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Vol. 34 No. 1
January-February 2012

Reports from San Juan

A substantial amount of the General Assembly in San Juan was devoted to division and standing committee meetings, each of which spanned two days. Following are brief accounts of some of these meetings (part two will appear in the next issue). Prior to the GA, all divisions and standing committees provided a written report that is part of the Council Agenda book available online.

Chemistry and Industry

The highest priority for the Committee on Chemistry and Industry (COCI) in 2011 was the International Year of Chemistry. The World Chemical Leadership Meeting at the General Assembly in San Juan was a very successful example of COCI’s involvement in IYC. In the plenary session and in the breakouts of the WCLM, the contribution of chemistry toward solving future challenges was well presented and discussed. From this iniative, IUPAC’s contribution to the Rio+20 process is being developed. COCI also helped in the establishment of the Global Water Experiment, a key component of IYC.

In 2011, COCI introduced a new biannual science award, the IUPAC-ThalesNano Award for Flow Chemistry (see Nov-Dec 2011 CI, p. 30). The award was established in the context of COCI’s goal of helping IUPAC increase the participation of scientists in industry. The prize, which includes USD 7500, is to be awarded to an internationally recognized scientist whose activities or published accounts have made an outstanding contribution in the field of flow chemistry in academia or industry. The prize is sponsored by the Hungarian ThalesNano Company, which has agreed to sponsor it for 5 times in the next 10 years.

The traditional COCI family dinner, held in Old San Juan, included Young Observers, Safety Training Program fellows, members from other IUPAC divisions, and other friends.

In order to develop and maintain an active program to recruit, guide, and inform Company Associates, the industrial workshop series will be continued. After Germany in 2008, Japan in 2009, and Kuwait in 2010, the next workshop with Company Associates and trade associations is being planned for Toronto in June 2012 (see Where 2B & Y). These workshops develop and deepen the liaisons with national and international associations that represent chemical industries, chemical societies, and international bodies involved in scientific and industrial development.

COCI is supporting projects that share best practices globally. Thus, COCI supports the development of a Life Cycle Assessment project in IUPAC and seeks partners across the IUPAC organization. COCI also contributes to activities from other IUPAC bodies, such as the CHEMRAWN conferences.

A strong pillar of COCI activities is capacity building. Results from the long-established Safety Training Program were presented at the IUPAC Congress in San Juan.

In the context of public appreciation of chemistry, Responsible Care is an important building stone. COCI has published papers on its history and a major case study and supports educational workshops for postgraduate students. A second case study has been commissioned.

Physical and Biophysical Chemistry

The division committee met over two days during the General Assembly at San Juan with its principal business being the review of existing divisional projects and consideration of potential new projects. The division has 21 current projects and participates in 7 projects with other divisions and committees. The meeting was attended by almost all of the titular members along with Robert Hinde of the Commission on Physicochemical Symbols, Terminology, and Units, and Young Observers Maria Quintana from Peru and Anatoly Kolomeisky from USA.

A highlight for 2011 was the divisional activities for IYC, which included a Student Chemistry Cartoon Competition and Student Physical Chemistry Competition. The cartoon competition attracted 63 entries from high school, undergraduate, and postgraduate students in 8 countries. On 1 August, Jessica Hough of Valley Central High School, Montgomery, New York, USA, was awarded first prize in the Chemistry Cartoon Competition at a ceremony held in the Exhibition Hall of the IUPAC Congress in San Juan. Other winning entries in the contest were on display in the exhibit hall during the Congress. (See article in Nov-Dec 2011 CI, page 22.)

The winner of the video competition, Yordan Darachiev of Kotel, Bulgaria, was congratulated by “Skype meeting” during the committee meeting. These activities have stimulated the division to consider mounting an annual student physical chemistry cartoon competition to enhance its identity.

IUPAC Green Book Pull-Out
In July 2011, the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division published a four-page pull-out in Chemistry International based on A Concise Summary of Quantities, Units, and Symbols in Physical Chemistry. This version of the so-called Green Book was prepared by Jurgen Stohner and Martin Quack.

The Green Book and its revision is the foremost divisional activity and is primarily the task of the Commission on Physicochemical Symbols, Terminology, and Units under its chair Roberto Marquardt. A translation of the 3rd edition (2007) of the Green Book has now been published in Japanese, with French, Italian, and Portuguese versions due to appear in the coming years. An abridged student version of the Green Book is also well advanced.

The critically-evaluated gas kinetics database maintained at Cambridge, with input from a sustained series of divisional projects, plays a valuable role in climate-simulation schemes. The site receives up to 1000 visits a week, testimony to its significance. Michel Rossi has been a key link in IUPAC’s contribution to this compilation of climate-related resources.

Adsorption of gases has been the subject of another sustained series of division I projects built on the most highly cited article from Pure and Applied Chemistry (PAC 1985, 57, 603). It is notable that Jean Rouquérol and Kenneth Sing have been members of four project task groups including one nearing completion.

It has been noted that the generation of new projects relies largely on the vestiges of the old IUPAC Commission structure and that maintaining links to these sectional groups is likely to be more productive than having expectations of the reformed IUPAC divisional structure.

In 2012, Kaoru Yamanouchi stepped in as the new division president, Roberto Marquardt became vice president, and Angela K. Wilson succeeded Marquardt as division secretary.


The Polymer Division met in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 29–30 July 2011. The meeting was conducted by Division President Christopher Ober (Cornell University, USA), whose term as president ended with the year 2011, and Michael Buback (University of Göttingen, Germany) who became president in 2012. Greg Russell (University of Christchurch, New Zealand) will be the next vice president. There were 43 participants from more than 20 countries, and several young scientists and observers.

The Polymer Division works to identify trends and challenges in polymer chemistry and related areas of materials science in order to provide an early spotlight on current developments and to respond to the question of what is needed from polymer science and education in the 21st century. Strategic conferences such as those supported by the polymer division can be a helpful tool.

Former Division President Chris Ober, with the winner of the video contest, Yvonne Cho Shuen Lan.

The division is increasing its efforts to get young scientists and more members from industry involved in its work through the activities of the division subcommittees. In particular, the division will increase its efforts to magnify the impact of the IUPAC mission by fostering the visibility of its work to both the scientific community and the general public by selected use of modern information technologies. The proper use of IUPAC Terminology and Nomenclature in journals and textbooks remains another focus of the division (in cooperation with Division VIII). Projects are in progress that will provide fast-and-easy access and early support for authors and editors.

As part of its efforts to reach out to the public and the chemistry community, the division—particularly its Subcommittee on Polymer Education—has been involved in several projects related to IYC. A video and essay contest called “A World without Polymers?” was held this year and three essays and three videos from Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe were selected as winners. Yvonne Choo Shuen Lann from Malaysia attended the Congress in San Juan to accept her first-place prize. (See article in Nov-Dec 2011 CI, page 24.) Each winner will receive a copy of Chemistry International and the division’s Purple Book, courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The division also worked with the Committee on Chemical Research Funding to hold a funding call supported by seven countries in Europe and the Americas to provide roughly USD 7 million in research support over the next three years. Other activities include a web-based multilingual glossary of polymer terminology and the sponsorship of a series of polymer conferences throughout the world over the course of IYC 2011.

Polymer Conferences
At the IUPAC Congress in San Juan, the Polymer Division contributed two sessions: ”Tailored Polymers by Precision Chain Polymerization,” organized by M. Sawamoto (Japan) and G. Moad (Australia), and the ”Polymer Chemistry Symposium–Young Polymer Chemists,” organized by Chris Ober (USA), T. Emrick (USA), and D. Smith (USA).

The Polymer Division granted IUPAC sponsorship to 21 conferences held between 2010 and the end of October 2011 covering almost every aspect of polymer chemistry and resulting in about 1580 printed pages in Macromolecular Symposia.

Division Organization
At the present time the division is formed from six subcommittees:

  • Polymer Terminology
  • Developing Polymer Materials
  • Polymer Education
  • Molecular Characterization
  • Structure and Properties of Commercial Polymers
  • Modeling of Polymer Kinetics
Attendees of the Polymer Division Meeting 2011, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As a result of the elections that were conducted during the last year there are a few changes in the division’s membership. Dick Dijkstra (Germany), Roger Hiorns (France), Przemyslav Kubisa (Poland), Graeme Moad (Australia), Werner Mormann (Germany), and Dennis Smith (USA) were elected as titular members. Jiasong He (China), Igor Lacik (Slovakia), Mitsuo Sawamoto (Japan), Yusuf Yagci (Turkey), and Majda Zigon (Slovenia) were elected as associate members. Greg Russell (New Zealand) was elected as incoming division vice president and Michael Hess (Germany) was re-elected as division secretary. National representatives for the biennium 2012–213 are Mubarak Ahmed Khan (Bangladesh), Nevenka Monolova (Bulgaria), Jiri Vohlidal (Czech Republic), Shlomo Margel (Israel), Mario Malinconio (Italy), Joon-Soep Kim (Republic of Korea), M. Ilyas Sarwar (Pakistan), Aziz M. Muzafarov (Russia), Gaspar Mhinzi (Tanzania), and Voravee P. Hoven (Thailand).

The next meeting of the division is scheduled for just before the IUPAC World Polymer Congress in June 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

ChemRAWN—CHEMical Research Applied to World Needs

The ChemRAWN Committee met for two days at the IUPAC Congress in San Juan. Twelve members from five continents, along with a number of observers, including two Young Observers, took part in a lively meeting under the chairmanship of Leiv Sydnes. The committee welcomed a new titular member, Nadia Kandile from Egypt (term begins in 2012) and look forward to additional associate members and national representatives in the near future. Nominations for these national representatives have been solicited and the committee has received a good response from several of our member countries.

ChemRAWN Chair Leiv Sydnes (center) talks with COCI Chair Michael Droescher (left) and René Deplanque, later elected Secretary General.

The most immediate activity of the committee is the ChemRAWN XIX Conference on Bioenergy and Biomaterials from Renewable Resources, held 27–29 September 2011 in Kuala Lumpur. Ting-Kueh Soon chaired this event, which included approximately 70 papers, mostly oral, on biorefining and biofuels with an emphasis on biodiesel. The conference focused on using biomass in ways that do not impinge on world food requirements or adversely affect the environment. As is always the case, a Future Actions Committee has been established to develop follow-up activities from the meeting.

Among the conference topics under consideration for the coming years, are the following:

  • Herbal Medicines—Issues would include definitions, testing protocols, quality assurance, safety, role of standard pharmaceutical companies, intellectual property issues, relations between local suppliers and commercial companies, and export issues.
  • Water—Interest in the subject of water in the Middle East arises out of earlier Malta meetings, but would also include a wider focus, especially on water treatment technologies.
  • Green Catalysis—The theme would be to discuss technologies that can simultaneously improve both the economy and the environment of a country. This subject would be built on IUPAC concepts of what is meant by green chemistry and would take a life-cycle approach.
  • Medical diagnostic technologies for resource-limited countries—This would be a sequel to a similar conference held in the USA about three years ago. The rationale was that such technologies could be highly beneficial in that they require minimal infrastructure and are low cost.
  • Solid-waste management—The kinds of waste would include both municipal urban and industrial wastes and possibly also agricultural waste. Where appropriate, methods for transforming waste into value-added products would be examined.

Each of these potential meetings is chaired by a ChemRAWN member or supporter and in all cases, liaison possibilities with other IUPAC committees are being investigated. Final decisions regarding which meetings will proceed will be made at subsequent meetings of the committee.

Chemistry and Human Health

The Division of Chemistry and Human Health met during the General Assembly in Puerto Rico, with subsequent meetings of the Subcommittees of Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Development, Nomenclature for Properties and Units, and Toxicology and Risk Assessment over the next few days. The division and subcommittees have 25 current projects classified as terms and glossaries, databases, clinical chemistry, drug discovery, and toxicology. Projects have been completed recently in the areas of mechanisms of metal sensitization, glossaries for immunotoxicology and for biomolecular screening, traditional plants as functional foods, and stand-alone drugs. Recent books include Analog Based Drug Discovery (Part II), Concepts in Toxicology, and Practical Studies for Medicinal Chemistry.

The Chemistry and Human Health Division hard at work in San Juan: John Duffus (left), chair of the Subcommittee on Toxicology and Risk Assessment, and Division President Doug Templeton.

The Subcommittee on Medicinal Chemistry announced the awarding of the 2010 IUPAC-Richter Prize to Professor Arun Ghosh of Purdue University for discovery of the darunavir for use against drug-resistant AIDS and development of new ß-secretase inhibitors for Alzheimer disease, using protein backbone-based structural design. As part of the IYC initiative, the subcommittee produced videos highlighting the importance of medicinal chemistry, including an informative lab tour and discussion with Ghosh held with high school students, and a historical look at drug discovery by Dr. Jan Heeres. The subcommittee hosted a Symposium on Discovery and Development of Drugs during the 43rd IUPAC Congress.

A significant initiative of the Subcommittee on Nomenclature for Properties and Units (NPU) is the harmonization of nomenclature in the clinical laboratory sciences. NPU is a joint task force of IUPAC and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. The NPU database includes about 20 000 entries (system, component, kind-of-property, result), and has been translated into 9 languages. The goal is that other databases LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes) SNOMED-CT (Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine—Clinical Terminology; owned by IHTSDO) may be mapped to one another, and to NPU. SNOMED would then have access to both systems, which are often more detailed than SNOMED-CT. This would make it possible to bring together and unify data from different terminology sources, and aid in the globalization of transmissible patient medical records.

A major continuing task of the Subcommittee on Toxicology and Risk Assessment is the development of glossaries in toxicology. The Glossary of Toxicology has been adapted by the National Library as a module of the toxicology tutorial “ToxLearn,” (, a joint project of the U.S. Society of Toxicology and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Part of the work is integrated as an annex in the Encyclopedia of Toxicology, and a Chinese translation is being considered. The Glossary of Terms in Ecotoxicology was published in 2009 and the Glossary of Terms in Immunotoxicology is now being finalized. In the future, the glossaries will be combined into a single online database, and may be expanded with further subspecialties. The Toxicology in the Classroom project (“Toxiclaro”), chaired by W. Temple, has received tremendous input from the partners in Malaysia. The online-learning program has been designed in a child-friendly way and is appropriate for use in school for children 10–12 years old. It is available on the internet and also as a CD.

We regret the passing of Emeritus Fellow F. William Sunderman Jr. and welcome new Emeritus Fellow Rita Cornelis.

Chemistry Education

Peter Mahaffy, 2006–2011 chair of CCE, poses with Michael Wadleigh and his Oscar. Wadleigh, winner of the 1970 Academy Award for Best Documentary, presented “The Homo Sapiens Report: The Future of Humanity” to members of the Committee on Chemistry Education.

In addition to its voting members, more than 35 guests with wide interests in chemistry education, including Young Observers, participated in the Committee on Chemistry Education’s meetings on 31 July and 1 August at the IUPAC General Assembly in San Juan. CCE reviewed its activities (International Year of Chemistry, chemistry education for development, Flying Chemist Program, Young Ambassadors of Chemistry Program), its relationship with other organizations (UNESCO, Federation of African Societies of Chemistry, Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, Chemical Heritage Foundation, International Council for Science, Network for Inter-Asian Chemistry Educators. European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences), and its completed, current, considered, and future projects.

The highlights and statistics of the 21st International Conference on Chemical Education (ICCE) in Taiwan in August 2010 as compiled by Mei-Hung Chiu were reviewed, and the details about the 22nd ICCE (“Stimulating Reflection and Catalyzing Change in Chemistry Education”), which will be held in Rome at Università “La Sapienza” on 15–20 July 2012, jointly with the 11th European Conference on Research in Chemical Education, were presented by Michele A. Floriano of the University of Palermo <>. A bid to host the 23rd ICCE (“Developing Learning Communities in the Chemical Sciences”) in Toronto on 13–18 July 2014, presented by Judith Poë from the University of Toronto, was accepted by CCE <>. A preliminary expression of interest was made by Ting-Kueh Soon, the National Representative of Malaysia, to host the 24th ICCE in that country in 2016. The hope was expressed that ICCE-2018 will be held in Latin America; alternatively, a site in Africa or Europe will be sought.

Attendees at the Committee on Chemistry Education meeting held at the 2011 IUPAC General Assembly in San Juan.

The committee recognized the contributions of Titular Members Ram Lamba (Puerto Rico), Lida Schoen (Netherlands), and Natalia Tarasova (Russia), whose lengths of service have ended, rendering them ineligible to serve again in that capacity. Their dedicated contributions were gratefully acknowledged. A Nominating Committee (Lida Schoen, Chair, Eva Åkesson, Choon Do, Morton Hoffman, and Richard Hartshorn) was appointed and proposed the following slate of candidates for the six open Titular Member positions: Jan Apotheker (Netherlands), Nina Aremo (Finland), Suzanne Boniface (New Zealand), Mei-Hung Chiu (Taiwan), Masahiro Kamata (Japan), Tina Overton (United Kingdom), Mustafa Sözbilir (Turkey), and Erica Steenberg (South Africa).

The next meeting of CCE will be in Rome on 15 and 18 July 2012 during the ICCE.


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