Leading International Catalysis Researchers Convene at Heidelberg University

Leading international researchers in the field of molecular catalysis will gather at Heidelberg University on June 28 for the “Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis” (HFMC 2013). The organisers expect approx. 500 participants in the high-profile symposium, which is held every two years, this year for the seventh time.

Hosting the symposium are the university and the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 623) “Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design”. BASF is providing support for the event and will be honouring an outstanding young researcher with the BASF Catalysis Award, endowed with 10,000 euros.

The symposium will focus on key research issues and the latest findings from research in molecular catalysis. Three world-renowned experts in catalysis research will deliver the plenary lectures: Prof. Dr. Stephen L. Buchwald of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (USA), Prof. Dr. Peter Chen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland) and Prof. Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University in West Lafayette/Indiana (USA), who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2010. The symposium will also feature approx. 120 posters submitted by attendees.

This year’s recipient of the BASF Catalysis Award is Prof. Dr. Nicolai Cramer of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Nicolai Cramer studied chemistry in Stuttgart from 1998 to 2003. After a research stay at the University of Osaka in Japan, he began postdoctoral work at Stanford University in 2006. He subsequently completed his habilitation at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. Prof. Cramer has been teaching and conducting research at the EPFL since 2010. The scientist will introduce his innovative work in the area of catalysis for organic synthesis in the fourth plenary lecture.

“Catalysis represents one of the 21st century’s key future technologies in chemistry”, states Heidelberg chemist Prof. Dr. Peter Hofmann, who initiated the symposium series. Catalysts enable the creation of new materials, agents and functional materials from the building blocks of animate and inanimate nature. Catalysts can accelerate chemical reactions, minimise energy consumption and prevent undesirable by-products and waste, thus optimising chemistry both ecologically and economically. As Prof. Hofmann explains, molecular catalysts serve especially as customised “tools” and highly-specialised “synthesis machines” in atomic dimensions.

Over the last eleven years, the Collaborative Research Centre “Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), has studied the structure and function of catalytically active molecules with the aim of developing innovative ways to rationally design new types of catalysts. CRC 623, whose research activities range from biocatalysis in the living cell to large-scale synthesis of basic chemicals, is wrapping up the third and final DFG funding period.

The “Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis” will be held on 28 June 2013 from 9 am to 6 pm in the main lecture hall of the Chemistry lecture building (Im Neuenheimer Feld 252). Anyone interested is invited to attend. Between 12.30 and 4 pm HFMC attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Catalysis Research Laboratory (CaRLa) where scientists from Heidelberg University collaborate with BASF researchers in the area of chemical catalysis.

Prof. Dr. Peter Hofmann
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Phone: +49 6221 54-8502

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