Meeting report (IUCr supported)
25th International Conference on the Chemistry of the Organic Solid State (ICCOSS XXV)
The 25th edition of the International Conference on the Chemistry of the Organic Solid State (ICCOSS XXV) marks an important milestone in the ICCOSS series of conferences, which for nearly half a century has been gathering the organic solid-state research community. We are thrilled to have hosted this event in one of the most distinct cultural, spiritual and historic cities of Europe, the city of Ohrid in Macedonia. Marking half a century of this conference series, the theme of this conference was “(Re)building bridges in the solid-state research community”, as a highlight of our determination to bring the community together in a post-pandemic world. The conference took place in a venue on the shores of Ohrid Lake, a double UNESCO World heritage site, and the oldest lake in Europe. The lake is also one of the three oldest on Earth and, having existed continuously for approximately 1.4 million years, it is a living museum of endemic life forms. The picturesque town of Ohrid, one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, is a religious and cultural center of Eastern Europe, and nearly 1100 years ago the Ohrid Literary School was founded here, which is considered to be the first Slavic university.
The conference included four plenary speakers coming from four continents. It was opened by a plenary lecture from Craig Eckhardt (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) who led the audience through the past half a century of evolution of solid-state research. This was followed by an insightful talk by Aurora Cruz-Cabeza (University of Manchester) who provided an overview of the challenges of molecular flexibility for solid-state and crystallization. The conference was wrapped up by plenary lectures from Masako Kato (Kwansei Gakuin University), on soft crystals, and Len Barbour (Stellenbosch University), who elaborated on the future of solid-state chemistry and presented quotes from leading young researchers in the field.
This 25th conference continued the tradition of this series by being diverse and inclusive. There were 116 registered participants coming from 23 countries, with most participants coming from the UK and USA, followed by the UAE, Germany, Israel and other countries, with a favorable female-to-male ratio and age distribution. Eighty-two speakers presented their research in the oral sessions, with a very close number of male and female speakers in the final speakers’ list. The conference participants included a good number of both junior and established speakers from South-Eastern Europe, providing an opportunity to present their work in times of financial and mobility constraints. The oral sessions were preceded by introductory notes from the chairs and co-chairs, which was found to be an effective approach in bringing up to speed participants who are not familiar with a specific session topic. The new role of a session co-chair ensured balanced participation of junior researchers. In addition to talks that focused exclusively on organic molecular materials, the presentations also included reports on crystallization, structure or properties of inorganic or metal-containing materials. The conference was preceded by a workshop on neutron and X-ray methods for structural analysis of organic materials, organized by Tomče Runcevski (Southern Methodist University) and Robert Dinnebier (Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research).
The recipients of the ICCOSS Award for young researchers, sponsored by the IUCr, were Alan Eaby (Stellenbosch University), Alyssa Thornton (Georgetown University) and Jasna Alić (Ruđer Bošković Institute). The recipients of the four IUCr Journals Poster Prizes were Shodai Hasabe (Waseda University), Weronika Kras (University of Manchester), Tomislav Stolar (Ruđer Bošković Institute) and Kristine Krukle-Berzina (Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis). The recipients of the four RSC Chemical Science Poster Prizes were Yuki Hagiwara (Waseda University), Alyssa Thornton (Georgetown University), Cameron Wilson (University of Edinburgh) and Hema Kuntrapakam (Weizmann Institute of Science). For the first time, this event also included awards for women researchers, sponsored by the ICCOSS, with Rishika Rai (IISER Thiruvananthapuram), Zeinab Saeed (Khalifa University) and Samantha Le Roux (Stellenbosch University) as the winners. The Joel Bernstein Memorial Poster Award was awarded to Alan Eaby (Stellenbosch University).
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