Conference on the chemistry of light will draw international audience to Duke

July 23, 1999

DURHAM, N.C. -- A major conference at Duke University Aug. 1-6 is expected to attract about 250 scientists from more than 26 nations who specialize in interactions between light and a wide array of chemical processes in nature and the laboratory.

The 19th International Conference on Photochemistry will feature five days of the latest research findings in areas as diverse as light emitting and absorbing materials like silicon, the effects of sunlight on the chemistry of the atmosphere, the photosynthetic process in plants, lasers in biomedicine, the chemistry of photography and the use of very fast spectroscopy to study how proteins change their shapes.

In one 2 p.m. Aug. 2 plenary lecture, "Phytochromes as a Molecular Light Switch for Plants," Pill-Soon Song, Dow Chemical Co. professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, will describe how special gene-controlled molecules in plant cells turn off in response to changing wavelengths of red light to allow plants to "sleep."

In a 9 a.m. lecture on Aug. 5, titled "Some Interesting Properties of Materials Confined in Space and Time," Mostafa El-Sayed, Julius Brown professor at Georgia Tech, will discuss how the properties of metals and other substances can drastically change as they are broken into increasingly small pieces, possibly introducing new traits useful to computers, communications or medicine. He will also describe using very short pulses of laser light to learn more about their properties.

Other major speakers will include Vladilen Letokhov, chief of the laser spectroscopy department and laboratory at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Spectroscopy; Jacek Waluk of the Polish Academy of Sciences; and Shozo Yanagida of Osaka University in Japan.

All oral presentations will be held in the Bryan Center, the student union building off Science Drive and near Duke Chapel on Duke's West Campus. Poster sessions will occur in the lobby of the Paul M. Gross Chemical Laboratories on Science Drive near its intersection with Towerview Road.

An event held every two years, the 1999 conference is sponsored by Duke's department of chemistry and Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs, the Eastman Kodak Co., the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Research Fund, Edinburgh Instruments Ltd, Ace Glass Inc., Coherent Inc. and GSI Lumonics.

Duke University

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