IUPAC.


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