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Report from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposium


Organic Synthesis
14th International Conference on Organic Synthesis (ICOS-14), 14-19 July 2002, Christchurch, New Zealand.

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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.

Because 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.

The Thieme/IUPAC 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 Hisashi Yamamoto.

David 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.



> Published in Chem. Int. 24(6), 2002

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