IUPAC ’09: Thinking big to save the world

The plenary lecture this morning was by Peter Bruce, from the University of St Andrews, over on the east coast of Scotland. His message was an appeal to chemists to open their minds in order to save the world from climate change. Free yourselves from thinking of the immediate applications, he said, and this challenge can be faced. “The chemistry to tackle this is still going to be fundamental chemistry,” he says. Chemists should forget the immediate technical challenges.  Read more

IUPAC ’09: posters and pink wine

Disaster struck at the poster session tonight. I thought that the session organisers had decided to extend the reach of refreshments provided to include rose wine (a summer drink) and I gladly took a glass full of the pink stuff. To my horror I discovered it was cranberry juice. Tsk.  Read more

IUPAC ’09: Carbon capture conundrums

Back in my youth, when deciding what subjects to study at school and university I wanted to make sure that I would come out versed in something that would be of use to the wider world, perhaps even do some good. I chose chemistry. It’s clear from conferences like this that many chemists are interested in the subject for similar reasons.  Read more

IUPAC ’09: Livin’ La Vida Loca

If you happen to swing by the Nature stand at the IUPAC congress exhibition, you’ll have a rare treat. In the booth opposite is the stand for the next IUPAC congress, which will be in Puerto Rico in two year’s time. 2011 is also going to be the International Year of Chemistry.  Read more

IUPAC ’09: Patenting bacteria

Chemists love to talk about the details of a synthetic reaction: swapping this carbon atom for that one, changing the angle between sulfur atoms by 2 degrees and so on. So during this morning’s talk by Daniel Rabinovich from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was happy to listen to him talking about tinkering with ligands to try and recreate the chemical environment that a copper atom finds itself in the small protein methanobactin thinking no more of it other than “chemists like to try and do this kind of thing”.  Read more