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A Celebration of Organic Chemistry Symposium

20 June 2012

On Friday 15th June 2012, the School of Chemistry hosted a special one-day symposium to celebrate the contribution that organic chemistry makes to society and to mark the career of Professor Keith Smith, who will retire later this year. Professor Smith has spent most of his academic career in South Wales, having moved to Cardiff in 2007 after almost 35 years at the Department of Chemistry, Swansea University. He has had professional collaborations/associations with most of the speakers.

The programme was opened by Professor Akira Suzuki (Hokkaido University, Japan), one of the recipients of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, who talked about the discovery of the reaction that now bears his name and has improved the quality of life of millions of people due to its widespread adoption in the pharmaceutical industry. Professor Bathkan Singaram (University of California Santa Cruz, USA) described the development of the first device to use a thin-film hydrogel for continuous sensing of glucose. Continuing the biological theme Professor Hiroyuki Nakamura (Gakushuin University, Japan) presented his group’s work on carboranylphenoxyacetanilides as HIF-1a inhibitors.

The next two speakers described work with an environmental theme, firstly with Dr Gamal El-Hiti (Cardiff University) discussing green methods for the regioselective substitution of aromatic compounds, and Professor Natalija Koprivanac (University of Zagreb, Croatia) presenting the use of oxidation chemistry for the treatment of waste water.

After lunch, Professor Tim Donohoe (Oxford University, UK), who was awarded the RSC Synthetic Organic Chemistry Award 2011, presented a showcase of his group’s work in a number of areas ultimately focused on target synthesis. This was followed by Dr Mark Elliott (Cardiff University) talking about the application of desymmetrisation reactions in the preparation of compounds with quaternary stereocentres, and Dr Gareth Pritchard (Loughborough University, UK) describing the reactions of vinylcyclopropanes to give highly functionalised heterocyclic systems.

Finally, Professor Ei-Ichi Negishi (Purdue University, USA) another of the recipients of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, showcased his group’s work in the areas of palladium-catalysed cross-coupling and zirconium-catalysed carboalumination.

The symposium was organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry in conjunction with the Learned Society of Wales and the School of Chemistry of Cardiff University. It was followed by a private dinner at the Saint David's Hotel, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and attended by a number of eminent scientists including the Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales, the President of Cardiff University and the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, as well as several of the speakers from the symposium.

A Celebration of Organic Chemistry

L-R: Professor Akira Suzuki, Professor Keith Smith, Professor Ei-ichi Negishi

A Celebration of Organic Chemistry

L - R: Dr Mark Elliott, Prof. Bathkan Singaram, Dr Gamal El-Hiti, Prof. Tim Donohoe, Prof. Akira Suzuki, Prof. Natalija Koprivanac, Prof. Keith Smith, Prof. Hiroyuki Nakamura, Prof. Ei-Ichi Negishi and Dr Gareth Pritchard.