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42nd National Organic Symposium

Dixit Parmar

16 Sept 2011

Leverhulme Travel Bursar Dixit Parmar sent this report from the 42nd National Organic Symposium held in Princeton, New Jersey in June 2011.

'This prestigious conference is held every two years and dates back to 1925. This year it consisted of 14 plenary speakers and over 300 poster presentations. This organic chemistry conference is one of the largest of its kind.

I attended the conference to be exposed to the highest calibre of organic chemistry currently been undertaken at the leading universities. The symposium was host to speakers and students from all around the world. In addition to my attendance, I also presented my PhD research as a poster titled ‘Reductive cyclisation cascades of lactones using SmI2 and H2O’. The concept of my research is to take simple lactone substrates with pendant radical acceptors and upon treatment with SmI2-H2O, I have found they undergo a radical-cascade to form complex azulene cores. I presented my poster on the 1st evening of the conference and it was received very well by everyone. They also provided me with some useful ideas which will hopefully guide my research for the remainder of my PhD studies.

The 2nd day of the symposium was the beginning of the invited speaker’s lectures. To start with Professor Amir H. Hoveyda gave us an excellent talk on ‘Z-Selective Olefin Metathesis Reactions’. He explained the challenges and his successes in overcoming a problem many chemists have faced. I found some of his experimental details particularly relevant to the research I carry out and hope to use some of these procedures in the near future. Following this was Professor Michael Krische’s lecture on ‘The Formation of C-C Bonds via Hydrogenation’. He presented some outstanding chemistry using Iridium and Rhodium catalysts to form C-C bonds between unsaturated systems and carbonyl or imine coupling partners. Some of the other highlight talks included Professor Hisashi Yamamoto speaking about the rapid synthesis of polyketides and Professor Vy Dong talking about the formation of complex lactones using a Rhodium catalyst.

The chemistry covered by the plenary speakers covered a broad spectrum of topics including total synthesis, novel methodology, C-H activation and medicinal chemistry. All the speakers were leading figures in their area and gave some excellent talks. The poster sessions on each night were also a great way of discussing chemistry with academics, industrialists and the postgraduate students carrying out the chemistry. Amongst the chemists I spoke to I was fortunate enough to be able to discuss my chemistry with Professor Robert Flowers who studies in-depth the mechanisms of SmI2 chemistry especially with the use of additives. He was very interested in the chemistry I was presenting and even discussed the possibility of a collaboration to learn more about the kinetics concerning my research.

I thank the SCI for awarding me the Leverhulme Travel Bursary which has allowed me to attend the 42nd National Organic Symposium. The conference has given me a greater insight into some of the excellent chemistry currently taking place. It also gave me the opportunity to present my work to an international audience and receive some valuable feedback on my work. These ideas will hopefully shape the final year of my research. Some of the chemistry I have observed may also help me decide my future career path.'

Dixit Parmar
University of Manchester

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