International Conference on Biological Physics & Synchrotron Radiation
October 11-14, 2000
Co-sponsored by the IUPAP
From 11 to 14 October 2000, the European Synchrotron Radiation
Facility in Grenoble, France, hosted the "Biological Physics and Synchrotron
Radiation" international conference. Some 125 delegates from all over the world
met for four scientifically highly intense days and 40 of them gave lectures
on the latest techniques and research. There were 7 sessions involving, synchrotron
radiation sources and detectors, inelastic scattering and dynamics, muscle diffraction,
reaction mechanisms, macromolecular assemblies, medical applications, and imaging
and spectroscopy. In addition there was one special session on Development at
the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at Stanford (USA) given by Keith Hodgson.
There were many highlights, but the structural studies on ribosomes, the factories
producing proteins within a cell, deserve a special mention. Venki Ramakrishnan
(MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK) and Nenad Ban (Yale University)
described their latest results on the 30S and 50S ribosomal subunits, respectively.
All the sessions were attended by at least 50 scientists and some sessions had
over 100 attendees.
Within the framework of the conference the city of Grenoble gave a welcome
cocktail party for the conference participants in the Museum of Grenoble on
the evening of Thursday, 12 October. This was followed by a public lecture given
in the same venue by the Director General of the ESRF, Prof. Yves Petroff. About
150 people attended the lecture, which was entitled "A quoi sert le Synchrotron
?" ("What is the Synchrotron used for?"). It was held in French and was organized
following an idea of the IUPAP that scientists should try to explain their work
to lay people as often as possible. This is particularly true for publicly funded,
centralized research facilities such as the ESRF.
In conclusion the conference was a success thanks to the high quality lectures
and comprehensive discussions throughout.