Bunsentagung 2015

Bunsentagung 2015

The German Bunsen Society of Physical Chemistry (DBG) is honored to invite on the occasion of the

114th General Assembly of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry

from May 14th - 16th, 2015 at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB)

Main Topic: Solvation Science
Öffentlicher Eröffnungsvortrag: Nanoskopie mit fokussiertem Licht (Stefan W. Hell, Göttingen)
Industrial Symposium: Solvation Science in Industry and Industrial Exhibition

The majority of chemical reactions, including many that are central to important industrial and virtually all biological processes, take place in a liquid-state environment. Solvents – with water being the most prominent – are used to “solvate” molecular species ranging from industrial reagents to biological molecules in living cells. Solvents also “wet” surfaces such as lipid membranes or metal electrodes, thus creating new interfaces. An in-depth understanding of solvation at a fundamental level of chemistry, physics and engineering is essential to enable major advances in key technologies in order to reduce pollution, increase energy efficiency or prevent corrosion to name but a few challenges to our modern day society. In the life sciences, water is the ubiquitous solvent, sometimes even called the “matrix of life”, thus understanding its function is crucial for comprehensively unravelling key biological functions.

Research into liquids and solutions has a very long-standing tradition, in particular within the realm of physical chemistry. For instance, many decades ago the 80th Bunsentagung, which took place in Marburg in 1981, was devoted to the structure and dynamics of liquids in a broad sense ("Struktur und Dynamik von Flüssigkeiten"). Moreover, perusal of the historic collection of articles by Walter Nernst dedicated to theoretical chemistry ("Begründung der Theoretischen Chemie") reveals that the first two articles therein discuss free ions in electrolytes and the theory of solutions ("Über freie Ionen" from 1889 and "Zur Theorie der Lösungen" from 1901).

Despite such long-standing efforts, up until quite recently a broad consensus in the literature prevailed that considered solvents to be nothing but inert media in different molecular processes. It is this concept on which most phenomenological understanding relies, such as “linear solvation free energy relations” or “continuum solvation” approaches. Transcending this traditional view, solvents are now increasingly recognized as playing an active role in their own right, ranging from solvent-mediated to solvent-controlled and even to solvent-driven processes. The most recent advances in experiment and theory allow one to probe, describe, and even influence the structure, dynamics, and kinetics of complex solvation phenomena at the molecular level. Therefore, the time has come to develop universal concepts of solvation which can not only describe solvents in general, but are additionally able to predict the properties of new solvent systems. This demands that the role of the solvent has to be unveiled in distinctly different systems at all levels, ranging from those processes that involve individual molecules to the collective behavior of a myriad of solvent molecules, and from the ultrafast single molecule dynamics to the concerted behavior on macroscopic timescales.

In this sense, "Solvation Science" is now increasingly recognized as an interdisciplinary field akin to "Materials Science" or "Neuroscience". This, in turn, necessitates crosstalks of chemists and physicists with biologists and engineers, which will be fostered at the Bunsentagung 2015. "Solvation Science" demands furthermore an intimate connection of experimental, theoretical and simulation approaches to solve its complex problems. This will be taken into account by an appropriate mix of invited presentations coming not only from experiment, but also from simulation and theory.

The Bunsentagung on "Solvation Science" in Bochum will thus provide a substantial platform for fruitful research activities across many disciplines centered around physical and theoretical chemistry, based on a broad array of invited lectures delivered by international experts.

The Scientific Organisers

Dominik Marx, Martina Havenith, Karina Morgenstern, Martin Muhler (RUB)