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Chemists Gather In Prague

International: European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences holds fourth biennial conference

by Sarah Everts
August 30, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 36

Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
EuCheMS participants enjoy a break.
This is a photo of three German scientists at the EUCHEMS meeting.
Credit: Sarah Everts/C&EN
EuCheMS participants enjoy a break.

Nearly 1,800 chemists were in Prague last week to attend the European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) conference, Europe’s largest chemistry meeting.

“The idea is to provide a showcase of European chemistry,” the same as at the American Chemical Society or Chemical Society of Japan meetings, said Pavel Drašar, vice president of the Czech Chemical Society and chair of this year’s EuCheMS organizing committee.

With 12 concurrent sessions over five days and nine plenary lectures—five of which were given by Nobel Laureates—EuCheMS participants had a variety of talks to choose from, including the latest ice-core radiocarbon-dating techniques, new green chemistry catalysts, the latest strategies for imaging diseased cells, and new charge-storage memory devices.

“I’m just finishing my Ph.D. in carbohydrate chemistry, and now I’d like to do something a little different,” said Ralph Hollaus of the University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, in Vienna. “I’m here to get new ideas and to think about what to do next.”

EuCheMS is the umbrella organization for 44 chemical societies across 32 European countries. With some 150,000 members, the organization aims to be “the voice of chemistry in Europe,” said Jay S. Siegel, a synthetic organic chemist at the University of Zurich.

The chemical societies combined forces in 2004 to increase visibility of the chemical enterprise to European lawmakers. “Our statements are increasingly appreciated by the European authorities and have more impact than national opinions,” noted EuCheMS President Ulrich Schubert.

With a membership approaching that of ACS, EuCheMS could become equally important among chemists in 20 years, Siegel said.

This year, participants traveled to Prague from across Europe and also from the U.S., Japan, Kazakhstan, Egypt, and Iran. ACS, which publishes C&EN, sponsored nine U.S.-based students to travel to EuCheMS and was represented at the meeting by Madeleine Jacobs, ACS’s executive director and CEO, as well as Peter J. Stang, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The next EuCheMS conference will take place on Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2014, in Istanbul, Turkey.



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