The Organic Reaction Mechanisms Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry is involved with promoting british physical organic chemistry throughout the UK and internationally. We aim to be a forum for those physical organic chemists who are applying their expertise to both traditional and new problems, and to those chemists across these diverse areas who identify a physical organic component in their approach to their sphere of research.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

3rd Castleton Meeting a success!

Once again, the Physical Organic Chemists's Residential meeting was a resounding success. Read More ...

In May 2004, the RSC Organic Reaction Mechanisms Group established the “Physical Organic Chemists Residential Meeting” in a location in the Peak District close to Castleton. The meeting was judged a success by all in attendance, and has been continued on an annual basis. The third such event was held in the same location from July 23rd – 25th 2006. The meeting was made up of group leaders giving short talks and accompanying postdoctoral fellows and PhD students presenting posters, with time set aside for informal discussion (similar to the format used by Gordon conferences). Over 45 people attended the event from all parts of the UK.

The event focused on topics relevant to physical organic chemistry (POC), which covers a wide field based around understanding and influencing chemistry at the molecular level, especially quantitatively or mechanistically. The RSC Organic Reaction Mechanisms Group represents the interests of POC, and is actively trying to strengthen and encourage younger members of the community by developing a stronger network and ensure a healthy future for the subject.

Dr Simon Webb from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester, one of the young academics who attended the event in July 2006, commented "The scientific programme at the Castleton meeting was diverse and a wide variety of topics were covered in the programme, showing the breadth of physical organic research today. Excellent presentations were made on subjects ranging from fundamental studies on molecular recognition to novel self-replicating chemical systems. The organisers promoted an informal feel during the meeting, which helped to stimulate lively discussions during lectures and the poster session. From a personal point of view, as a newly appointed researcher, the informal and friendly nature of Castleton meeting made it an excellent way of meeting other researchers working in complementary parts of the discipline, many of whom are also newly-appointed staff. In particular, having a chance to discuss with other researchers their thoughts on reactivity and recognition at surfaces was especially useful."

The “Physical Organic Chemists Residential Meeting” in July 2006 was also a useful forum for young postdoctoral research associates with aims of establishing a career in POC in either industry or academia. According to Dr Ian Greig, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry in the University of Bath "The residential summer meeting of the RSC's Organic Reaction Mechanisms group illustrated the increasingly ecumenical nature of the physical organic community in the UK and beyond. Topic covered included classical kinetic studies of reaction mechanisms, supramolecular chemistry, and theoretical organic and biological chemistry. Its informal atmosphere is a pleasant deviation from the norm and encourages a forum for the exchange of ideas as well as results. These ideas reflected all stages of the scientific process from the inception of an idea, through preliminary studies of mechanisms, to a detailed analysis of binding contributions to catalysis. Memorable contributions included a discussion of a century-old reaction that has resided, virtually untouched, in the literature since and 'pre-grant-writing' thinking and initial studies associated with self-assembly, molecular recognition and medium effects. As a post-doc returning to the UK after a time spent abroad, this meeting provided a welcome opportunity to touch base with a community that I had been too distant from for the past couple of years."

The 2006 Residential Meeting filled the Castleton venue to capacity, which is a trend that will hopefully be repeated in future years. The next “Physical Organic Chemists Residential Meeting” will be held in summer 2007.

Participants at the “Physical Organic Chemists Residential Meeting”in the Peak District close to Castleton in July 2006


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