IUPAC Polymer Conference on the Mission and Challenges of Polymer
Science and Technology (IUPAC PC2002),
Kyoto, Japan, 2-5 December 2002
link to conference calendar
Polymer chemistry and physics are facing a new era, changing from simple
polymers to more sophisticated (polymer-based) systems. The importance
of polymer science and technology is expected to grow even further.
It already interacts with most areas of chemistry, and new developments
are expected, especially involving life sciences and materials physics.
The IUPAC Polymer Conference on the Mission and Challenge of Polymer
Science and Technology (IUPAC PC2002) was held as the first strategic
conference of IUPAC s Macromolecular Division (MMD), in order
to figure out the present stage of polymer science and technology and
clarify their mission and challenges in the future. This conference
was planned as a part of the activities celebrating the 50th anniversary
of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, and cosponsored by IUPAC s
Macromolecular Division and the Science Council of Japan.
The scientific program consisted of 4 plenary lectures, 6 scientific
sessions (including 42 invited lectures, 33 oral, and 577 poster presentations),
and a panel discussion concluding the conference and discussing the
role and activities of IUPAC s Macromolecular Division among the
world polymer community.
The program covered all areas of macromolecular chemistry and was arranged
into six sessions from a strategic viewpoint: (1) polymer concepts in
chemistry, physics, and biology; (2) frontiers of polymer science; (3)
advanced and emerging polymer technologies; (4) state of the art in
biopolymers; (5) polymers and the environment; and (6) commodity
polymers and the world economy.
The traditional, basic molecular concepts of polymer science can be
summarized as being based on polymer chains with single covalent backbone
bonds, the flexibilities of those chains, and average properties of
distributions of molecular species. However, developments in biology
and physics as well as the chemistry of small molecules are causing
the introduction of new concepts into polymer science, e.g., macromolecules
with shape persistence in contrast to flexibility, precision polymerizations
leading to properties defined for single polymer species rather than
distributions of species, and polymers with weak interactions or conjugated
bonds in addition to polymers with single covalent bonds.
A keynote article in the present issue prepared by Bob Stepto et al.highlights
and summarizes the mission and challenges of the present stage of polymer
science and technology based on lectures and discussion during scientific
sessions and the concluding panel discussion. The article also reviews
briefly the historical development and recent advances of polymer science
and technology, and explains why the first strategic polymer conference
was organized. Three plenary lectures by Dennis Torchia, Jean-Pierre
Sauvage, and Masao Doi, published in the present issue,present important
recent topics in biology, chemistry, and physics, respectively, suggesting
new challenges for polymer scientists. In addition, most of the invited
lectures of the conference will be published in a special
volume (Vol. 201) of Macromolecular Symposia, Wiley-VCH.
The chairpersons of the Organizing Committee, Program Committee, and
Local Committee of the Conference were Seiichi Nakahama, Yoshio Okamoto,
and Hitoshi Yamaoka, respectively. The next Strategic Polymer Conference
of IUPACs Macromolecular Division is planned in 2005 in New York
under the leadership of Kalle Levon, Polytechnic University, Brooklyn,
Vice Chairperson of Organizing Committee
International Advisory Committee:
A. Abe (Japan), M. Aizawa (Japan), P. de Gennes (France), J.M.J. Fréchet
(USA), R.G. Gilbert (Australia), J.-I. Jin (Korea), T. Masuda (Japan),
R. Noyori (Japan), H. Shirakawa (Japan), R.F.T. Stepto (UK), A. Wada
(Japan), F. Wang (China), G.Wegner (Germany), W.J. Work (USA).