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Polymer Networks Group

 

Status and history

The Polymer Networks Group (PNG) is an independent international organization for the promotion of international contacts and the stimulation of research in the field of polymer networks. The main activity of the group is the organization of a conference on the formation, structure, properties, and applications of polymer networks.

 

In addition, the Group cooperates in the organization of other conferences on polymer networks and in joint research projects. Until 1997, the projects were coordinated through the Working Party on Polymer Networks of Commission IV.2 of the Macromolecular Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). This Division is presently under the chairmanship of R.F.T. Stepto.

 

The activities of the PNG are guided by the PNG Committee, a full list of current members of this committee is to be found on the 'people' page:

 

In 1993, the Polymer Networks Group introduced Corporate Membership for companies and institutions active in research on polymer networks to stimulate contacts between academy and industry. Each participating company has a delegate on the Corporate Advisory Board of the PNG and can influence PNG policies and activities.

Historical Development of the Polymer Networks Group

First considerations concerning the establishment of some kind of international cooperation in the field of polymer networks arose in the early seventies during numerous contacts between the Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolecules CNRS (now Institut Charles Sadron) in Strasbourg and the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry CSAS in Prague (Benoit, Hild, Rempp, Dusek). However, it was not until 1974, during the Faraday Discussion of the Royal Society of Chemistry in Norwich on Gels and Gelling Systems, that a group of participants (Allen, Burchard, Dusek, Gordon, Herz, Hild, Rempp, Ross-Murphy, Stepto, Ziabicki, and perhaps some others) considered the foundation of an international organization. The ideas took a more definite shape during the IUPAC Microsymposium "Crosslinking and Networks" in Prague later in 1974.

 

Officially, the international organization started its activities in 1975. This was also the year of its first meeting, taking place jointly at CRM Strasbourg (H. Benoit, G. Hild) and Freiburg (W. Burchard, H.J. Cantow). The final decision to form a group (Allen, Benoit, Dusek, Gordon, Hild) was taken in October 1975 and the organization was given the name Polymer Network Club. It was decided that no formal structure of the Club was necessary and that the business would be run by a Secretary. G. Hild was asked to serve as Secretary to the Club. H. Benoit tried to get recognition of the Club by the Macromolecular Division of IUPAC. However, the possible sense of exclusiveness of a "club" was objected to and, therefore, later (1977) "Club" was changed to "Group". Moreover, it was felt that the proposed activities of the Group did not fit well the usual activities of a IUPAC Working Party and it was recommended that IUPAC sponsorships be sought individually for conferences, or that collaborative projects be included in existing IUPAC Working Parties. Eventually, a separate Working Party on Polymer Networks was launched in 1987 under the chairmanship of R.F.T. Stepto.

 

In 1975-6, the PNG started with about 40 participants from France, United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland and The Netherlands. Over the years, the number of members (now more than 300) and their activities have continued to increase and it was felt that some more formal and efficient organizational structure would be useful. In 1986, the first Chairman (R.F.T. Stepto) and Vice-Chairman (K. Dusek) were elected during the Elsinore meeting and G. Hild was confirmed in his position of PNG Secretary. It was decided that the Chairman would serve for four years and the office would then be taken over by the Vice-Chairman. More recently, the post of Treasurer was created.

Biennial Meetings of the Polymer Networks Group

 The following regular meetings of PNG have taken place:

 

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1975 Strasbourg, F - Freiburg, FRG (Benoit, Hild - Burchard, Cantow)

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1977 London, UK (Allen)

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1978 Breisach, near Freiburg, FRG (Burchard)

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1979 Jablonna, PL (Ziabicki)

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1980 Karlovy Vary, CS (Dusek)

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1982 Strasbourg, F (Hild)

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1984 Manchester, UK (Stepto, Stanford, Still, Ross-Murphy)

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1986 Elsinore, DK (Kramer)

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1988 Freiburg, FRG (Burchard)

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1990 Jerusalem, IL (Gottlieb)

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1992 San Diego, USA (Eichinger)

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1994 Prague, CZ (Dusek)

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1996 Doorn, NL (te Nijenhuis)

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1998 Trondheim, Norway (Stokke)

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2000 Krakow, PL (Galina)

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2002 Autrans, F (Geissler)

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2004 Bethesda, USA (Amis/Horkay)

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2006 Sheffield, UK (Stanford/Ross-Murphy/Ryan)

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The programmes of the meetings include contributions in all areas relevant to the formation, structure, properties and applications of polymer networks, but usually a special emphasis is put on certain topics, which vary from meeting to meeting.

                 

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