Meeting report

ECM22

Budapest, Hungary, August 2004

[ECM22 logo]The 22nd European Crystallographic Meeting took place in the Convention Centre of the Eötvös Loránd U., Budapest, Hungary, August 26-31, 2004 exactly thirty years after the 2nd European Crystallographic Meeting was organized in Keszthely, Hungary.

[Hall, Ohashi]Sydney Hall, Editor of International Tables for Crystallography Vol. G and Yuji Ohashi, President of AsCA.
Scientific organization and coordination of the conference were performed by the Single Crystal X-ray Diffraction Group of the Inst. of Structural Chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences under the auspices of the European Crystallographic Assn and the IUCr. In the absence of a Hungarian Crystallographic Assn, the Hungarian Chemical Society (A. Kálmán, President) and Chemol Travel provided professional help. The Organizing Committee consisted of the members of the Hungarian Nat’l Committee of IUCr; the ECA President, H. Fuess, Vice- and Past-presidents, M. Jaskolski and C. Lecomte; representatives of previous ECM’s, K. Lewinski and A. Roodt. Both the Organizing and Program Committee were chaired by A. Kálmán. The Program Committee consisted of H. Fuess and G. Heger; along with three representatives who were responsible for chemistry (A. Kálmán), physics (G. Faigel) and biology (V. Fülöp). The representatives of the thirteen Special Interest Groups (SIG) of ECA (H. Graafsma, V. Petrícek, U. Kolb, H.S. Effenberger, J.R. Helliwell, R. Boese, E. Mittemeijer, A.L. Spek, M.V. Kovalchuk, A. Polian, P.A. Thomas, and F.J. Lahoz) were also on the Program Committee.

[Sheldrick]George Sheldrick (right) received the MaxPerutz award of ECA in 2004 for his seminal contributions to the development of direct methods and for transfer of the methodology into a straightforward procedure for solving small molecule structures, as well as for his work in biological crystallography, in the areas of structure solution based on anomalous phasing and in the refinement of protein structures at atomic resolution.
At the Opening Ceremony Hartmut Fuess, Sándor Görög (President of the Dept of Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) and Bill Duax (President of the IUCr) greeted the participants. The “Max Perutz Prize” was awarded to George Sheldrick who gave a short talk since he was also a keynote speaker. At the Opening Ceremony the Rajkó Ensemble played music pieces from Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms.

[Burgi, Schwarzenbach]Hans-Beat Bürgi and Dieter Schwarzenbach in discussion during the coffee break.
The scientific program ran for four days. The morning and evening keynote sessions consisted of 16 lectures by eminent scientists based on the proposals of the SIGs: Macromolecular Crystallography (G.M. Sheldrick, W.D. Schubert, and D. Stuart); Molecular Interaction and Recognition ( J.L. Atwood, G. Klebe), Crystallography under Extreme Conditions (S. Klotz, M.I. McMahon; Molecular Structure and Chemical Properties (J. Elguero, J.A.K. Howard); Charge, Spin & Momentum Density (U. Pietsch), Aperiodic Crystals (S. van Smaalen), Electron Crystallography (A.S. Avilov), Instrumentation and Experimental Techniques (C. Nave), Powder Diffraction (C. Riekel), Crystallographic Computing (R.J. Read) and Material Science (J. Evans).

[SIG]Each microsymposium lasted two hours. Most of the chairs and co-chairs followed the suggestion of ECA to have two thirty minute comprehensive lectures followed by three twenty minute oral research reports. This allowed participants the opportunity to change microsymposia between talks. Five parallel sessions, forty microsymposia, with all together 203 lectures, presented high quality science. The number of contributions received for each microsymposia is shown in Fig. 1.

[The Europe]On board the “Europe” at the ECM22 conference dinner: Anders Liljas, his wife, Hank Schenk, Andrea Sharpe, Davide Viterbo, Giuseppe Filippini, and Maria Teresa Duarte.
Over 400 posters were presented in two poster sessions. Both poster sessions lasted two days with two hours for discussion in the afternoons. Four different poster prizes were awarded. RCSB PDB: For the best graduate / undergraduate student poster presentation involving macromolecular crystallography (Jacques-Philippe Colletier), CCDC: Three prizes in chemical crystallography (Ayesha Jacobs, Thammarat Aree, Zoran Stefanic), Oxford Cryosystem: Low Temperature Prize for describing applications involving low temperature crystallography (Philippe Fernandes), and Sigma-Aldrich (Fluka Chemistry): Youth Excellence Award to a young participant (Oleg Kovalev).

[Flack, Hursthouse]Howard Flack and Michael Hursthouse were talking about pre-print, e-print and institutional servers. Flack is the chair of the IUCr’s Committee on Electronic Publishing, archiving and dissemination of information, while Hursthouse has an interesting project running for the depositing, preservation and archiving of crystal structures.
The Abstract Book is available in different forms. A printed and CD version were distributed to participants at the venue as supplementary material of Acta Cryst. A, 60, Part a1, pp. s1-s308, 2004, and, for the first time in the history of ECM Meetings, they are available on the conference website (www.ecm22.mtesz.hu/).

[Closing ceremony]Closing ceremony. The Organizers from left to right: Alajos Kálmán, Franciska Morlin, Beáta Androsits,Nikoletta Báthori, László Fábián, Petra Bombicz.
The organization of ECM22 was fully electronic. Registration was highly encouraged to be performed via the conference website. Abstract submission was only possible using the on-line abstract submission system. The International Bursary Committee performed its task using a specially designed website allowing members to work together sitting in their own country. An internet corner with 22 computers and a slide check room were also available during the meeting. Wireless internet access was provided to the participants in the main hall. Both the first and second circulars advertising the meeting were published in the IUCr Newsletter.

[Kalman, Meervelt]Handing over the relay: Prof. Alajos Kálmán (chair of ECM22) and Prof. Luc Van Meervelt (chair of ECM23).
A three-day satellite conference, “Crystallography at the Start of the 21st Century: Mathematical and Symmetry Aspects”, preceeded ECM22 at the same venue: it was organized by Massimo Nespolo (U. Henri Poincaré, Nancy, France).

The IUCr Executive Committee Meeting took place August 24-26 in Budapest before the European meeting. ECM22 hosted several events during the conference: the ECA Executive Committee, the IUCr Journals Commission, the Oldenbourg Verlag, the Daresbury synchrotron radiation meeting for potential users, and all 13 Special Interest Groups of ECA.

A four and a half day exhibition accompanied the conference. Thirty companies offered products, equipments, books, and databases. The location of the exhibition area was centrally located on the way to the lecture theatres; coffee, tea and cakes were served on this area. Posters were displayed in the gallery of this spacious hall illuminated by natural light through the glass roof.

Thanks to the generosity of IUCr and ECA over seventy students and young researchers were partially supported to attend the meeting. A student mixer was also organized to foster new contacts and friendships with possible scientific fruits in the future. A concert entertained the participants in St. Matthias Church one evening. The piece, the Hungarian Coronation Mass, was composed by Franz Liszt for the coronation of the Emperor of Austria and the Empress Elisabeth as King and Queen of Hungary that premiered in this church on June 8, 1867. The closing ceremony and conference dinner took place on board the boat “Europe” cruising on the Danube, providing a panoramic view of the capital. An optional Hungarian dinner, accompanying persons’ tour every day and organized programs on the excursion day completed the social programs.

Although countries of Africa and the Middle-East belong to the ECA, scientists from 45 countries of five continents attended ECM22. The highest number of participants arrived from the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and the USA. Nearly five hundred researchers, 150 students, exhibitors and some 60 registered accompanying persons contributed to the success of the 22nd European Crystallographic Meeting. The efforts and hard work of the members of the Program and Organizing Committee, the official organizers and the contributions of the sponsors are highly appreciated.

For more information, visit www.ecm22.mtesz.hu.

Petra Bombicz, ECM22 Secretary and Alajos Kálmán, ECM22 Chair