Chemistry Talks

President’s column

Catching up!

Slowly but steadily daily life, and with that also the academic community, is coming back to normal again in what hopefully will turn out to become the post-Covid years. I personally could not get used to online teaching or lecturing to a screen and not receiving any feedback from the audience. For me it felt like a relief when I could present my work again after traveling to a different city, face an audience of close to 200 participants and be in a large crowd without further restrictions. It was inspiring to be among colleagues, receive direct feedback in face-to-face discussions and experience the social interactions that were not there in the past two years.
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, had also positive effects. Many regular meetings take place online, and this will stay. No more traveling for hours for a meeting of one hour. Speakers on a conference present their work online if the traveling is too extensive. Webinars and online workshops will also stay as a means to disseminate scientific information to a larger audience. And we all got used to hybrid working, we have become more flexible and a larger part of the work will be done from home.
But social interactions remain important, we communicate differently when we meet in person. It makes it easier to get to know each other and discuss new scientific ideas. This may cause that the physical meetings that we do attend, we will appreciate even more. One of these meetings is the EuChemS Chemistry Congress (ECC8) in Lisbon later this year. After being postponed in 2020, it is time to catch up and it promises to become a fantastic conference with an excellent line-up of speakers, including two EuChemS Gold Medal awardees. It will be the international occasion to meet many colleagues in real life after a long time.
And there is more catching up to do. EuChemS celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago, which was initially planned to take physically place in Prague, but was eventually replaced by an online event. There, at the University of Chemistry and Technology, EuChemS’ history started when the Federation of European Chemical Societies (FECS) was founded. Later this year a modest ceremony will be held in Prague to mark the place where EuChemS originated as a EuChemS Historical Landmark by mounting the accompanying plague on the wall of one of the university’s buildings.
And probably there is much more. Conferences and workshops were postponed or moved to the summertime, so meetings may overlap or there may be simply too many meetings to choose from. My personal favourite is ECC8 and it should be yours as well; I am really looking forward to meeting you there!

Floris Rutjes 
EuChemS President 

Chemistry Europe Fellows 2020/2021

This year, Chemistry Europe honors 27 persons for their outstanding support and contributions to the European joint publishing venture. The Fellowship is the highest award given by Chemistry Europe. We congratulate the Chemistry Europe Fellows listed below on this honor.

Chemistry Europe’s Fellows Program

Awarded biannually since 2015, the Fellows program honors exceptional members of the Chemistry Europe societies who have made a significant contribution to Chemistry Europe through their support, research, creativity, and innovation. Chemistry Europe Fellows are selected by the Chemistry Europe societies based on proposals received during an open nomination process and by the editorial teams of Chemistry Europe’s journals. Nominees must be current members in good standing of one of Chemistry Europe’s member societies. They receive a certificate and retain the designation Chemistry Europe Fellow for life.

Read more, and learn who the 2020/21 fellows are:


Chemistry without the Born–Oppenheimer approximation

Royal Society Publishing has recently published a special issue of Philosophical Transactions A entitled Chemistry without the Born–Oppenheimer approximation compiled and edited by Federica Agostini and Basile F E Curchod.

Our way of thinking and representing molecules and their reactivity has emerged from an approximation proposed by Born and Oppenheimer in 1927. In this representation, the electrons of a molecule act as a sort of glue for its nuclei. While this picture of a molecule works well to describe chemical reactivity, the interaction of a molecule with light reveals the fluxional nature of this glue. This theme issue introduces recent theoretical and computational developments that aim at predicting the behaviour of a molecule beyond the Born-Oppenheimer approximation.

You can access the introduction at
All the articles can be accessed at