According to the response from many participants, the XX IUCr Congress has been a huge success. As organizers, we are proud to say that in spite of the large numbers (participants, conferences, speakers, topics, etc.) all the planned activities ran very smoothly. Furthermore, there has been a large consensus that the quality of both the scientific program and the social events was exceptional.
We hosted about 3000 participants from across 62 countries, which is probably a record for the IUCr. About 200 of the total number were accompanying persons. Of the remaining 2800 attendees, one fourth were students. As many as 450 bursaries were distributed, thanks to the generous contributions of the Marie-Curie Actions (European Commission), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the IUCr, the British and Italian Crystallographic Associations, and the local student support organization (ARSDU), which arranged for economic yet comfortable accommodations.
Again, we wish to thank all the chairs and the speakers for deferring any kind of financial support. This income has been extremely useful in assisting younger or under privileged participants and for better spending on much appreciated services for everybody. In this respect, we have made an unprecedented experiment at an IUCr Congress, which included the serving of free lunches. In spite of a small increase of the registration fee (reasonable for a three year time), this added facility has also favoured the program functioning at the midday breaks which were particularly hectic. In fact, at this time there were Open Commission Meetings, reunions of the various Councils, Poster Sessions, Computer Fayre, etc. The serving of quick and quality lunches, has favoured high participation activities and created an extremely friendly environment. This was carried on by the participants at the various nightly events, in particular the Social Banquet at the Boboli Garden which required only a symbolic booking fee. The electric atmosphere of the place created a really memorable event.
The other aspect, which we organizers would like to underline, is the tailored combination of frontier scientific research (brought to Florence by the venue of the multidisciplinary crystallographic community) and art, of which Florence is a cradle. In this respect, some initiatives have been quite successful such as the Microsymposia Art and Crystallography or Crystallography and Cultural Heritage . The latter has been so stimulating that a group of participants have agreed to form a homonymous commission within the IUCr to study the topic. Along the artistic line, the musical events (the Interlude during the Opening Ceremony and the Concert of Aug. 27th) have been quite appreciated and acclaimed.
The scientific program, assembled thanks to the cooperation and competence of the appointed international committee, has been a great success for the quality of the arguments and the speakers. It has started with the excellent presentation by the winner of the 7th Ewald Prize (Prof. Philip Coppens) during the Opening Ceremony. At this time, the first prize for exceptional service to Crystallography was also announced and the winner, Prof. Ludovico Riva di Sanseverino, was memorably awarded during the banquet. Overall the program has consisted of 527 lectures, among which, those of the three Nobel Laureates (R. Hoffmann, H. Kroto and A. Zewail) have been the highlights. However, nobody will be surprised if some other distinguished speaker at this congress is awarded the Nobel Prize in the future.
Of the 98 microsymposia we have already mentioned those connected with artistic themes, but essentially all of the events have been of the highest quality, so that it is impossible to establish an order of merit. Here, it suffices to point out that 22 MS have dealt with Biological Macromolecules, 14 with Structural Chemistry, 9 with Crystallographic Computing, and 9 with Powder Diffraction. In any case, topics like Mineralogy, High Pressure, Neutron Diffraction, Aperiodic Crystals, Small Angle Scattering, etc. have all received their due attention. About 230 different posters per day were on display, their high interest being testified by the continuous overcrowding at the poster area. Several prizes were issued by different Institutions and Companies for the posters. We can assure that the judges faced a very difficult task in selecting the winners. Last but not the least it is important to mention the relevance of the exhibition, which has attracted many interested visitors. Also, it has also received the appreciation of all the operators for the large spaces allotted and the arrangement of the stands.
The congress has maintained its interest until the last moment. This is testified by the large audience at the Closing Ceremony, during which the poster prizes have been awarded. An ideal bridge has been built between Florence 2005 and Osaka 2008 also thanks to the presence of the newly elected IUCr President Yuji Ohashi, to whom we wish a fruitful mandate. Our warmest thanks go the Past President William Duax, who has always trusted and encouraged us for the success of the XX IUCr congress.
After the congress, we have received many messages of appreciation and congratulations. One of them (reported below) has been particularly touching for us because it reflects the feelings of someone who was active in both the scientific programme and the commercial exhibition.
Dear Carlo and Paola,
When things go badly, people can be very quick to criticise. When things go well, rather fewer people take time to say well done . I know this because we run a service industry at the CCDC!! I want to say that the Firenze Meeting was a huge success. It was very well organised at an excellent site. It was smooth, and everyone I spoke to was full of praise. Your colleagues and staff were helpful and friendly. You have performed a service to crystallography in all its aspects. Please tell your colleagues and the staff of the conference bureau that it was much appreciated (by CCDC at least!). Thanks. Dr Frank H. Allen (Executive Director of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre)
Our most sincere thanks go to all the people who have helped us in such an endeavour. Beside our Institutions, CNR and the University of Florence, we wish to mention our most strict collaborators (Andrea Ienco, Patrizia Rossi Rossi and Annalisa Guerri), the members of the local organizing committee, the institutional and commercial sponsors and the Organizing Secretariat (Newtours SpA), which has provided a highly professional service.
Carlo Mealli and Paola Paoli
This is an archive of the official website for the IUCrXX Congress at Florence in 2005. Some images and text may be missing and some links no longer work.