By: Ugo Mazzucato

The European Photochemistry Association (EPA) was founded in 1970 under the auspices of the Council of Europe. As cited in Wikipedia, “the objective of the Association is to promote the development of photochemistry in Europe and contacts among photochemists. The Association is concerned with various experimental and theoretical aspects of the interaction of light with molecular systems, ranging from basic knowledge and practical know-how in photochemistry to application in areas such as chemical synthesis, electronics, material science, nanotechnology, biology and medicine”.

The preparatory work for the founding of the EPA started with some meetings of selected groups of experts in photochemistry, held in Strasbourg in 1969-1970. During the first meeting (14/15 April 1969), twelve photochemists from several European countries discussed a report prepared by Dr. Martin Fischer (BASF, Germany) and edited by the Committee for Higher Education and Research of the Council of Europe. The report dealt with the resources of photochemical research and recommended European cooperation in the field. A Working Group (WG) of five photochemists (G. Huybrechts, representing Prof. P. Goldfinger, from the Free University of Brussels, Pierre Courtot from the University of Brest, Stig Claesson from the University of Uppsala, Martin Fischer from BASF, Ludwigshafen-Rhein, and Urs Wild, representing Prof. H. Günthard, from the Federal Institute of Technology of Zürich) was established. They drafted proposals for: i) creating a scientific Association of Photochemistry under the auspices of the Council of Europe; ii) organizing informal conferences on photochemical research, based on the model of the Gordon Conferences in the USA;  iii) publishing a European journal of photochemistry, and iv) increasing mobility of European researchers, particularly the exchange of PhD students.

The WG met in Strasbourg in July 1969 and in February 1970 and concluded its job with very interesting comments and proposals. It recognized the importance of photochemistry and the good level of research in the field but, in order to maintain and possibly increase the level, they recommended more substantial financial help from national governments, which at that time were inclined to give priority and significant support to more “seductive” research fields, such as molecular biology, spatial experiments, etc. As general principles for close cooperation among researchers in the field, the WG recommended stimulating contacts and exchanges among different laboratories, developing interactions between different branches of photochemistry, such as organic/physical, or related fields, such as biology, and between university and industry researchers. It was encouraged that the expenses of such interactions would be covered on a European basis. About the creation of a European Association, the WG proposed that its main aim should be to promote cooperation at the European level favouring international contacts and exchanges. They were against the creation of an international infrastructure that would put photochemical research in competition with already existing organizations, but would coordinate its efforts with them. The creation of subsidies for individual activities (short study trips, stages for PhD students and post-docs) and for group activities (seminars, summer courses, meetings to discuss specific research or teaching topics, etc.) was also recommended. Particular emphasis was given to encouraging mobility in Europe, exchanging information and developing photochemical processes in industry.

Regarding  the structure of the new Association, the WG proposed a private (non-governmental) type of organization, based on individual membership and managed by the following bodies: a General Council (GC), composed of all members, to be convened once a year, a Standing Committee (SC), composed of one leading photochemist per country (to be elected by the GC), an Executive Committee (EC), composed of three members of the SC, to be elected by the GC and responsible for current decisions about grants, scholarships, etc., a Chairman, to be chosen by the GC among the members of the EC and a Secretariat. The Association would be a legally recognized, non-profit organization, possibly located in the country of the Secretariat. It was suggested that the members of the SC would invite all photochemists in their country who were joining the Association to meet and form a national section of the EPA. The organization of small research conferences was encouraged, while the publication of a European Journal was left to the discussion of the emerging organization. Detailed proposals were advanced about the increasing mobility of European photochemists. The main suggestions focussed on short-term visits to foreign laboratories, particularly for junior research workers.  These were considered more important than large international meetings for the exchange of ideas.

The WG concluded its job by deciding to explore the possibilities of financing the future Association through public and private sources. A preliminary draft of an annual budget for the Association was proposed for a total of $100,000 ($77,000 for individual activities such as grants and scholarships, $17,000 for group activities, such as contributions for workshops, summer schools, etc., and $6,000 for administration). Lastly, the WG proposed convening a meeting with leading European photochemists interested in founding the Association.

A group of leading scientists attending the third IUPAC meeting on Photochemistry (St. Moritz, July 1970) discussed all the above items further and decided to invite representatives of ten European countries to a meeting in Strasbourg to carry out the legal act of founding the European Photochemistry Association (EPA) under the auspices of the Council of Europe (Committee for Higher Education and Research). Since Prof. V. Carassiti (University of Ferrara), who had received the invitation for Italy, was unable to come, he asked the author to replace him, thus the author was fortunate to become a founding member of the Association.

The new Association was founded at the official inaugural meeting held in Strasbourg on September 10th, 1970 with the participation of representatives (sorry for possible errors or omissions) of the following ten countries: N. Getoff (Austria), G. Huybrechts and J. Nasielski (Belgium), O. Buchardt (Denmark), P. Courtot and J. Joussot-Dubien (France), Th. Förster and A. Weller (Germany), U. Mazzucato (Italy), E. Havinga and H. J. Hagemann (Netherlands), D. Bryce-Smith (United Kingdom), S. Claesson (Sweden) and H. Labhart, Switzerland) plus an IUPAC representative (G. Quinkert). Membership in the EPA was open to anyone working in Europe in the field of photochemistry or interested in the subject. In line with the topics discussed in the preparatory meetings, the intent of the EPA was to be concerned primarily with education in photochemistry and with coordinating the activities of academic and industrial photochemists throughout Europe. It was envisioned that the EPA would arrange summer schools in photochemistry in order to bring the latest photochemical knowledge and techniques to the attention of young students as well as of people in industry and of teachers not actively engaged in the field. It was also hoped that the EPA would be able to arrange lectures by leading photochemists in European universities and research institutes with the aim of stimulating new ways of teaching and new directions of research. It was not excluded that the Association might collaborate with other bodies in organizing symposia, while excluding itself from acting  as a symposium-organizing body. Subject to the availability of necessary funds, it was hoped that a number of EPA scholarships and fellowships could be created that would promote the interchange of people and exchange of ideas between European universities and research institutions. There was particular interest in making it possible for senior European photochemists to spend periods of a few weeks at those European centres where photochemical studies were not in progress and where teaching of photochemistry was comparatively neglected. Derek Bryce-Smith (University of Reading, UK) was nominated President of the EPA (Fig. 1a) and the provisional Executive and Standing Committees were appointed.

Derek Bryce-Smith (Chairman)

From: EPA-NL n. 42, p. 4

Theodor Förster (Member)

From: EPA archives

Ole Buchardt (Treasurer)

From: EPA-NL n.52,  p.4

Fig. 1. Some members of the first EC 1970-72.

The first 1970-1972 EC was formed by the Chairman, a member (Th. Forster, Germany) (Fig. 1b), two Joint Secretaries (J. Joussot-Dubien, France, and A. E. Koerner von Gustorf, Germany) and a Treasurer (O. Buchardt, Denmark) (Fig. 1c). The first SC was formed by the members of the EC plus representatives of other countries, namely N. Getoff (Austria), E. Vander Donckt (Belgium), U. Mazzucato (Italy), E. Havinga (Netherland), H. J. Hagemann (as representative of The Netherlands industry), S. Claesson (Sweden) and H. Labhart (Switzerland).

Immediately after the Strasbourg meeting, assiduous mail contacts began among the members of the provisional committees to exchange ideas about possible activities and links with other relevant organizations and to discuss problems raised by researchers from the various countries. In the meantime, the members of the committees started making frequent contacts at the national level with the researchers and laboratories of their respective countries to disseminate information about the EPA and its aims, to encourage membership and to discuss the best way to obtain financial help for the Association from national sources (chemical societies, NRC laboratories and other foundations and research organizations).

In that initial period the EPA received best wishes for its activity from various chemical-related organizations and received an invitation to become a working party of the Federation of the European Chemical Societies. It is interesting to recall that the principal role of the EPA as a precursor to a wider union of European Chemical Societies was reported in Nature (issue of December 19, 1970).

A membership fee, equivalent to about 2 £, was decided upon while membership for research groups and honorary members were envisioned. It is interesting to recall that the first outstanding photochemist to receive an honorary membership was Prof. G.O. Schenck of the Max-Planck Institut für Strahlenchemie of Mülheim, Germany (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Prof. Schenk, the first honorary member of the EPA

From: EPA-NL n. 19, p. 93

It was also announced that the “Organic Chemistry of the Excited State” meeting of the Chemical Society, to be held in Reading in July 1972, would be held jointly with the EPA and that the first official scientific meeting of the Association would be held at the University of Bordeaux on the occasion of the Sixth International Conference on Photochemistry (6-8 September 1971). A meeting of the SC was also planned in order to review the progress made during the first year and discuss plans for the future. At those meetings the SC discussed ways to obtain financial support from national organizations, examined a draft of the EPA Statutes put together by O. Buchardt and E. A. Koerner von Gustorf and expressed the need to elect new official committees. Moreover, the SC suggested that the report on European photochemistry compiled by M. Fischer should be up-dated also including the Eastern European countries.

Following the Bordeaux meeting, the Council of IUPAC agreed to grant the EPA the status of an Associated Organization. The Association planned to issue an Annual World List announcing scientific meetings on photochemistry and related topics as well as workshops and other educational opportunities in the field, to be sent to all EPA members and to other interested parties. This was the germ of what would become the EPA Newsletter. In the meantime the new Association was slowly growing. A list of the members issued in March 1972 included about 80 individuals and 10 groups from 11 European countries plus 5 individuals from Israel, 5 from the USA and 1 from Canada.

In May-June 1972 the SC was renewed, based on the election of the national representatives.  Voting took place in each country based on a list of candidates prepared under the supervision of the EC. Two national representatives were elected for some countries, in order to guarantee the presence of both academic and industrial photochemistry or to cover different fields of photochemistry (e.g., organic and inorganic).

The General Council of the EPA, including all the members of the Association, was convened on July 25th 1972 in Reading on the occasion of the joint Chemical Society–EPA meeting. The meeting of the GC was opened by the Chairman, Prof. D. Bryce-Smith, who gave a review of the two-year history of the EPA and described the progress made in bringing photochemists together and the efforts to support scientific and educational contacts at all levels in the field of photochemistry. It was reported that the Association had more than 200 individual members and the financial balance was positive. A decision was made to explore the possibility of organizing an EPA summer school and creating an EPA Newsletter. The newly-elected SC was installed formed by N. Getoff (Austria), E. Vander Donckt and G. Delzenne (Belgium), O. Buchardt (Denmark), G. Quinkert and E.W. Schlag (Germany), J. Joussot-Dubien and J. Kossanyi (France), V. Balzani and U. Mazzucato (Italy), E. Havinga (The Netherlands), H.D. Becker (Sweden), H. Labhart and K. Schaffner (Switzerland), D. Bryce-Smith and G.D. Short (United Kingdom). The new SC met the day after and elected the following EC: K. Schaffner (Chairman) (Figs 3 and. 4), D. Bryce-Smith (Vice-Chairman), J. Kossanyi and U. Mazzucato (Secretaries) and O. Buchardt (Treasurer). To this list E. A. Koerner von Gustorf was added as a Special Secretary for gathering and disseminating information.

Fig. 3. Prof. Kurt Schaffner, the second President (1972-1976)

From: EPA-NL n. 19, p. 93

The new SC, according to article 9c of the Statutes, invited Israel (by considering the common western culture that Europe and Israel have in common), Poland and the USA to be represented on the Committee. E. Fischer, Z. Grabowski and O.L. Chapman, respectively, agreed to serve as representatives. Moreover, the new SC decided to produce an up-dated survey of European photochemical laboratories and to organize an EPA summer school in the near future. U. Mazzucato and J. Kossanyi, respectively, were entrusted to take care of planning these activities. The SC expressed a negative opinion regarding the creation of a new photochemical journal to avoid too much scattering of photochemical information.

Fig. 4. The two first (Derek Bryce-Smith, DBS) and second (Kurt Schaffner, KS) Presidents of the Association at the meeting on “Organic photochemistry and its synthetic applications” to celebrate the retirement of DBS (Readings, September 1991). Left to right: P. Wender, J. Pavlik, DBS, S. Davidson, KS, P. Sammes and A. Gilbert.

From: EPA-NL n. 43, p. 39

The plentiful correspondence between the Chairman and the members of the EC and the SC that followed the Reading meeting dealt with various aspects of the EPA activities, but mainly focused on economic aspects. While the responses of the governmental sources and national scientific organizations in the different countries to the requests for financial contributions were not real encouraging, there was a satisfactory rate of growth. Israel (The Academy of Sciences and Humanities) and Italy (C.N.R.) made substantial contributions, but thanks to the efforts of Prof. Labhart, the Swiss Federal Government gave the most, with an annual contribution of S.F. 20,000. In the meantime, since many applications for travel grants to attend meetings and to visit different laboratories started to arrive, a scientific advisory board, chaired by D. Bryce-Smith, was nominated to evaluate such applications. The bank account of EPA was obviously open in Copenhagen, the town of the treasurer. J.A. Barltrop and D. Döpp were appointed as auditors.

Meetings of the EPA Committees, particularly of the EC, were held during the biennium to discuss the problems that arose during these first years of the young Association. Biennial meetings of the GC were planned on the occasion of international photochemical congresses of a general character, particularly the biennial IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry. The program of activities established at the Reading meeting was successfully fulfilled in the biennium 1972-1974.

J. Kossanyi, with the assistance of O. Buchardt, organized the first EPA summer school, which was held in Reims (local organizer Prof. J.P. Pete) in September 1974 with successful participation and scientific level of lectures. In this decade, further EPA summer schools were organized in Leuven (September 1976) by F.C. De Schryver and in Rimini (September 1979) by V. Balzani.

The publication of the new directory of the photochemical laboratories, compiled by the author, met with serious difficulties at the beginning since the Committee for Higher Education and Research of the Council of Europe refused, mainly for economic reasons, to publish a revised up-dated version of the issue compiled by M. Fischer and published by the Council in 1970. Anyway, an up-dated edition was considered important by the Association because of the rapid developments in photochemistry and because the EPA had members in a number of countries not included in the previous report. At the end, the EPA accepted the offer of Elsevier-Sequoia S.A. to publish the new directory in September 1974 as Supplement No.1 of the Journal of Photochemistry. The new edition dealt with 230 laboratories and almost 900 researchers in 22 countries (18 from Europe). A Supplementary List to the Directory was published in the Oct. 1979 issue of the EPA-NL, pp.13-16.

During this period the Association sponsored several scientific meetings, such as the VII and VIII International Conferences on Photochemistry (in Jerusalem, August 1973, and Edmonton/Alberta, July 1975, respectively), the Conference on “Excited state of biological molecules” (Lisbon, April 1974), the Euchem Conference on “Useful synthetic aspects of photochemistry” (Ghent, September 1975) and the Microsymposium on Photochemistry and Photophysics of Coordination Compounds (Ferrara, July 1976). It also tried to develop closer relationships with the Eastern-European countries and, in June 1974, J. Kossanyi visited Poland and Hungary to make important contacts.

Fig. 5. Albert Weller, Vice-President from 1974-1976

From: EPA-NL n. 58, p. 7

The 1974 meetings of the various bodies of the EPA were held on the occasion of the V IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry in July 1974 in Enschede (Belgium). A joint meeting of the out-going and newly elected Standing Committees was held on July 22nd. Most of the old members were re-elected for a second term but there were also new names on the SC for the 1974-76 biennium (F.C. De Schryver for Belgium, H. Brodthagen for Denmark, P. Courtot for France, E. Ratajczec for Poland, J.J. Bonnet for Spain and A. Gilbert for The United Kingdom). The SC elected the new EC: K. Schaffner, President, A. Weller, Vice-President (Fig. 5), O. Buchardt, confirmed as Treasurer, J. Kossanyi and U. Mazzucato, confirmed as Secretaries with the addition of J. Grabowski as third Secretary (Fig. 6). E. A. Koerner von Gustorf agreed to remain as Special Secretary. Two auditors (D. Döpp and H.D. Becker) were appointed.

Jean Kossanyi

Ugo Mazzucato

Zbigniew R. Grabowski

Fig. 6. The three EC Secretaires from 1974-1976.

From: EPA archives

At the 1974 meeting it was announced that the membership had increased to about 360 members in 22 countries. The Treasurer presented a positive balance. It was decided to conform the membership fee to the equivalent of 30 D-Kr. The young members were encouraged to take advantage of the travel grants available for training and research purposes. In the biennium 1972-74 eleven requests were received and nine were granted. The Granting Advisory Board, chaired by D. Bryce-Smith, was confirmed. Finally, because of the untimely death of Th. Förster a few months earlier, the EC and SC proposed (and the GC approved) to inaugurate an annual EPA lectureship (the “Förster Memorial Lectureship”) to commemorate his contributions to photochemistry and to the Association. A distinguished photochemist, chosen by a special commission in collaboration with local host institutes, is invited to tour and lecture in at least a couple of countries. The first Förster lecturers were George Porter in 1975, Z. Grabowski in 1976 and A. Weller in 1979.

A meeting of the EC was held in Reading in September 1975 to discuss various aspects of the ordinary management of the Association (summer school 1976, financing of the EPA, recruitment of new members, travel grant policy, promotion of national EPA Sections and preparation of the next SC and EC elections). The atmosphere of the EC meeting was very saddened by the fact that one of its members, Ernst Koerner von Gustorf, had died four days earlier.

At the end of the 1974-76 biennium, the various divisions of the EPA met again on the occasion of the VI International Symposium on Photochemistry in Aix-en-Provence (July 1976) where Jacques Joussot Dubien was elected Chairman (Fig. 7). The new Treasurer was U.P. Wild and the bank account of the Association was transferred to the Union Bank of Switzerland in Zurich.

Fig. 7. Jacques Joussot-Dubien, the third President (1976-1980) of the EPA

From: EPA-NL n. 62, p. 23

The new President was very active in establishing scientific contacts with other countries and successfully organized the French-Japanese Colloquium on Photochemistry (Bordeaux, October 1979, in collaboration with P. Courtot) and the Trans-Pyrenees Informal Meeting on Photochemistry (Bombannes, France, May 1981). Moreover, under his chairmanship, an expanded and regular printed edition of the EPA-Newsletter started to appear in January 1978.

After the detailed report on the founding of the EPA and its activities during the first decade, the principal events of the mature Association in the following decades are now summarized. At the end of the 1970s, the EPA had reached a membership of approximately 600 photochemists from some 24 countries. The membership dues for 1979 were SFr. 15. New members from new countries joined the Association, i.e., from Norway and The Soviet Union. It should be noted that from the beginning of the Association an annual Membership List was published.  Statistics regarding the trend of individual memberships indicates the rapid increase from about 200 members from 20 countries in 1972 to a slightly fluctuating number of over 800 members from 32 countries in 1983 and over 900 from more than 40 countries in the following years. At the end of the 1970s, close contacts were established with the recently created Inter-American Photochemical Society (IAPS) and the Japanese Photochemistry Association (JPA).

In July 1978, the EPA Committees held a meeting in Leuven (VII IUPAC Symposium, Chairman N. J. Turro) and on that occasion Joussot-Dubien was confirmed as Chairman, F.C. De Schryver was appointed as Vice-Chairman and A. Gilbert and H.-D. Becker as Secretaries. The needs and possibilities of cooperation and joint action of the three Societies (EPA, IAPS and JPA) were examined, particularly the coordination of photochemistry meetings and the possible publication of a common journal. A. Lamola and a special committee of the IAPS, including representatives of the two sister Societies, established contacts with various publishers to discuss the issue.

The VIII IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry was held in Seefeld (Austria) in July 1980. The proposal to establish a journal patronized by the three Photochemistry Associations was discussed further. A proposal was made to work out an agreement with Elsevier Sequoia, publisher of the Journal of Photochemistry, to try to expand the scope of the existing (physically oriented) journal with the creation of a Part B, more concerned with organic, inorganic and synthetic photochemistry, thus encompassing all aspects of the field. The new Committees of the EPA were installed. The EC was composed of F. De Schryver (Chairman, Fig. 8), F. Scandola (vice-Chairman), H.-D. Becker and F. Wilkinson (Secretaries) and J. Wirz (Treasurer). H. J. Kuhn was nominated Special Secretary for Memberships.

Fig. 8. Frans De Schryver, fourth President (1980-1984) of the EPA

From: EPA archives

At the beginning of the second decade of life, the main problems faced by the Association were the publication of a new edition of the Directory of Photochemical Laboratories and the question of a common journal with the three Photochemistry Societies. B. Holmström from Göteborg accepted the task of preparing the up-dated Directory with the help of the EPA Secretary H.-D. Becker and the Editors of the Newsletter, G.R. De Maré and H.J. Kuhn. An expanded edition was published by Elsevier-Sequoia in 1981 as Supplement No. 2 of the Journal of Photochemistry. It dealt with some 400 laboratories and some 1500 researchers from 25 European and 9 non-European countries.

Instead, the publication of the new journal encountered several difficulties, i.e., the required guarantee of 500 subscriptions from the Societies as well as other problems that did not allow the initiative to be successful. At the end of 1980, the JPA decided not to proceed further for the moment and a little later the EPA also decided not to go ahead with the venture.

It is interesting to note that the increased contacts promoted by the Association led to the organization of several joint meetings of National EPA Sections such as those of the French-German Sections (Strasbourg, Nov. 1984), Italian-Swiss Sections (Como, 1987), Italian-French Sections (La Baume-les-Aix, Oct. 1989) as well as the 1st Mediterranean Meeting in Santa Tecla, Catania, in 1991, the Central European Photochemistry Conference (Krems, Austria, Oct.1993), the French-German meeting in Strasburg in 1994, the French-German-Swiss meeting (Konstanz, 1996), the German-Israeli Symposium on Photoinduced Processes (Mülheim, April 1997) and the German-Austrian-Italian meeting (Badgastein, Austria, March 1998), the latter being successfully followed by other editions.

During this period the EPA continued to run Summer Schools for young photochemists. The one in 1982 was in Königswinter (Germany), organized by H.-D. Scharf (Fig. 9), followed by those in Nordwijk, The Netherlands (J. Cornelisse and J. Lugtenburg, Sept. 1986) and in Spiez, Switzerland (A.M. Braun, 1989). The latter was the first one organized in cooperation with the Inter-American and Japanese Photochemical Societies and dedicated to interdisciplinary research (Fig. 10). Following Summer Schools were in Rimini, Italy (F. Barigelletti, 1992), in Noordwijk, The Netherlands (J. Verhoeven, 1998) and in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands (F. Brouwer and L. De Cola, summer 2003). The organization of the EPA Summer Schools is presently continuing at 2-3 year intervals.

Fig. 9. Participants in the 4th EPA Summer School, Königswinter, Germany, Sept. 1982

From: EPA-NL n. 16, p. 29

Fig. 10. The organizing staff of the 6th EPA Summer School 1989 on “Light and Pharmaceutical Chemistry” in Spiez, Switzerland, August 1989. From the left: T. Oppenländer, A. M. Braun, H.-J. Hansen, K. Tokumaru and B. Frei

From: EPA-NL n.37, p. 29

The General Council meetings continued to be held on the occasion of the IUPAC Symposia on Photochemistry. The 1982 GC was held in Pau, France (IX Symposium). The EC was re-confirmed with only the replacement of H.-D. Becker with H. Dürr. In 1984 the GC was held in Interlaken (X IUPAC Symposium) where the question of a Society Journal was raised once more. The new EC was elected: F. Wilkinson (Chairman, Fig. 11), F. Scandola (Vice-Chairman), H. Dürr and H. Bouas-Laurent (Secretaries) and J. Wirz (Treasurer). The report of the 1983 EPA financial transactions was approved with a total credit of ca. SFr. 61,500 with an increasing trend (it will be over SFr. 80,000 in 1987). In this period the Association numbered more than 800 members.

Fig. 11. Frank Wilkinson, 1984-1988 President of the EPA

From: EPA archives

The 1986 meeting of the GC was in Lisbon (XI IUPAC Symposium) (Fig.12). The members of the EC that had finished their second term were replaced by V. Balzani (Vice-Chairman), K.H. Grellmann (Secretary) and E. Haselbach (Treasurer). The GC devoted a large part of their discussion to the question of an International Journal of Photochemistry to be supported by the three societies, analysing the arguments in favour and against managing a Journal. It was re-confirmed that the Journal should be considered an expansion (Part II) of one of the existing journals published by Pergamon (Photochemistry and Photobiology) and Elsevier (Journal of Photochemistry). The GC voted to proceed further with negotiations.

Fig. 12. Musical event at the XI IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry (Lisbon, July 1986). The picture shows the local hosts (Sebastiao Formosinho and Silvia Costa) and Frank Wilkinson (1984-1988 EPA Chairman) assisting a group of fado singers at the Conference banquet

From: EPA-NL n. 28, p. 55

The 1988 GC was held during the XII IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry in Bologna. This was really a special occasion because the Symposium intended to celebrate the 900th anniversary (1088-1988) of the Bologna University (Fig. 13) and the genius figure of Giacomo Ciamician.

From: EPA-NL n. 33, p.3

From: Archives of the Ciamician Institute of Bologna University

Fig. 13. Left: Sigillum Magnum, the silver symbol of Bologna University and right: Chairman V. Balzani opens the Congress.

On that occasion, in a suggestive traditional ceremony, the University of Bologna bestowed the “Laurea ad Honorem” on Sir George Porter (Fig. 14). Moreover, the Ciamician medal, a prize offered by the Gruppo Italiano di Fotochimica (EPA section) to a scientist who had distinguished himself for his pioneering work in the field of photochemistry, was awarded to Albert Weller (Fig. 15) and the Sigillum Magnum, the silver symbol of the old University, offered to the most renowned visitors, was given to Jean-Marie Lehn.

Fig. 14. Ceremony of the “laurea ad honorem” bestowed on Sir George Porter at the XII IUPAC Symposium. From the left: two Faculty Members (V. Balzani and S. Focardi), the Rector of the Bologna University (Prof. F. Roversi-Monaco) and Sir George

From: Archives of the Ciamician Institute of Bologna University

Fig. 15. Albert Weller receives the Ciamician medal from Prof. V. Carassiti (University of Ferrara)

From: EPA-NL n. 34, p. 54

In addition, F. Wilkinson presented the “Porter Medal Fund” established by the ex-students and other research collaborators of Sir George. The first founding medal, which will be given biennially to scientists who have made the greatest recent contributions to photochemistry, was awarded to Sir George himself. The following medals were awarded to Michael Kasha, USA (1990)(Fig. 16), Kenichi Honda, Japan (1992) (Fig. 17), Nicholas Turro, USA (1994) (Fig. 18), J.C.”Tito” Scaiano, Canada (1995), Noboru Mataga, Japan (1996), Frans de Schryver, Belgium (1998), Vincenzo Balzani, Italy (2000), Josef Michl, USA (2002), Graham R.Fleming, USA (2004), Howard E. Zimmerman, USA and Hiroshi Masuhara, Japan (2006) and David Phillips, UK (2010).

Fig. 16. Presentation of the Porter Medal to Michael Kasha by Lord Porter at the XIII International Symposium on Photochemistry, Warwick, UK, July 1990

From: EPA-NL n. 40. p. 27

Fig. 17. Porter Medal award to Prof. Honda, Leuven July 1992. From the left: Lord Porter, Kenichi Honda and Frank Wilkinson

From: EPA-NL n. 46, p. 21

Fig. 18. Nick Turro, Porter Lecturer at the XV IUPAC Symposium (Praha, July 1994). From the left: Lord Porter, the medal and Nick Turro

From: EPA-NL n. 52, p. 83

In this connection, also the Havinga Medal has to be mentioned, given by the Stichting Havinga Fonds, established in Netherland in 1979 in honour of Prof. E. Havinga (Fig. 19) on the occasion of his retirement (awarded in 1990 to K. Schaffner and in 1991 to M. A. Fox).

Fig. 19. Prof. Egbert Havinga

From: EPA-NL n. 6, p. 8

The GC in Bologna elected the new EC: V. Balzani (Chairman, Fig. 20), R.S. Davidson (Vice-Chairman), K.H. Grellmann, E. Poquet and T. Vidoczy (Secretaries), while E. Haselbach was confirmed as Treasurer. An amendment to article 9a of the EPA Statutes was approved, establishing that “only countries with 30 members or more can have two members on the Standing Committee”. The GC discussed important issues about the question of the common journal. After four years of negotiations, an agreement was approved among the three sister Societies (EPA, IAPS and JPA), the publisher (Pergamon Press) and the American Society of Photobiology to institute a two-year trial programme to expand Photochemistry and Photobiology in order to include photochemical papers of types that were not currently published in the journal. A successful trial period, dependent on the number of papers submitted and new subscriptions, would have led to a final decision about the division of the Journal into two parts, one corresponding to the current journal and the other containing photochemical papers largely unrelated to photobiology. This would lead the three Societies to run directly a separate section on Photochemistry and Photobiology with obvious scientific and financial advantages. The agreement was signed in November 1988.

Fig. 20. Prof. Vincenzo Balzani, 1988-1992 President of the EPA and recipient of the Porter Medal 2000

From: EPA-NL n. 70, p.63

Up to the end of the decade, there had been scarce participation of Eastern European countries in the Association. This started to improve also thanks to the presence of a Hungarian photochemist (T. Vidoczy) on the EC. In the summer 1989, a national group was constituted in the GDR and officially joined the EPA and a few months later the Academy of Science of the USSR decided to found a Soviet branch chaired by Prof. M.G. Kuzmin. The organization of national groups also started in other Eastern European countries. In that period a competition was launched among the EPA members to propose an appropriate logo for the EPA symbolizing its aims and activities.

Important international meetings were sponsored by the EPA in the 1980s, such as the first European Postgraduate Symposium on Photochemistry (London, April 1984, R.S. Davidson, Fig. 21), the International Meeting to honour the outstanding EPA member Lord George Porter, Nobel Laureate 1967 (London, July 1986, co-organizers D. Phillips and F. Wilkinson) and the Euchem Conference on Photoisomerism and rotamerism in organic molecules (Assisi, July 1988, U. Mazzucato).

Fig. 21. Left: Participants of the European Postgraduate Symposium on Photochemistry, London, April 1984; right: the organizer staff, from the left: T. J. Kemp, J. D. Coyle, F. De Schryver, D. Goodwin and R. S. Davidson

From: EPA-NL n. 70, p.63

The series of the Postgraduate Symposia continued in 1986 in Mülheim, Germany (H. Rau and M. Demuth), in 1988 in Jadwisin, Warsaw, Poland (St. Paszyc and J Herbich), in 1995 in Canterbury, Kent, UK (S. Davidson), and in 1997 in Mülheim again (M. Demuth).

In 1985 the Swiss EPA-Section founded the Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize (sponsored by Dr. Grammatikakis in honour of Dr. Neumann, a specialist in political sciences at the University of Vienna) for younger researchers of university and industrial institutions who had successfully contributed to the domain of photochemistry. The first prize was awarded in 1985 to A. Harriman (GB) and I. Gould (USA). Following winners were M. Demuth (Germany, 1987), W. Rettig (Germany, 1990, Fig. 22), V. Ramamurthy (USA, 1991), M. van der Auweraer (Belgium, 1992), P.F. Aramendìa (Argentina, 1994), L. De Cola (Italy, 1995), M.B. Zimmt (USA, 1996), A.G. Griesbeck (Germany, 1997), W. Nau (Germany, 1999), E. Vauthey (Switzerland, 1999), D. Guldi (USA, 2000), N. Armaroli (Italy, 2001), J. Hofkens (Belgium, 2003), D. Bassani (France, 2005), T. Fiebig (USA) and A. Wagenknecht (Germany, 2006), A. Credi (Italy, 2007), A. Heckel (Germany, 2008) and S. Jayarman (USA, 2009). In other years (e.g. 2002 and 2004) no prize was awarded because no suitable candidate was proposed.

Fig. 22. Wolfgang Rettig receives the Grammaticakis-Neumann prize for 1990 from E. Haselbach

From: EPA-NL n. 40, p. 24

The 1990 meeting of the GC was held in July in Warwick (XIII IUPAC Symposium). V. Balzani (Chaiman) and Vidoczy (Secretary) were re-elected, while the new members of the EC were J. Verhoeven (Vice-Chairman), E. Migirdicyan (Secretary) and A. Braun (Treasurer). H.J. Kuhn was appointed as Managing Editor of the Newsletter and the Editorial Board was expanded with new members of both Western and Eastern Europe.

After three rounds of the competition for an EPA logo, a call for the EPA members to vote on the many sketches proposed from different countries was announced in March 1990. Since the not so many ballots received were in favour of different proposals, it was decided to forward the best suggestion to an artist in order to create the final version. U. Mazzucato asked for the help of  designer Mr. F. Latini in Perugia. His proposal was presented at the GC of 1992 in Leuven and received such a full acclaim that it was decided that it should be the basis for the final printed version of the EPA logo (Fig. 23) which was put into action by A. Braun and H.-J. Kuhn (a detailed story of the logo by J.W. Verhoeven can be found in issue n.49 (November 1993) of the Newsletter.

Fig. 23. The EPA logo

After a period of standstill in assigning the Förster memorial lecture, in 1991 the EPA agreed that “Fachgruppe Photochemie der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker” together with “Deutsche Bunsengesellschaft für Physikalische Chemie“ should organize the granting procedure in the future. The 1991 Lecture was awarded to F.P. Schäfer (Göttingen), that of 1997 to D. Möbius (Göttingen) and to F. De Schryver (Leuven) in 1999/2000.

The 1992 meeting of the GC was held in July in Leuven (XIV IUPAC Symposium). J. Verhoeven was appointed as new Chairman (Fig. 24), J. Wirz as Vice-Chairman, D. Döpp and M.G. Kuzmin as Secretaries. E. Migirdicyan was re-confirmed as Secretary and A. Braun as Treasurer. The financial situation was considered stable, with 75% of the income from membership fees (SFr. 25 per member) used to cover the increasing cost of the Newsletter. The most important problem in that period was to expand, as much as possible, collaboration between Western and Eastern laboratories. It was decided to sponsor some photochemical meetings, such as those organized in 1993, to honour Sidney Leach (Paris) and Nikola Getoff (Vienna). Even if the EPA in general did not financially support the organization of scientific events, the request of sponsorship/patronage to international and national meetings was encouraged. As bad news, it was announced that the agreement for the common journal “Photochemistry and Photobiology” between Pergamon and the three Societies had failed because the number of subscribers and submitted papers were too few.

Fig. 24. Jan Verhoeven, Chairman 1992-1996

Reproduced from PPS 9 (2010): 883

The next meeting of the GC, SC and EC was held in July 1994 in Praha (XV IUPAC Symposium). The EC was unanimously re-elected with the only replacement being that of E. Migirdicyan (after her second term) by G. Favaro (Perugia) as Secretary. As for the financial situation, the membership fee was increased to SFr. 30 (SFr. 20 for students and retired members). As in the previous biennium, a sum of SFr. 4000 was set aside to offer travel grants for young photochemists. It was announced that the EPA would continue to be an organization associated with IUPAC. After the XIX Membership List of the EPA, issued in November 1994, it was decided to make the list available on the EPA website and up-date it biennially. T. Vidoczy’s proposal to set up an EPA electronic database in his Institution in Budapest (Photochemistry on the Internet) to help exchange of information was approved by the GC.

In this period the Association started to sponsor two biennial series of important meetings, such as the International Conference on Solar Energy and Applied Photochemistry (SOLAR), held biennially in Egypt (Fig. 25) and the International Symposium on Photochromism (ISOP, Fig. 26).

Fig. 25. Participants of the 4th Solar Conference, Cairo, Jan. 1997

From: EPA-NL n. 59, p.98

Fig. 26. Participants of the ISOP 96, the 2nd International Symposium on Photochromism, Clearwater Beach, Florida, Sept. 1996

From: EPA-NL n. 58, p. 120

The next GC meeting was in Finland (XVI IUPAC Symposium, Helsinki, July 1996). The new EC was elected: J. Wirz (Chairman, Fig. 27), J.-P. Pete (Vice-chairman), S. Canonica (Treasurer), G. Favaro, A. Vlcek, jr., I. Soboleva (Secretaires). The balance, which had remained constant at about SFr.70,000, was unanimously approved. In line with the earlier initiative of T. Vidoczy in Budapest, a new EPA homepage was developed at the Chairman’s laboratory in Basel. In 1997, G. Grabner in Vienna compiled and continually up-dated a comprehensive database of the literature dealing with photochemistry and related fields. A link to that site could be found on the EPA homepage. At the 1998 GC in Sitges, Barcelona, the EC in charge was re-confirmed.

Fig. 27. Jacob Wirz, Chairman of the EPA, 1996-2000

From: EPA-NL n.75, p.17

In 1999 H.J. Kuhn, after a splendid period of service as Managing Editor of the NL for many years, asked to be replaced and J. Kossanyi was appointed to this task.

The next GC meeting was held in Dresden in 2000 (XVIII IUPAC Symposium). The Chairman proposed some changes to the EPA Statutes. In particular it was established that one of the rights and functions of the GC is “to elect biennially the members of the new EC from the candidates proposed by the SC and the EC”. The new EC was elected: J. Waluk (Poland) as Chairman (Fig. 28), W. Rettig (Germany) as Vice-chairman, H. Lemmetyinen (Finland) and S. Monti (Italy) as Secretaires. S. Canonica was re-confirmed as Treasurer with H. Görner and W. Horspool as auditors. On that occasion, the new Chairman again took up the discussion on the subject of a new journal and planned to nominate a task force for further contacts with publishers and the sister Societies. It has to be noted in this respect that in that period, the European Society for Photobiology (ESP) had planned to start a journal that would have replaced the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, Part B and that the ESP contacted the EPA with the offer to join their initiative, becoming co-owners and co-editors.

Fig. 28. Jacek Waluk, the 2000-2004 Chairman of the EPA, 2000-2004

From: EPA archives

The new Chairman asked the EPA members to express their opinion on this proposal. It is also interesting to recall that the Chairman, considering the close links of the photochemists with relative areas (physics, spectroscopy, biology, etc.), also made some comments about the current idea that the term “Photoscience” could be more attractive and useful than “Photochemistry”. At Dresden, two refreshing historical treatises on photochemistry in the 20th century and on the IUPAC Symposia on Photochemistry were presented by Heinz Roth and Kurt Schaffner, respectively.

A successful Graduate Student Symposium was organized on February 2000 in Fribourg by T. Bally. In that occasion the 1999 Grammatikakis-Neumann prize was given to Werner Nau (Univ. Basel) and Eric Vauthey (Univ. Fribourg) (Fig. 29).

Fig. 29. Werner Nau (Univ. Basel, center) and Eric Vauthey (Univ. Fribourg, right) receive the Grammatikakis-Neumann prize 1999 from Jacques Moser (chairman of the awarding Committee, left)

From: EPA-NL n. 68, p. 25

At the beginning of 2001, a new organization, the Inter-Society Committee on the Practice of Photosciences, was established to replace, in some way, the former IUPAC Photochemistry Commission. Direct links with the sister Societies were assured and S. Braslavsky (Fig. 30) was nominated as the EPA representative whose function was to become important for developing related fields of research. In the same year, the task forces of the EPA and ESP succeeded in reaching an agreement for a new journal (Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, PPS), jointly owned by the two Societies and published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. J.F. Bornman (Denmark) and F. Wilkinson (UK) were nominated Editors-in-Chief, and J. Wirz (Switzerland) and J. Piette (Belgium) as Deputy Editors-in-Chief. The Presidents of the two sister societies (IAPS and JPA) agreed to serve on the Editorial Board of the new journal.

Fig. 30. Silvia Braslavsky, representative of EPA on the IUPAC Photochemistry Commission

From: EPA-NL n.69, p. 27

In this period the series of joint meetings among different national EPA sections, very stimulating to promote profitable collaboration, continued to be organized, such as those of the Belgium-Italy-Netherlands sections (Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 1999), of the Italian, French and Swiss Photochemistry Groups (Lausanne, 2001, Fig. 31) and the 2nd Mediterranean Meetings on Photochemistry (Giardini Naxos, Sicily, 2003).

Fig. 31. Joint meeting of the of the French-Italian-Swiss meeting of the EPA sections (Lausanne, 2001). Left to right: the Chairman Jacques Moser and the three Presidents, Giovanna Favaro,Thomas Bally and Robert Pansu

From: EPA-NL n. 72, p. 8

The next GC meeting of the EPA was held in Budapest (XIX IUPAC Symposium) in July 2002. The EC was unanimously re-elected. The meeting supported the proposal to make the electronic version of PPS available for each EPA member and made important decisions about the future of the Newsletter (see Appendix).

The 2004 GC meeting was held in Granada (XX IUPAC Symposium). W. Rettig was nominated for the new Chairmanship, but he was unable to take up the position due to poor health. The GC appointed the new EC: D. Phillips (Chairman, Fig. 32), E. Vauthey (Switzerland), D. Markovitsi (France) and N. Gritsan (Russia) as new Secretaries. H. Lemmetyinen (Finland) and S. Monti (Italy) were re-confirmed as Secretaries and S. Canonica as Treasurer. The membership fee was increased to 30 Euro (15 for students) mainly because of the increasing cost paid by the EPA for free access of its members to PPS.

Fig. 32. David Phillips, Chairman of the EPA, 2004-2007

From: EPA archives

At the end of 2004 the EPA members received the sad news of the untimely death of Jean Kossanyi, a friend photochemist who had been very active in many EPA activities and more recently as Managing Editor of the Newsletter. During this period several members started to complain about the absence of hard copies of the NL and to ask why there was a notable slowing down in its production in general (printed and online). The Chairman D. Phillips recognized that the renewed management of the Association and particularly the long illness and final loss of the Editor were the main reasons for this situation.

Later on the Chairman (see his Editorial in the on-line EPA-Newsletter of May 2006), while recognizing that the Association had been suffering in the last period and that membership and activity had declined, expressed interesting comments on the situation. He considered that the cohesion of researchers in photochemistry, which was the main goal of the Association at its very beginning, was now dissipating into other organizations concerned with specific or transversal subjects. Decline in the membership in several countries was a consequence of such movement as well as of the ageing of the original pioneering supporters, who had worked with so much enthusiasm. Decrease in the membership and increase in the cost of PPS meant that almost the entire EPA membership fee was used for the contribution to PPS. As a consequence, the Chairman urged that a big effort be made by the national representatives of EPA to increase EPA membership in all countries to help revive the Association. In the same Editorial, the Chairman announced his intention, on the occasion of his retirement from the Imperial College, to give up the Chairmanship of the EPA.

A meeting of the EC was held in London in March 2006. H. Lemmetyinen was appointed Vice-Chairman, while E. Vauthey and D. Markovitsi took on the roles of Website Manager and Newsletter Editor, respectively. Instead of at the up-coming XXI IUPAC Symposium (Kyoto, 2006), it was decided that a new Chairman and a new EC should be elected on the occasion of the GC meeting to be convened in Cologne in July 2007 on the occasion of the XXIII International Conference on Photochemistry. The EC also decided to offer a prize for the best PhD Thesis in Photochemistry. The initiative had a huge success, which continued in the following years. It was also decided to revise the Statutes of EPA to adapt them to the changes in the scientific and institutional context of the European community.

At the next GC meeting in Cologne, Dimitra Markovitsi succeeded David Phillips as Chairman of the EPA (Fig. 33). The other members of the EC were re-elected. The past Chairman remained as a member of the EC, who was complemented by D. Worrall (UK), who became the new Editor of the NL, and Werner Nau (Germany). At the meeting, Sarah Ruthven, associate member of the Editorial Board of the PPS (in the meantime R. Tyrrell, UK, and F. De Schryver, Belgium, had been appointed as Editors-in-Chief), made a positive survey on the current quality of the journal (part-owned by EPA and published by RSC). It was happily noticed that PPS had reached the highest impact factor of all photochemical/biological journals (it reached 2.71 in 2009). On the other hand, it was also once again emphasized that the subscription cost exceeded the EPA membership fee thus causing a decline in the EPA finances.

Fig. 33. Dimitra Markovitsi, President of the EPA, 2007-2010

From: EPA archives

The GC met in Gothenburg in 2008 (XXII IUPAC Symposium) and approved the revisions to the EPA Statutes presented by the EC. They decided to re-elect the current EC, assigning specific tasks to each member: Dimitra Markovitsi (France, Chairman), Helge Lemmetyinen (Finland, Vice-Chairman), Silvio Canonica (Switzerland, Treasurer), Nina Gritsan (Russia, Membership), Werner Nau (Germany, Public Relations), David Phillips (UK, Past Chair), Sandra Monti, Italy, PPS matters), D. Worrall (UK, Editor of NL) and E. Vauthey (Switzerland, Website Manager). At the meeting, the two first winners of the PhD Prize for the best thesis in the field of photochemistry (Maria Abrahamsson, Sweden, and Alexander Fürstenberg, Switzerland) presented their work.

As written in the Chairman’s Editorial of December 2008, the Association had recently started a drive towards making photochemistry known to the wider public. The Chairman and the Past-Chairman had represented the EPA at the Conference “Opening up scientific research to learning communities” held in Athens in September 2008. The fact that 2011 would be the International Year of Chemistry would offer the opportunity to give a real image of chemistry to the wider public and to publicize how photochemistry plays a role in many related fields, such as biology and cultural heritage, environmental chemistry, nanotechnologies and so on.

The last 2010 GC meeting was in Ferrara (XXIII IUPAC Symposium)(Fig. 34). It was an occasion to hear the talks of Anne Kotiaho, the winner of the second Prize for the PhD thesis, W. Nau, winner of the EPA-PPS award, and D. Phillips, recipient of the 2010 Porter Medal.

Fig. 34. Franco Scandola (chairman) opens the XXIII IUPAC Symposium (Ferrara, July 2010)

From: EPA archives

The new EC was also elected. Eric Vauthey (Fig. 35) was elected the new Chairman, Dimitra Markovitsi remained on the Committee as Past-President and S. Canonica as Treasurer. The other members were John Gilchrist (UK, Industry-Liaison), Olga Fedorova (Russia, Public Relations), Werner Nau (Germany, Responsible for PPS matters), Bo Albinsson (Sweden, Newsletter Editor), Julia Pérez-Prieto (Spain, Associate Editor) and David Worrall (UK, Website manager).

Fig. 35. Eric Vauthey, President of EPA in force (2010-2012)

From: EPA archives

In the satellite meeting “Ciamician Paternò Heritage Photosciences, a look into the future”, organized by A. Albini, Dimitra Markovitsi explained how it could be a good opportunity for the EPA to be involved in an activity aimed at popularising photochemistry in the framework of the 2008-2010 e-knownet project “Information and Communication Technologies enabled non-formal science learning”, supported by the European Lifelong Learning Programme.

At the end of this review, it is dutiful to sadly mention that two of the co-founders and active Chairmen of the EPA left us in the last years: Jacques Joussot-Dubien, the third President, on May 2009, aged 81, and Derek Bryce-Smith, the first President, on June 2011, aged 85.

The number of the 2011 memberships (the list on the EPA web-site reports less than 500 members but it is certainly not yet complete) seems to be still quite a bit less compared with the period 1980-2000. Such huge decrease probably depends much on the activity of the national sections and representatives, otherwise it would be difficult to explain why countries with similar numbers of active photochemical laboratories and similar production in the field have quite different numbers of associated researchers. Obviously, as said above, the decline in enthusiasm plays an important role too. Anyway, at the end of the first decade of the new century, after some sort of lethargy, the Association has shown signs of revival, thanks to the big efforts made by the Chairmen and the various Committees during this last period. It is also important that the Association has definitively resolved the problem of the Journal, which has been a thorny problem of EPA for decades. After ten years of life, the Photochemistry Photobiology Sciences is now an international journal of high reputation, meeting the growing information needs of scientists working in the areas of photochemistry and photobiology, and indeed, encourages a synergism between these two important research areas. At present the journal, which maintains a quite satisfactory impact factor, is published monthly on behalf of the European Photochemistry Association (EPA), the European Society for Photobiology (ESP), the Asia and Oceania Society for Photobiology (AOSP) and the Korean Society of Photoscience (KSP), and is available in both printed and electronic formats. The affiliation of the two eastern societies with Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences as their new official journal fosters the promotion and development of photochemistry and photobiology at an intercontinental level. Also the continuation of the schools, meetings and prizes organized and/or sponsored by the Association and other initiatives under study offer good occasions to revive the spirit of the Association and to realize that it is at work the next 2012 GC meeting (XXIV Symposium) to be held in Coimbra, Portugal will offer a nice occasion to feel the pulse of the EPA and to make new projections.

During the first years of the EPA life, distribution of information among the members was entrusted to typewritten circular letters. In January 1978, under the chairmanship of J. Joussot-Dubien, when the Association was approaching maturity, an expanded printed edition of the EPA Newsletter (at a professional-like printing and binding level) started to be regularly published on a quarterly basis (sometime less). S.G. Boué from the Free University of Bruxelles and H.J. Kuhn from the Max-Planck Institut für Strahlenchemie in Mülheim a.d. Ruhr were appointed Editors of the Newsletter. It should also be recalled that the Institute in Mülheim had been so helpful (with Koerner von Gustorf at the beginning and later with H.J. Kuhn) in solving the Association’s printing problems.

As outlined by the Chairman in the first issue, the aim of the Newsletter was to include essentially permanent columns on the following items: editorials from the Chairman and the bodies of the EPA; announcements of forthcoming events in the field of photochemistry (conferences, summer schools, workshops, etc); general news from the international scientific scenery; personal news (deaths, anniversaries, nominations, etc.); theses, new books, book reviews, and job openings . Other desirable reports on EPA activities (relations with other scientific organizations, scientific highlights of meetings with photographs, presentation of photochemical laboratories and new equipment, financial reports, short reports on present and future trends in special fields of photochemistry, commercial messages, letters from members and humour) were also considered and, in fact, have been published now and then.

In 1979 G.R. De Maré replaced S.G. Boué as co-Editor of the Newsletter with H.J. Kuhn. In 1982 H. Dürr joined them as the third co-Editor. The Newsletter became more and more attractive with the publication of the series History of Photochemistry (pioneers and trends), Photochemistry in Europe, Technical Reports, Topical Articles, the news about Glossary of Terms used in Photochemistry (from the IUPAC Commission) and regular news from the sister Societies (IAPS and JPA). Nevertheless, in the July 1986 issue, the Editors of the Newsletter published a complaint against the scarce contributions received from the EPA members asking for more active participation from the “silent members”, estimated to be 95%.

It was interesting to read the editorials in the EPA-NL by V. Balzani in the 1988-1992 period of his chairmanship. Besides the routine discussion of the EPA activities, his comments devoted considerable attention to real questions, mainly political and social problems, such as the risks and real disasters of the war in the Middle East, the central role of chemistry in a civilized society, the new horizons for photochemistry, .i.e., the movement from molecules to supermolecules, how to fight against the bad reputation of chemistry which causes lack of students and funding, and similar topics. Also very interesting were the editorial reflections of the next Chairman, J. Verhoeven, but devoted to different (scientific/philosophical) topics such as the interactions between light and matter, usefulness of computerization to (photo)chemists, creativity and innovations in research, etc. At the end of 1980s, the EPA-NL called for advertisements giving the advantage to firms producing instruments of interest for photochemical work to make their products better known to a highly competent readership.

The EPA Committees  met in July 1990 in Warwick and appointed H.J. Kuhn as Managing Editor (Fig. 36) and expanded the Editorial Board adding to the former co-Editors, G.R. De Maré and H. Dürr, other five new members: H. Hennig (Leipzig, Germany), J. Herbich (Warsaw, Poland), J. Kossanyi (Thiais, France), U. Mazzucato (Perugia, Italy) and M.G. Kuzmin (Moscow, USSR).

Fig. 36. Dr. Hans Jochen Kuhn, who edited for many years the Newsletter.

From: EPA-NL n. 67, p.1

In the early 1990s the Newsletter had reached its maturity and its articles were selectively abstracted in Chemical Abstracts. The NL, really the main activity of the Association, was of crucial importance as a vehicle of communication among photochemists. It was considered a real point of strength of the EPA, mainly thanks to the efforts of the Managing Editor, who dedicated time and energy to this job. The NL continued to be prepared and printed at the Max-Planck Institut of Mülheim under his ever inspiring and tireless activity. The collaboration established with IAPS and JPA had further enhanced its international character. Regular publication of photochemical topics received from the IUPAC Commission on Photochemistry, as was done in the past with the “Glossary of Terms used in Photochemistry”, was considered of great use to the readers.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Newsletter, the author’s reflections about its good health and its improvements, based on a comparison of the contents between the first and second decades, appeared in n. 61, November 1997. In the same issue, since there was no index for about the 60 EPA-NLs published in this period, the Editor started to publish a series of overviews of articles, reviews and notes of various nature that had been published in the first two decades to help readers to find articles that could be of lasting interest.

Starting in 1994, EPA was accessible on the Internet. This created perplexities about the role of the printed version of the NL, which was the core service of the Association, but its printing and distribution had also used up most of its resources. Therefore, considering also that the funding from governmental agencies and national foundations had virtually dried up in that period, the proposal for the future publication of the NL on the Internet and e-mail distribution started to be requested by various members.

In 1999 the bad news of Jochen Kuhn’s wish to be replaced as the Managing Editor of the NL (yet remaining on the Board) started to circulate. In n. 67 of the NL (November 1999), the Chairman gave the official news in his editorial where he recognized the splendid service of Jochen since the beginning and his merit for the high standard reached by the NL and its usefulness as the medium for communication among photochemists. J. Kossanyi was appointed as Managing Editor, while G. De Maré and M. Kuzmin were replaced on the Editorial Board by M. Demuth (Germany), A. Parusel (Austria), J.-P. Pete (France) and F. Wilkinson (UK).

The GC meeting in Budapest 2002 made important decisions about the future of the Newsletter, namely to shift the scientific articles of the EPA-NL to PPS, leaving the NL mainly devoted to the EPA news, to publish only one printed issue per year and to publish bimonthly (or more) electronic issues on the EPA website. This decision became effective soon and the regular production of the printed NL ceased with issue n. 76 at the end of 2002. The next printed issue (n. 77) appeared only in February 2004 and the next one in June 2008. The EPA-NL passed through a series of difficult circumstances in that period because of the parallel suffering situation of the Association (see above), but specifically due to the Editor’s long illness, which culminated in his sad and premature death in December 2004 (see a tender obituary by K. Schaffner in the on-line NL issue of May 2005). A willing volunteer, Mohamed Sarakha (France), took over as provisional Editor and did his best in that not-easy situation. At the meeting of the EC in London in March 2006, Dimitra Markovitsi was appointed Editor of the NL but after her nomination as Chairman in 2007, the position passed to David Worrall (UK).

In the meantime, several EPA members lamented about the absence of a printed version and a small pocket-booklet seemed to be more attractive than navigating on the website. The EC tried to meet these requests half way, so in 2006 the NL started to appear more regularly with two issues per year, generally one electronic and one printed.  In the meantime, the printing had moved from Mülheim to Tournos, France, then, after brief periods to Warszawa and Bologna; it is now printed in Loughborough, UK, managed by D. Worrall. At the 2010 GC meeting in Ferrara, Bologna, Bo Albinsson (Sweden) was appointed new Editor of the EPA Newsletter and Julia Pérez-Prieto (Spain) Associate Editor.

Adapted from: Mazzucato, Ugo (2012). The history of the European Photochemistry Association. In: Albini, Angelo & Fasani, Elisa (eds.). Photochemistry, vol. 40, pp. 197 – 229. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. eISBN: 978-1-84973-488-2.

Reproduced with permission of the Royal Society of Chemistry