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Misconceptions in Astrochemistry: A Chemist's Guide

Pacifichem 2021, Honolulu, HI, 16-21 December 2021


Ryan C. Fortenberry, University of Mississippi, USA (CSO)
Ralf I. Kaiser, University of Hawaii-Manoa, USA
Naoki Watanabe, Hokkaido University, Japan
Weijun Zheng, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Timothy Schmidt, University of New South Wales, Australia


Earth provides only a small cross-section of the rich environments where molecules form, react, excite, and are studied. The origin of molecules in extraterrestrial environments, in particular, has fascinated scientists since the pioneering detection of CH, CH+, and CN in interstellar space more than 80 years ago. More than 200 species are known, ranging in complexity from carbon monoxide (CO) to cyanobenzene (C6H5CN) and buckyballs (C60). Nevertheless, many facets of astrochemistry remain unanswered or contentious. The elucidation of how molecules form in non-terrestrial environments brings together chemists from across the subdisciplines and even researchers from across the sciences at large. Such a fast-growing and significantly interdisciplinary field naturally brings practitioners together who often seem to speak different scientific languages and who approach similar problems in surprisingly different ways. Consequently, critical errors, disagreements, and misconceptions have arisen.

This symposium will provide a forum to address findings that have been misinterpreted, improperly utilized, or otherwise ignored. By working to eliminate misconceptions and exploring the current boundaries of astrochemical knowledge, new experiments and models can be more effectively designed to resolve key unanswered aspects of molecular synthesis in extraterrestrial space.

This symposium is open to contributions and will consist of half-day oral sessions with topics including:

  1. Gas Phase Astrochemistry
  2. Condensed Phase Astrochemistry
  3. Computational Astrochemistry & Astrochemical Modeling
  4. Emerging Trends in Astrochemistry
  5. When Chemists and Astronomers Disagree
Confirmed Invited Speakers:

  1. Yuan-Pern Lee (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan)
  2. Amanda Stockton (Georgia Tech, USA)
  3. Brett McGuire (NRAO, USA)
  4. Timothy J. Lee (NASA Ames, USA)
  5. Ella Sciamma-O'Brien (NASA Ames, USA)
  6. Mike McCarthy (Harvard University, USA)
  7. Susanna Widicus Weaver (Emory University, USA)
  8. Toshiki Sugimoto (Kyoto University, Japan)
  9. Thomas Pino (Université Paris-Sud 11, France)
  10. Laura McKemmish (University of New South Wales, Australia)
  11. Alexander Mebel (Florida International University, USA)
  12. Heather Abbott-Lyon (Kennesaw State University, USA)
  13. Robin Garrod (Virginia, USA)
  14. Yuji Nakao (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  15. Yasuhiro Oba (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  16. Heon Knag (Seoul University, Republic of Korea)
  17. Musahid Ahmed (LBNL, USA)
  18. Stefanie Milam (NASA Goddard, USA)
  19. Natalia Inostroza (Universidad Auto?noma De Chile, Chile)
  20. Dongfeng Zhao (University of Science and Technology of China)
  21. Ewen Campbell (University of Edinburgh, UK)
  22. Nadia Balucani (University of Perugia, Italy)
  23. Cristina Puzzarini (University of Bologna, Italy)
  24. Kunihiro Okada (Sophia University, Japan)
  25. Nigel Mason (University of Kent, UK)
  26. Wolfram Sander (Bochum University, Germany)
  27. Qian Gou (Chongqing University, China)
  28. Arthur Suits (University of Missouri, USA)
  29. Gianfranco Vidali (Syracuse University, USA)

Pacifichem 2020 is jointly sponsored by: