The 14th International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (ISMSC2019), was held from 2 to 6 June2019 in Lecce, Italy. The symposium was organized by Politecnico di Milano and Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, and chaired by Pierangelo Metrangolo, Francesca Baldeli Bombelli, and Giancarlo Terraneo. Co-organizers of the event were the local academic and research institutions, such as Università del Salento, and its School of Advanced Studies, ISUFI, the Nanotechnology Institute (Nanotec) of the National Research Council (CNR), and the Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies (CBN@UniLe) of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). The symposium was attended by 712 scientific participants from 43 different countries. The program included 2 Nobel Laureate lectures (45minutes each), 3 Award lectures (40 minutes each), 22 keynote talks (30 minutes each), and 24 invited talks (20 minutes each). In addition, there were 12 oral (15 minutes each) and 24 short paper (5 minutes each) contributions selected by the organizers from the submitted abstracts. The poster session enabled 550 participants to share their work in this exciting meeting for the supramolecular chemistry community. In particular, ISMSC2019 hosted lectures from the 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry (Sir James Fraser Stoddart, and Bernard L. Feringa), as well as from the 2019 Izatt-Christensen Award (Luisa De Cola), Cram-Lehn-Pedersen Prize (Xiaopeng Li), Sessler Early Career Researcher Prize (Ross Stewart Forgan), and the Natural Product Reports Emerging Investigator Lectureship (Konrad K. Tiefenbacher) winners. The symposium received the endorsement, among others, of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT2019), the European Chemical Society (EuChemS), the Italian Chemical Society (SCI), and the Materials Research Society (MRS). As far as IYPT2019 is concerned, ISMSC2019 was selected from IUPAC as the venue for the announcement of ten elements of the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists. IUPAC has also supported the Microsymposium “New Directions in Supramolecular Chemistry: Nanomedicine”, which was held within the ISMSC2019 program and has shown how, recently, Supramolecular Chemistry (i.e., use of inter-molecular interactions to build-up self-assembled systems) has been exploited for pioneering new directions in bio-engineering and nanomedicine. IUPAC support has allowed to host the participation of 7 young scientists coming from underdeveloped countries. Other funding agencies have supported ISMSC2019, such as, among others, the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the US Army, the Boehringer Ingelheim Stiftung, and the World Society of Intravenous Anaesthesia (WorldSIVA). This support, along with others coming from National, Regional, and Local institutions and associations, allowed to cover most of speakers’ expenses and support the participation of 21 young scientists with grants. Furthermore, the ISUFI college of the local university offered 31 free accommodations to students. Finally, a few companies and most of the chemistry scientific publishers sponsored the symposium, e.g., the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the American Chemical Society (ACS), Wiley, Springer-Nature, Elsevier, and MDPI, and offered more than 30 prizes to be awarded to the best posters.
In general, the conference covered a wide range of topics such as organic electronics, nanotechnology, biology, medicine, and materials science, in which supramolecular chemistry was the common tool for developing innovative materials, devices, macromolecules, nanovectors, etc. This symposium showed forcefully how supramolecular chemistry is flourishing crossing traditional borders and moving towards new interdisciplinary areas of research at the interface between chemistry, medicine, biology, and materials science. As far as outreach is concerned, during ISMSC2019, a public lecture was delivered by Sir James Fraser Stoddart to present the world of supramolecular chemistry and the long scientific journey that has brought him to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016. More than 800 high school students, as well as citizens have attended this lecture. The event passed in an informal and friendly atmosphere with stimulating discussions during the sessions as well as in the coffee breaks, lunches, poster sessions, and banquet. Furthermore, ISMSC2019 was spread over several historical venues in the city of Lecce, such as the city theater, Teatro Apollo (Opening Ceremony), Monastero degli Olivetani (lunches and poster sessions), Torre del Parco (speakers’ dinner), and Chiostro dei Domenicani (Banquet), which gave the unique opportunity to experience the architectural and historical beauties of this Southern part of Italy. ISMSC2019 beyond providing a platform for scientists from different disciplines to brainstorm and promote cross-disciplinary collaborations, represented a great opportunity for junior researchers and PhD students to present their work and discuss new ideas with well-established leaders in their field of research.