12th Heart of Europe meeting
Třešt', Czech Republic, September 2009, www.img.cas.cz/hec/
One hundred and seven participants gathered this year in Třešt' (Czech Republic) on September 24-26 for the 12th Heart of Europe bio-Crystallography Meeting. In good tradition since 1998, mainly PhD students presented their results (and problems) in a total of 27 talks. The meeting was held in the Caste Hotel Třešt', which provided an elegant atmosphere for the talks and breaks. Most participants were accomodated in the building, which was transformed from a fortress into a castle during the 15th century. Pavlína Řezáčová and her structural biology group from Prague organized a stimulating scientific meeting and a pleasant stay for the participants.
A highlight of the meeting is traditionally the invited HEC lecturer, which this year was given by Paul Emsley (U. of Oxford). In a vivid and diverting talk, Paul reported about the development of the Coot program and provided insight into its many helpful functions for crystallographic model building. For the free time on Friday afternoon a trip to Telc was organised. The town was founded inthe 13th century as a royal water fort on the crossroads of busy merchant routes between Bohemia, Moravia and Austria and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A prize for the best presentation was sponsored by the IUCr: the book 'Crystallography across the sciences'. This year the prize was awarded to two participants: P. Mader (IMG, Prague) and E. Ch. Schulz (U. of Göttingen). A bar of the favorite Czech chocolate 'Studentska pecet' (Student's seal) was awarded for the best pronunciation of the name Třešt'. L. Schulz (EMBL Hamburg) was also rewarded with this chocolate for her active participation in the discussion after the talks. The HEC organizers hope for a stronger participation of the PhD students in the discussions in the future. Altogether, HEC-12 presented another highlight in the long history of the HEC-meetings. All of the participants enjoyed exciting lectures, made plenty of new friends, and, last but not least, look forward to HEC-13, which will be organized by Norbert Sträter and his group in the lovely town of Schöneck in September 2010.Norbert Straeter