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by David StC Black
The field of organic synthesis has always been at the center of
chemical science. As such, the series of International Conferences
on Organic Synthesis, initiated and sponsored by IUPAC, continues
to thrive. The 14th conference (ICOS-14) was held from
14-19 July 2002 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
it is desirable to develop as wide a geographical spread of influence
for the conferences, to act as stimulants for the outgrowth of new
chemistry, the decision was made to hold ICOS-14 in New Zealand.
Professor Margaret Brimble (University of Auckland) enthusiastically
took up the baton as conference chair and Professor Jim Coxon (Canterbury
University at Christchurch) stepped in as co-chair. Christchurch
was chosen as the venue because of superior conference facilities.
There is always a risk in locating conferences in the southern
hemisphere because serious travel leads to uncertain attendance.
However, those who brave and endure such travel are sometimes well
rewarded. That was certainly the case with ICOS-14, where the organizers
provided a superb combination of chemistry, efficiency, and hospitality
for the almost 500 participants. The event was boosted by a particularly
large and stimulating contingent from Japan; however, the low participation
level of North American chemists was disappointing.
The scientific program embraced all aspects of modern synthetic
organic chemistry. There were 11 plenary lectures, the Thieme/IUPAC
award lecture, approximately 20 invited section lectures, and a
series of 6 mini symposia woven into the program, which was arranged
with two parallel sessions for the shorter lectures. The plenary
speakers were as follows: Yoshito Kishi (Harvard) on halichondrin
synthesis; Ben Feringa (Groningen) on asymmetric catalysis; K. C.
Nicolaou (Scripps) on total synthesis; Koichi Narasaka (Tokyo) on
azaheterocycles from oximes; William Roush (Michigan) on allylorganometallic
reagents; Tohru Fukuyama (Tokyo) on synthesis of vinblastine; Jonathan
Ellman (Berkeley) on new synthetic methodology for nitrogen-containing
compounds; Albert Padwa (Emory) on cascade processes for heterocycles;
Keisuke Suzuki (Tokyo Institute of Technology) on pericyclic routes
to natural polyarenes; John Wood (Yale) on synthetic approaches
to CP-263,114; and Stephen Martin (Texas) on synthesis of C-arylglucosides.
prize was awarded to Erick Carreira (ETH Zurich) who lectured
on asymmetric synthesis made simple. The mini symposia were in the
areas of synthesis of bioactive molecules, combinatorial chemistry,
stereoselective synthesis, green chemistry, metal mediated synthesis,
and automation in synthesis. A selection of plenary lectures will
be published in Pure and Applied Chemistry, for which Professor
Andrew Abell is acting as conference editor. A feature of the conference
was the outstanding array of 267 posters presented mainly by a large
and enthusiastic group of international graduate students, who also
contributed greatly to the lively ambience of the meeting.
The organizers are to be congratulated for producing such a superb
meeting in every respect. ICOS-15 will be held in Nagoya, Japan,
from 1-6 August 2004 under the co-chairmanship of Minoru Isobe and
StC Black of the University of New South Wales is vice president
of the IUPAC Division of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry and
chairman of the subcommittee on Organic Synthesis.