The overall duration was 4 weeks. The actual Program ran during the first 3 weeks and then there was a 1 week conference at the end.
During the program we had 1 regular lecture per week (Friday afternoons) in the framework of the usual Stockholm astrobiology seminars, 1 scheduled discussion session per week (Tuesday mornings), and informal discussions during morning and afternoon coffees at 10 am and 3 pm.
During the program we also had 1 talk that was announced to all Nordita staff as a talk of general interest. This was the talk by Laurence Barron on symmetries in physics and applications to Raman optical spectroscopy. This talk attracted a large number of people from theoretical chemistry.
The informal coffee sessions was the time when new ideas where born. A recurrent theme was the importance of mutual antagonism in crystallization experiments. The realization emerged that there are at least 3 distinct mechanisms causing spontaneous symmetry breaking: Frank (with mutual antagonism), nonlinear crystal growth (without mutual antagonism), and epimerisation (constructive autocatalytic effects) as in the APED model.
The emergence of one chirality during crystallization formed a major aspect of the discussions. In fact, Mike McBride wrote a News and Views article that he finalized during the program, which asks "Did life grind to a start?"
During the program, Sara Walker submitted two papers that are now listed as Nordita preprints (NORDITA 2008-009 and 2008-010). The punctuated chirality paper also attracted already some News and Views comments by science writer Phil Ball.
The opportunity to interact with a select group of distinguished physicists, chemists and mathematicians from around the world, together with some very bright students and postdocs, on this highly interdisciplinary subject proved extremely fruitful and will serve as a springboard for important advances in the future.
The program was very well conceived in that it was not too tightly structured. This encouraged a 'careful disorderliness' in the many informal and highly productive discussions, which is so important for the development of new ideas. This is especially relevant in such a highly interdisciplinary subject.
Une grande partie de la science de ce domaine était représentée.
I think that many presentations by famous speakers in each fields triggered the scientific new interests and motivate the new research actions.
In this symposium at Nordita, many many new results on chiral symmetry breaking in asymmetric reaction, polymerization and crystallization were presented. These results are very fruitful to expand the research and scientific understanding in nature. I am also stimulated by these presentations. The program of this symposium is well-organized, thus there are many times to discuss with many people as to the wide range of scientific field, I felt.
It is one of the most interesting and useful conference I ever participated. I stayed two weeks, one week before the conference and one week during it. The stay before the conference was very informal but with full discussions, so that it can be continued as long as one wishes. That was a very exciting experience.
So for the conference, I strongly support this style of informal few weeks and the last formal conference.
The meeting is a nice catalyst to make collaboration with some of the participants. All the presentations delivered are fruitful with ample time of discussions. It is apparent that the meeting is very successful.
I thought the meeting was extremely successful, due to a number of reasons; it may be helpful to note these:
- that novel problems, new models and new experimental results were the focus of activity
- you managed to get really good people to the meeting (Soai, Saito, Viedma, ...)
- the allocation of desk space and offices to participants, which, beyond attendance at seminars, encourages them to work in the center and sharing office space encourages discussion of new ideas and collaborations.
- the regular coffee times morning and afternoon with informal presentations, continually stimulated discussion in new directions; also the convivial atmosphere of lunch together, you were an excellent host. The downside of meetings with more people, is that peoples fragment into separate groups, and one might find the experimentalists spending all their time together and the theorists in a separate group. Although the meeting felt small, for this reason, I think it was probably more successful than larger meetings.
- the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting, there was a good mix of physics, chemistry, (maths + geology). Whilst the last Astrobiology conference I attended was extremely educational, many speakers were quite removed from my area so that there was little hope of forming collaborative partnerships, whereas at this most recent meeting, I have made several really good contacts and plan to work on several new topics due to this meeting.
The apartment at Gyllenborgsgatan 8 in which I stayed with my wife was ideal. Its position close to Thorildsplan metro station was a great asset, making travel to Nordita and also around the city very easy due to the excellent metro system and linking buses. Stockholm itself is a lovely civilized city. Beautiful walks can be had along the many kilometers of waterfront and around the historic area of Gamla Stan, excellent shopping facilities, museums, etc. My wife enjoyed her time in Stockholm very much indeed.
Je te demande de transmettre à Anne et à Laila mes meilleurs remerciements pour leur aide.
My wife and myself also thank you for the hospitality at Villagatan house. It was very comfortable and well located.
Thank you again for organizing the excellent meeting and good accommodation at Wenner Gren Center.
As for the housing, the apartment is new, warmer than I expected, well equipped everything, close to the lab. (50 min. on foot). I feel very satisfied, and thank to secretaries.
Housing at the Wenner Gren Center was ok and the room service was very good.
As to the housing at Wenner Grens, it is well organized. The one thing is the open hours of the reception is limited.
-Stockholm is a lovely place to work in, even in February; the public transport system is the best of any country I have visited. The flats were clean, warm, well-furnished. The conference banquet was fantastic, and the best after-dinner speech I have ever heard. It is a great place to have friends and family come to visit for the weekend.
By the way, the after dinner speech (and of course also other talks) were recorded and are available on the web page.
The origin of homochirality is closely connected with the origin of life, which is a newly emerging topic. Over the past few years this topic has gained enhanced interest also in the Nordic countries, as is evidenced by a number of successful meetings on this topic in 2004 (Copenhagen in January and Turku in August), 2005 (Copenhagen in January and Oslo in November), 2006 (Finnish Lapland in January, Stockholm in May), and 2007 (Stockholm in November). A number of people had worked specifically in homochirality, and expressed interest in the Nordita program. We had contact with 17 people who planned tentatively on coming to the program, but in the end only 3 of them were able to make it due to heavy teaching load, the upcoming ERC deadline, and other serious personal reasons. We had also been in touch with a number of PhD students in the Nordic regions, but those that we contacted were unable to come because of serious course work during that time.