The 12th Chemistry Conference for Young Scientists (ChemCYS 2014) coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Royal Flemish Chemical Society (KVCV 75) and was organized in Blankenberge, Belgium on 27-28 February 2014. 329 participants from 37 countries participated.
See the full program at http://www.chemcys.be.
The two-day program consisted of plenary lectures by international speakers and parallel sessions with oral communication by young scientists in the different research fields. The invited speakers were: Philip Taylor (European Commission, JRC, IRMM, Belgium); Christine Van Broeckhoven (University of Antwerp, Belgium); Klaus Roth (FU Berlin, Germany); and Santiago Gómez-Ruiz (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain). Two additional poster sessions and a KaféCV were also organized providing numerous opportunities for participants to meet and exchange impressions and experiences on professional careers in the chemical industry.
Some selected topics are briefly presented and commented upon hereafter.
A remarkable seminar was given by Philip Taylor (IRMM) on “TrainMiC”, the European programme for life-long learning about how to interpret the metrological requirements of ISO/IEC-17025 for chemical and bio-analytical measurements in many different sectors (environment, food, consumer protection, etc.).
The program provides “training of the trainers” for “Metrology in Chemistry” (MiC), showing the absolute necessity of regularly evaluating the quality of the results of chemical measurements in view of their unreliability under the slightly ironical title “Plug and Play—also in analysis?” (See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiN4mvvTmYw)
Interacting with attendants in the auditorium, revealed the almost total lack of correct answers from the floor to the following basic questions in matters of chemical analysis: What are you trying to measure? For what purpose are you going to do the measurement? What is your analytical measurement procedure? Where is it described? How do you know your procedure works? What are your problem areas in obtaining reliable data? What do you do to assure the quality of your data? Is somebody else in the lab concerned about quality?
Christine Van Broekhoven summarized in “Molecular pathways underlying neurodegenerative processes in dementia” the present status of knowledge about the chemistry involved in the Alzheimer disease, in which she is one of the world’s top authorities: a very impressive synthesis encouraging the young attendants to join the very promising (and useful) field of research.
Prof Klaus Roth gave an appreciated lecture on “Beer – from the first glass to a hangover” and all of the chemistry involved.
Prof Santiago Gómez-Ruiz spoke about “The Art of Scientific Writing,” a title very well suited to the young public. He explained his top tips for putting a research paper together. His advice included: “self-cite only when necessary,” “don’t include waste words in your title,” and “never include something in your methods section that is crucial for understanding a paper.” See more at www.yourformula.eu/internalposts/the-art-of-scientific-writing-at-chemcys/.
I was asked to present IUPAC to the audience before the Poster Prizes for Young Chemists were issued. I recalled that IUPAC actually was born as a reaction against the use of chlorine in World War I, starting now exactly 100 years ago.
In summary, it was a very well organized conference where the average age of participants was about 15-20 years below the average age of attendants of most Conferences I have attended before. And it gave me a lot of satisfaction to be able to represent IUPAC to young chemists who were not familiar with the Union.
Paul De Bièvre has been active in IUPAC since 1971 in various committees, including the Inorganic Chemistry Division, the Analytical Chemistry Division, and the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights.