The 41st Colloquium Spectroscopicum Internationale and 1st Latin American Meeting on LIBS: a long tradition of spectroscopy and new horizons
by C. Sánchez-Aké*, M. Villagrán-Muniz, M. B. de la Mora, and O. Depablos-Rivera
The 41st Colloquium Spectroscopicum Internationale (CSI XLI) was held in Mexico City, Mexico from 9-14 June 2019. The CSI is a conference with remarkable tradition in the field of analytic spectroscopy. It provides an international forum for scientists to discuss and share novel developments, frontier knowledge, and applications in all branches of spectroscopy. The first edition of the CSI was held in France in 1950 with the participation of representatives from 13 European countries. The reputation of the CSI grew rapidly over the years, the first nine editions were hosted in Europe and from the tenth edition in 1962, the CSI has been hosted in different countries of the five continents assuming its current world-wide international character. This is the second time the CSI is organized in Latin America, after the CSI XXXVII celebrated on 2011 in Buzios, Brazil.
As this was the first CSI in Mexico, it was only natural that the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the oldest and largest Latin American universities, had the honor to host the 2019 edition. UNAM has almost 300 thousand students, mainly from Mexico, but also from other countries. It has 21 scientific research institutes and 9 centers, making it one of the most important in the region. The conference venue was the Exhibition and Congress Centre, located in the main campus of the UNAM. The Central University City Campus of UNAM was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
The CSI 2019 was held in parallel with the first Latin American Meeting on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LAMLIBS), which sought to bring together the largest possible number of groups in Latin America working in this LIBS. Successfully, many students and researchers from Latin America attended both conferences (around 50 %), thereby impacting positively scientific research in the region and expanding the horizon of future collaborations and networks. It is well known that the participation of Latin American colleagues in these kind of conferences is limited because we do not have enough financial resources to attend these events. The simultaneous organization of the CSI and LAMLIBS had a positive impact on both conferences by promoting the synergy and collaboration between the conference’s participants.
Both conferences were organized by the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology of the UNAM, with the collaboration of colleagues from several academic institutions of Mexico and the participation of prestigious researchers in the CSI’s International Advisory Board and the LAMLIBS Scientific Committee. The conferences were held under the auspices of IUPAC, the Optical Society of America (OSA), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT), the Mexican Physical Society and the Mexican Chemical Society.
For five days, 290 participants from 32 countries exchanged their research work and innovative ideas. Plenary, invited, and keynote lectures were presented by recognized scientists in various kinds of spectrometry such as atomic, mass, molecular, nuclear, X-Ray, and others. Applications in archaeometry, materials, medicine, biology, industry, forensic, and environmental sciences along with fundaments were presented in 92 oral presentations and 170 posters. The seven plenary lectures, held by eminent researchers: Da-Wen Sun (National University of Ireland/South China University of Technology), Jorge Peón-Peralta (Institute of Chemistry, National and Autonomous University of Mexico), Joana Szpunar (French National Research Council), Alessandro DeGiacomo (University of Bari, Italy), Mischa Bonn (Max Planck Institute for Polymers, Germany), Zoltan Mester (National Research Council Canada) and Ralph Sturgeon (National Research Council Canada), were broadcast live on the web channel of the UNAM in order to extend the impact to the conference. Fourteen invited lectures and fifteen keynote presentations were given by outstanding scientists within 17 parallel sessions.
The last day of the conference was dedicated to awards and student poster prizes. Ralph Sturgeon was the recipient of the 2019 CSI Award (a prestigious Life Achievement Award) to recognize his contributions to analytical spectrometry through the improvement and developing of new methods for trace elements analysis. The 1st LAMLIBS Award was presented to Vincenzo Palleschi to recognize his outstanding contribution to fundamentals and applications of LIBS. The poster prizes sponsored by OSA and the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry were given in recognition of outstanding poster presentation to 6 students.
Two special sessions were held at the conferences: a round table of LIBS in Latin America and a session dedicated to LIBS and the periodic table of elements. The latter was part of the celebration of the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table. The former was aimed to discuss the current situation of LIBS research in the region to promote the collaboration and strategic alliances between research groups. As a result, a committee with representatives from each country was set up seeking to organize a second LAMLIBS meeting. Our aim is to apply spectroscopy in the use and management of local natural resources and the preservation of local cultural heritage.
IUPAC contributed extensively with the CSI XLI-I LAMLIBS conference by means of its Program Financial Support for Conferences for Scientifically Emerging Regions (FSC-SER). The IUPAC support allowed the attendance of one invited researcher from Argentina and 10 students from Latin America countries. The President of the IUPAC Analytical Chemistry Division and CSI’s Continuation Committee member, Zoltan Mester, gave a plenary lecture about the new definition of the mole, which gathered large interest from the conference participants.
The National Delegate’s Meeting of CSI XLI was held during the conference, where it was unanimously decided that Japan will host the CSI 2023. The next edition of the CSI in 2021 will be held in Gijon, Spain chaired by the Professor Jose Manuel Costa from the University of Oviedo to continue with the important tradition to share frontier knowledge around spectroscopy.
In addition to the academic activities, cultural and social activities were performed to better know the wide cultural heritage of Mexico and to celebrate the diversity of the different participants from all over the world.