Conference celebrates Diethard Bohme

The Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry will host a conference honouring Distinguished Research Professor and Canada Research Chair Diethard Kurt Bohme Oct. 13-14 at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Right: Diethard Bohme

The symposium, titled Much Ado About Ions, features 22 presentations by chemistry researchers from across North America and Europe. It has been organized around Bohme’s 65th birthday and a presentation of a special edition of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry to honour Bohme’s scientific career. 

Among the invited speakers and their presentations are: Nigel Adams, University of Georgia, on “Gas Phase Reactions of Astrochemical Significance”; Graham Cooks, Purdue University, Indiana, on “What’s Ahead for Mass Spectrometry”; and Helmut Schwarz, Technical University of Berlin, on “Volcanic States: From Coulomb Explosions to Thermochemically Stable, Small Polycations”.

Bohme holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Chemical Mass Spectrometry at York. During his 41-year academic career, he has won a raft of prestigious awards, including the Gerhard Herzberg Award this year for outstanding achievement in the science of spectroscopy. He has been awarded a Killam Research Fellowship and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

With his research team, Bohme has developed a unique type of mass spectrometer that measures the physical and chemical properties of ions and the rates of very fast chemical reactions between ions and molecules. His interests in space chemistry focus on the role of ions in molecular growth and have led to the recent discovery of an ionic route to the formation of amino acids and exotic carbon rings in the large clouds of gas and dust that are found between the stars and in planetary atmospheres. (For more about his research, see the April 14, 2004 issue of YFile.)

Bohme is also turning his gaze and his instruments from more distant corners of the universe to the intricate microscopic workings of living creatures and active molecules found right here on Earth. His recent work with atomic ions has provided an improved understanding of the transformation of polluting gases with catalytic converters and of new applications in analytical mass spectrometry. With his new mass spectrometer, Bohme expects to shed new light on how metals embedded within biological constituent molecules contribute to the way in which living tissue is activated and, for example DNA, is damaged. And by offering an improved understanding of such biochemical activity, his work could open up new frontiers in biotechnology.

For more information about the conference, visit the Much Ado About Ions Web site.