Day 1 is over, and this one contained just the usual 24 hours, which, with the help of my friend Starbuck, passed by quite pleasantly. I spent most of it at the symposium honouring Bert Meijer, who received the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry.
All of the speakers were united in their admiration for Meijer, but these sentiments were perhaps best (and most unconventionally) expressed by his friend and fellow Dutchman, Roeland Nolte. His talk on self-assembled polymer architectures was subtitled – “Things Bert does not believe (about my work)”.
In a genuinely sincere presentation – but one with perfect comic timing – Nolte outlined a couple of projects in which it appears that Meijer’s constant questioning and skepticism drove Nolte’s group to gather more and more evidence to support their claims. It seems as though Meijer was won over – for today at least!
Nolte was also quite happy to point out that his Nijmegen group have won a majority of the annual football (that’s soccer to all you Americans who may be reading this) matches between their two research groups…
In concluding his presentation, Nolte revealed the reason why Meijer first became interested in supramolecular polymers: one of the first hydrogen-bonded examples was reported by Jean-Marie Lehn, and Nolte claimed that Meijer entered the field because he was skeptical of Lehn’s system.
It seems as though Meijer is, indeed, a skeptical chemist – something that the polymer chemistry community can be quite proud of, and thankful for.
Another early start tomorrow, and my batteries are about as low as my laptop’s, so before we both go to sleep, I’m off to bed.
Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)