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International chemistry insights

29 May 2012

International Chemistry Insights webThe invited speakers (left to right) Professor Peidong Yang, Professor John Maier FRS, Professor David O'Hagan, Professor Jeremy Hutson FRS, Professor Clare Grey FRS and Professor David Crich.
The School of Chemistry has hosted its latest annual conference, with distinguished external speakers presenting fascinating work spanning the chemistry spectrum.

Professor Peidong Yang, University of California Berkeley, opened the event with an overview of the use of semiconductor nanowires for energy conversion. Professor Clare Grey FRS, University of Cambridge, also focused on energy research, giving a lucid account of new technology for batteries and supercapacitors.

Professor Jeremy Hutson FRS, Durham University, challenged views of what it is to be truly cold, with a lecture on the behaviour of molecules when cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. To understand the intriguing properties of molecules under such extreme conditions, Professor Hutson exploited a combined theoretical and experimental approach, based on extensive use of spectroscopic measurements. Further illustrations of the deep insights provided by advanced spectroscopy were revealed by Professor John Maier FRS, University of Basel, who introduced the unusual molecules that exist in interstellar space.

New directions in the chemistry of organic and biological systems were described by Professor David O’Hagan, St. Andrews, and Professor David Crich, Wayne State University, USA. The former enlightened his audience on the novelty and importance of fluorinase enzymes, and the latter demonstrated the advantages of adopting a physical organic chemistry based approach in the study of glycolylation reactions.

A number of shorter lectures were given by PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from the Cardiff School of Chemistry: Dr Grazia Bezzu, Simon Freakley, Chris Parlett, Dr Tracy Nixon, Dr Robert Mart, Dr Colan Hughes, Umar Farid, Heulyn Jones and Dr Emma Carter. The conference also included a lively poster session, which gave all final-year PhD students the opportunity to present their research.

Chris Parlett (working with Professor Adam Lee and Dr Karen Wilson) was awarded the prize for best lecture by a postgraduate student, while Rebecca Balasingham (working with Dr Mike Coogan and Dr Simon Pope) was awarded the prize for best poster. The prizes for second and third places in the poster competition were awarded to Sarah Adams (working with Professor Rudolf Allemann) and Rupert Taylor (working with Professor Neil McKeown).

The next Cardiff Chemistry Conference, the 12th in the series, will be held in May 2013.

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