ICOMC XXV, Lisbon (Part 2)

View over Lisbon and the river

View down Lisbon’s “High Street” towards the river.

It’s a bit difficult to believe that only 3 weeks ago I was in Lisbon for the International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry (2nd-7th Sept.), where daytime temperatures routinely hit 35-40 degrees Celsius, especially now autumn has settled in and I’ve just acquired a considerable lecture load. While the heat (and I’m really not functioning well outside my normal range of operating temperatures (18-23 deg. C, with about a 2 deg. tolerance in case you are wondering)) and the busy schedule of talks prevented me from exploring much of the city, we did ok for finding restaurants in the evening – if you like your seafood, Lisbon is a good place to go and we enjoyed some very tasty dishes. Thank you again to one of the local delegates for a list of recommendations!

Front of the Jeronimo monastery in Belem.

Food aside, there was work to be done and I tried to wake up the audience before my talk on “Predicting Ligand Effects on Organometallic Catalytic Cycles” in the afternoon of a very hot Monday by encouraging them to choose between the Olympic runners Mo Farah and Usain Bolt by either displaying the “Mobot” or the “Lightning Bolt” recently immortalised on our TV screens. Needless to say that uptake was not universal, but a big thank you to the Canadian delegation in the front row (which was about the only thing I could see with a spotlight in my eyes) and the Bristol crowd for joining in. Some people talked to me afterwards to say that they didn’t do a “Mobot” but were interested in the chemistry I talked about, which I guess is the best outcome I could hope for.

Part of the fortification against pirates, this little fortress in the river formed part of a triangle of sites for guns. It was never attacked, but is regularly overrun by tourists.

The conference tour (Lisbon sightseeing) on the Wednesday took us down to Belem and the river, which brought a welcome breeze to counter that day’s heat, and, bus-getting-impounded-by-police for logbook checks aside (only for 90 minutes or so), it was a good way to at least see some of the highlights of the city. Similarly, the conference dinner took place in front of the Electricity Museum (a lot more fun than it might sound) right by the river bank, and while I might be looking a little hot and bothered on the photo, it was actually incredibly nice to spend the evening sat outside.

Not getting butterflies before my talk, but modelling an illuminated butterfly headband at the conference dinner. (The photo has been kindly supplied by Dr Mie Vilhelmsen)


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