Archive by date | December 2010

Pacifichem 2010: Dispersion corrections and gelation

This morning I went to some physical chemistry sessions on computational quantum chemistry. I won’t attempt to summarize the various interesting points raised by the speakers as well as the members of the audience, but I’d like to highlight one conclusion from Stefan Grimme’s presentation: he showed that dispersion corrections should really be used routinely – rather than occasionally – in density functional theory (DFT) methods. Pavel Hobza, who next took the stage, wholeheartedly agreed, saying in particular that these corrections play an extremely important role when it comes to biomolecules.  Read more

Pacifichem 2010: Variety is the spice of life

This past couple of days I have been attending more traditional, ‘core’ areas of chemistry at the inorganic, macromolecular and organic sessions. I first went to “the new age of advanced materials” symposium, and although I was fighting a little bit of jet lag and sleep deprivation (not a good combination) it made for a very interesting morning. Among exciting endeavours on helicity, supramolecular chirality, and controlled assembly and organization, Sam Stupp from Northwestern University showed interesting bioapplications with his supramolecular polymers, such as some neurotherapy studies that look promising against Parkinson’s disease.  Read more

Pacifichem 2010: Warm welcome

I am now – for the first time – in Hawaii, attending the Pacifichem meeting [officially the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies] (I resisted the urge to start this post by “Aloha”, a word I’ve heard a lot in the past day or so). The meeting is huge: 275 symposia, more than 1,000 papers, 12,000 delegates! This is a ‘self-assembled’ conference, in which the symposia are organized ‘from the bottom up’ — each symposium is submitted by a group of organizers, from at least 3 countries from the Pacific rim (Canada – host country this year – the US, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Korea and China).  Read more