Messel bursar Catherine Lyall on the 14th European Symposium of Organic Reactivity

24 Sep 2013

With financial support from SCI via a Messel Travel Bursary, I recently attended the 14th European Symposium of Organic Reactivity (ESOR 2013), which took place from 1 - 6 September 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic. I was particularly interested in attending this conference as it seemed to be very closely connected with my PhD research.

Some of my research has involved looking at a reaction mechanism in-depth, so I was keen to discuss the techniques and results with other members of the field from around Europe and indeed further afield. I was also anticipating having my knowledge in the area both broadened and deepened by watching presentations by some well-known speakers.

I had hoped to have my abstract accepted for a poster presentation, which it initially was. However, I was later contacted by the organisers inquiring if I would still like to speak, as in my abstract submission form I had indicated I would be happy to speak or present a poster. This was a fantastic, although nerve-wracking, opportunity that I just couldn't decline, despite knowing I would have a lot of tough acts to follow!

Fortunately, my twenty minute slot was scheduled for the first full day of the conference, so I was soon able to relax and benefit from the great chemistry up for discussion. I enjoyed having the opportunity to present my PhD research to an international audience, which I’d never imagined I’d be in a position to do. The questions and comments that people contributed after the presentation were enlightening; allowing me to see my work as others were seeing it for the first time.

With speakers from over 20 countries and delegates from over 30, there was no doubt the research was discussed on a world stage. With almost 140 posters, there was plenty of chance to read about additional novel research over coffee and lunch breaks, as well as the dedicated poster sessions.

In particular, plenary lectures from Helmut Schwarz, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa (to name but a few) covered some fascinating research and were delivered with an enthusiasm that couldn’t help but keep the audience enraptured.

It has been an illuminating experience to attend an international conference with the wealth of conversation and expertise available. I have had many discussions about current chemistry research, both mine and others, which won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Catherine Lyall
University of Bath

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