Truly an amazing week

On May 4-8, a historical event took place at Chalmers. 40 world-leading scientists, including 12 Nobel Prize laureates, gathered at Chalmers for three Nobel Workshops and a Molecular Frontiers Symposium – and to celebrate the 70th birthday of Bengt Nordén, Professor in Physical Chemistry at Chalmers! Here is a short recap of the week, including links to videos and interviews!

​The week started off with a Nobel Workshop on “Molecules in Life Science research”, featuring, among others, Nobel laureates Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt. On Tuesday, a Nobel Workshop on “Molecules in Nano and Energy research” followed, with eminent speakers such as Nobel laureates Roger Kornberg, Jean-Marie Lehn and Barry Sharpless.

The Nobel Workshop on Wednesday was probably of greatest interest to materials science researchers, with Area of Advance Director Aleksandar Matic as chairman, together with Professor Fredrik Höök. The workshop started with two of last year’s Nobel laureates in Chemistry: Stefan Hell, University of Göttingen and William Moerner, Stanford. Together, their presentations gave a broad overview of the background and applications of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.

Then Robert Langer from MIT gave an entertaining talk telling the story about his long journey to develop and patent biodegradable polymers for the delivery of brain cancer drugs.

Tom Brown from University of Oxford presented his work on nano constructs with nucleic acids as building blocks, in collaboration with, among others, Bengt Nordén. Click ligation can be efficiently used to join together DNA and RNA strands to various structures.

Andrew Fire, Stanford, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of RNA interference. His talk focused on the efforts to improve the molecular understanding of the RNAi machinery and its roles in the cell.

Then James Barber from Imperial College London talked about Photosystem II, and our understanding of the mechanism of the water splitting reaction, which can be exploited solar fuel technology, to capture solar energy and store it in chemical bonds.

Paul Alivisatos from University of California Berkeley, who was a speaker also at last year’s Materials for Tomorrow, talked about colloidal nanocrystals as a building block of nanoscience, enabling scientists to design new materials with applications in biological imaging and renewable energy.

Yahli Lorch, Stanford, works on the molecular basis of gene expression and showed how the nucleosome plays a key functional role, serving as general gene repressor. A chromatin remodeling complex discovered by Lorch relieves repression by the nucleosome.

The final speaker of the Nobel Workshop was Richard Henderson of MRC LMB, who showed different approaches to determining the structures of membrane proteins, especially focusing on proteins that are involved in signal or energy transduction.

The day ended with a panel discussion involving all the speakers of the day.Many of the speakers of the week then gathered for a group photo.

On Thursday and Friday, the audience was slightly different, with 200 of the brightest high school students from all over Sweden attending the lectures and asking questions to the speakers. Nobel lauerates Ahmed Zewail, Arvid Carlsson, and Shuji Nakamura, as well as George Whitesides were among the speakers of this Molecular Frontiers Symposium, entitled "Frontiers in Molecular Sciences".

 

 

Watch a short film with some interviews

Chemistry World also recorded interviews with many of the speakers. These interviews will be published later.

 


Published: Wed 27 May 2015. Modified: Thu 28 May 2015