Chemistry conference with a Nobel history coming to SMU

DALLAS (SMU) – More than 122 chemists from 14 countries will attend the 28th Austin Symposium on Molecular Structure and Dynamics at Dallas at SMU (Southern Methodist University) from Feb. 17-20, 2023. The conference theme of this year's symposium is “Spectroscopy Meets Theory.”  

The Austin symposia, which occur every two or three years, bring together top chemistry experts who specialize in different areas – structural, theoretical, spectroscopy, reaction dynamics and computational chemistry. Giving participants the opportunity to discuss their work with each other, the conference seeks to potentially spark new ideas for research and build interdisciplinary collaborations.

That happened in 1984 when structural chemist Robert Curl and spectroscopic chemist Sir Harold Kroto met at the conference and learned they had similar interests. They, along with Richard Smalley, eventually won a Nobel Prize for discovering a previously unknown pure carbon molecule they called buckminsterfullerene and other fullerenes, leading to new research in nanotechnology, material science and other fields. 

“The idea is to have a smaller crowd than what you would find at a major conference, where there are 10,000 people, so people can just mingle and talk,” said Elfi Kraka, organizer of the conference. Kraka is chair of the Chemistry Department at SMU and head of SMU’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry (CATCO) Group. “Too often, there is an instrument at one university that could help another chemist’s research, but they don’t know about it. Or there’s a computer program that could answer a question that an experimentalist is desperately trying to figure out, but they’re not aware of that.” 

SMU recently invested $11.5 million to boost the University’s high-performance computing system, making it an ideal place to host the conference.  

More information on the Austin Symposium can be found here:

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