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Vol. 31 No. 6
November-December 2009

IUPAC in Glasgow, Scotland: Division Roundups

A substantial amount of the General Assembly in Glasgow was devoted to division and standing committee meetings, each of which spanned two days. Following are brief accounts of some of these meetings (part two will appear in the next issue). Prior to the GA, all divisions and standing committees provided a written report that is part of the Council Agenda book available online.

Division I: Physical and Biophysical Chemistry
by Michel J. Rossi, division president

The Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division has 24 projects running, 8 nearing completion or recently completed, and 7 on-going interdivisional.

The Green Book remains a focal point of the division. The third edition, resulting from the activities of the Subcommittee on Symbols, Terminology and Units in Physical Chemistry, was published just in time for the GA in Torino (August 2007) and was met with great acclaim, with 782 copies sold as of April 2009. Building on this success, Division I supported two follow-on projects: the underwriting of a student edition of the Green Book and the preparation of the translation of the Green Book into six languages (German, French, Italian, Turkish, Japanese, Portuguese).

Michel J. Rossi.

One of the core activities of the division, and of IUPAC for that matter, is the creation and maintenance of physical and biophysical databases that are critically evaluated. Recent examples include atmospheric chemistry, ionic liquids, spectroscopic transitions of water vapor, free radical reduction/oxidation potentials in solution, annotated phase diagrams, combustion kinetics. As an increasing number of these databases will end up on the web, IUPAC must consider policies for the maintenance and upgrade of such websites. It was suggested that large science organizations such as the U.S. National Science Foundation could be solicited for help in cases where data were of unusual utility to the science
community.

For the foreseeable future, Division I may tackle energy-related questions and, in fact, already has made inroads into this technologically important field. Several aspects were felt to lie within the expertise of Division I: energy storage, hydrogen economy, materials chemistry and corrosion issues, and alternative fuels and biofuels. Some of the topics will be pursued in collaboration with Divisions III and VI.

Pierangelo Metrangolo made a presentation on the emerging field of halogen bonding, which resulted in an IUPAC proposal. Other promising projects may come from biophysical chemistry and materials chemistry.

Visits by members of other divisions triggered the interest of pursuing traceability work in experimental science for environmental measurements where long-time series and comparisons between instruments on a global scale are an issue. It behooves IUPAC to keep a close eye on the reported global watch of physical observables made in conjunction with climate change and the related problem of instrument comparability.

Division members held a wide-ranging brainstorming session on how to contribute to the International Year of Chemistry in 2011.

Division VI: Chemistry and the Environment
by Willie Peijnenburg, division secretary

Members of Division VI in Glasgow.

As usual during GAs, the Division on Chemistry and the Environment met to review the progress of projects that are being supervised by the division, liaison with other divisions, meet with standing committees, discuss proposals for new projects, and to initiate ideas for future proposals. An important topic of discussion was the status and future of the food chemistry subcommittee. On top of the division meeting, a special symposium was organized during the 42nd IUPAC conference entitled “Analytical and Risk Considerations for Emerging Environmental Issues.”

Attendance at the division meeting was good: 14 out of 24 members took part. One invited observer (Sirpa Herve from Finland) and two young observers (Mohammed Shoeb from Bangladesh and Jon Schwantes of the USA) also participated.

During the meeting, it was concluded that the division is quite active: prior to the meeting, 27 projects were on the list for the 2008–2009 biennium. Eleven of the projects have been successfully finished by means of either a technical report or by the organization of a workshop or related activity. Of note are the two new volumes prepared for the series of books on Biophysico-Chemical Processes in Soil Environments. The division is also employing the Web to disseminate its work (e.g., <agrochemicals.iupac.org> and <www.iupacrio2009.org>). Further efforts are needed to maintain and update the Web sites.

A number of new projects were discussed, such as chemical recycling and management of waste; measurement procedures used in estimation of global pollution; and the role of carbohydrates in leaching of metals.

Prior to the Glasgow GA, a proposal was brought forward for the institution of an Interdivisional (I, III, V, VI) Committee on Green Chemistry. The division positively supported the proposal to establish the committee, and awaits feedback from other divisions.

The division participates in the activities of the Interdivisional Committee on Terminology, Nomenclature and Symbols by reviewing technical reports submitted for publication in Pure and Applied Chemistry. Of special interest is the Glossary of Terms Used in Ecotoxicology (IUPAC Recommendations 2009) by Monica Nordberg, Douglas Templeton, Ole Andersen, and John Duffus since the glossary is very impressive and may be very helpful not only for ecotoxicologists themselves and researchers working in the fields of environmental chemistry, but for risk assessors and regulators as well. It was agreed that in the future the Division of Chemistry and the Environment should collaborate more actively with other committees and ICTNS. Such joint projects may promote comprehensive, interdisciplinary approaches to terminology that is used in different fields. This may help to avoid numerous mutual misunderstandings that often occur. It was agreed that a proposal will be prepared for a glossary on environmental chemistry.

A continuous problem for the division remains the implementation of an active subcommittee on food chemistry; strengthening the subcommittee is essential, since this is the only division that is active in the area of food chemistry. Topics of interest are “nanoparticles in food and feed” (both natural and synthetic nanoparticles) and “allergens.” It was decided to strongly revive the activities within the area of food chemistry, with Christoph von Holst as the nucleus. Among others projects, a workshop on “Emerging Chemicals in Food and Feed” will be organized.

In general, the division officers were pleased with progress of the division activities. As a matter of course, the division will contribute actively to activities initiated within the International Year of Chemistry. At the closing of the meeting there was a big word of thanks for the services of the division members who will leave the division after varying numbers of years of service within IUPAC. Fortunately, most of the departing members have indicated that they wish to stay involved in the work of the division.

Division VII: Chemistry and Human Health
by Doug Templeton, division president

The Division of Chemistry and Human Health met at the Glasgow GA to review its activities for the past year and plan for the next biennium. Planning for IYC includes initiatives in highlighting the role of chemistry in furthering our health, and exploring the interplay between our health and our environment.

Doug Templeton.

A significant development in the division is activity to harmonize nomenclature in medical laboratory science. Common terminology is being developed among (1) the IUPAC/IFCC-owned NPU database, (2) Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine—Clinical Terms of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization in Copenhagen, and (3) the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes at Indiana University. This initiative is conducted by the Subcommittee on Nomenclature for Properties and Units. Legal agreements to proceed are being put in place, and the ultimate outcome will be a common global vocabulary for expression of properties and units in the clinical laboratory.

A major contribution of the Subcommittee for Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Development is the awarding of the USD 10 000 IUPAC-Richter Prize for lifetime contributions in medicinal chemistry. Previous winners are Malcolm Stevens for the development of several anticancer drugs (including Temodal™), and Jan Heeres for discovery of ketoconazole and development of other conazole antimycotics. The prize will be awarded again in 2010. The work of the three winners will be highlighted as part of IYC; for instance, by disseminating taped video interviews aimed at a lay audience.

A major output of the Toxicology and Risk Assessment Subcommittee is the publication of a unique textbook called Concepts in Toxicology (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2009, ISBN 978-0-85404-157-2). The book contains a series of essays placed in a conceptual framework that offers a new way of understanding toxicology from the molecular and cellular, to the environmental and legislative levels. The subcommittee also hosted a symposium on “Bioinorganic Toxicology: Poison or Cure?” at the Congress, where Peter Sadler gave the keynote address on “Using Coordination Chemistry to Design New Medicines.” A website has been established by the Toxiclaro project, jointly with Universiti Sains Malaysia, that teaches children (and hopefully by extension, their parents) about the safe use of pesticides. It can be found at <ww.prn2.usm.my/toxicology2009> (see article, page 17 in print).

The division has implemented a limited sponsorship that grants endorsement for relevant meetings and symposia to organizations that must then display the words “IUPAC Division of Chemistry and Human Health” on their advertisements and abstract booklets. They must also afford the opportunity to publicize the division’s activities. Sponsorship decisions are made rapidly at the divisional level.

The division introduced a program of emeritus fellowship to involve and honor those who have previously made outstanding contributions to the division and to IUPAC itself. Our initial inductees are Stanley Brown, René Dybkaer, Urban Forsum, Philippe Grandjean, Lester Mitscher, Henrik Olesen, Bill Sundermann Jr., John Topliss, and Camille-Georges Wermuth. In the future, each of the three subcommittees will appoint one emeritus fellow at each General Assembly.


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