Written by Thomas Pickl, PhD candidate in Chemistry at TU Munich.
While many of us are currently experiencing strict governmental restrictions to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, one advantage of the pandemic is the rapidly progressing digitalization in our everyday lives. The last months have proven that this also helps us scientists to exchange knowledge much more efficiently than before. With this in mind, I was very much looking forward to meeting fellow academics virtually at this year’s Annual Meeting of the German Society of Crystallographers.
As a first-year graduate student (PhD in Chemistry with Dr. Alexander Pöthig @ TU Munich) this conference was my introduction to the scientific community. From March 16 – 18, the event featured plenary lectures related to crystallography, industrial talks, poster presentations, and even a virtual get-together via Zoom. Topics ranged from bio-crystallography, over inorganic crystals, and crystalline materials to advanced instrumentation and data analysis.
For me, it was also one of the first times I was able to present my own research to a broader audience: I am an organometallic chemist by heart and sharing our group’s findings on supramolecular coordination compounds was an exciting experience. The unusual pillar-shaped structure of our silver(I) and gold(I) complexes, which can incorporate small linear molecules in a host-guest fashion, was why the method for describing their structure seemed very attractive to me. This eventually led me to the synthesis the palladium(II) and platinum(II) congeners of these organometallic complexes and the elucidation of their molecular structure by single-crystal X‑ray diffractometry.
I presented the obtained data as a poster on the platform Remo and the results could be discussed with all participants of the conference. I received valuable feedback and suggestions from students, colleagues, and professors on reactivity and further structural techniques to support our scientific claims. Although I would have loved to have these discussions over a beer in a pub, I enjoyed the experience.
My personal highlight was the Lightning Talk Session organized by the Young Crystallographers: Here, five young speakers presented their research in 5-minute talks and corresponding posters. The best performance was given by Michael Rütten and was awarded the STOE Prize of the DGK Young Crystallographers. I also got to know some young crystallographers and decided to get actively involved in the future.
Overall, the 29th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Crystallographers was a very inspiring event for me and provided an insight into the field of crystallography in its many facets. I am already looking forward to next year’s meeting, which I probably will help organizing.