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Cardiff Chemistry Conference

18 May 2012

The School of Chemistry recently hosted the latest in a long-running series of annual conferences, with a number of distinguished external speakers presenting work spanning the broad spectrum of chemistry.

Professor Peidong Yang (University of California Berkeley, USA) opened the event with a fascinating overview of his work on 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 and demonstrating the advantages of using in-situ solid-state NMR experiments to advance a detailed understanding of this field.

If you thought you knew the meaning of ‘cold’, Professor Jeremy Hutson FRS (Durham University) would have challenged your view 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, Switzerland), who provided a fascinating account of the unusual molecules that exist in interstellar space.

New directions in the chemistry of organic and biological systems were expertly described by Professor David O’Hagan (St. Andrews) and Professor David Crich (Wayne State University, USA), with the former enlightening a captive audience of the novelty and importance of fluorinase enzymes, and the latter demonstrating 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 this series) will be held in May 2013.

Cardiff Chemistry Conference 2012