C6. Commission on Biological Physics

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International Conference on Biological Physics & Synchrotron Radiation
Grenoble, France
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.

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