26 No. 6
Polymers in Medicine, Nanotechnology, Degradation, and Stabilization
by R.D. Sanderson
The 7th Annual UNESCO/IUPAC Conference on Macromolecules focusing on “Polymers in Medicine, Nanotechnology, Degradation, and Stabilization,” took place 5–8 April 2004 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The organizing committee comprised J. Wendorff (Phillips-University of Marburg, Germany), A.J. van Reenen (Stellenbosch University, South Africa), Aneli Fourie (UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials, Chemistry & Polymer Science Division, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa), and myself.
About 200 delegates—representing 19 countries other than South Africa—participated in the conference. Delegates from the African continent were from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Egypt, Libya, and Lesotho. Other countries represented included Russia, China, Turkey, India, France, Germany, United Kingdom, USA, Israel, Switzerland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovenia, Italy, and Australia. The total number of students who actively participated at the conference was 75.
Forty talks were presented, of which 7 were plenary lectures, 26 invited lectures, and 7 oral submissions. The talks focused on state-of-the-art activity and advancements in various fields. All others were accommodated in a lively poster session, which proved to be especially popular for student presentations.
Conference topics included polymer nanofibres and nanotubes; promising objects for applications in medicine; structure-property correlations of bone, bone-cement, and polymers; polymers in cardiovascular applications; bio-inspired cationic surfactants; facile synthesis of supramolecular materials via the ionic self-assembly route; and the effect of thermo-oxidative degradation and stabilization on the mechanical properties of polypropylene.
Bringing together experts on the same theme led to lively discussions on the preciseness of using certain techniques and also brought to light the availability of analytical subroutines on certain analytical equipment that the manufacturer often fails to explain to the customer.
The overseas plenary and invited speakers stressed the importance of postgraduate-level training in polymer science and chemistry in Africa. In particular they emphasized the importance of this field to the economies of the African continent.
An encyclopedic CD-ROM 2004 (PolymerED) for use in teaching is being created that will consist of many of the abstracts as well as conference talks. This encyclopedia provides an excellent tool for teaching and expanding course notes and will be made available to all speakers at the conference. It will be placed in an abridged form on the conference Web site after approval by each of the contributors. Abstracts and papers are being collected for peer review and will be published in a issue of Macromolecular Symposia.
The 8th Annual UNESCO/IUPAC Conference on Macromolecules: “Polymers for Africa,” 4–9 June 2005, is scheduled to take place at Sugar Beach Resort, Mauritius.
Prof. R.D. Sanderson <[email protected]> served as the conference chairman. He is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is also director of the Institute for Polymer Science and director of the UNESCO Associated Centre for Macromolecules and Materials.
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