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Conferences | Events

First Time in Philadelphia is a Success for Pittcon 2013


Pittcon 2013, the 64th Conference and Exposition for Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, ended on the 21st March. This global event brought together more than 18,000 attendees; 40% of which attended the Conference for the first time.

New this year, was the partnership between Pittcon and Innovative Publishing, publishers of Food Safety Tech and organizers of Food Labs Conference. This strategic partnership led to the co-location of Food Labs Conference to be held in conjunction with Pittcon. The organizers of both events were pleased with their first-year success and are looking forward to expanding the relationship.

Pittcon 2013 President Ronald Bargiel was very positive about the overall results of this two-day conference and commented, “The food industry is one of Pittcon’s top industries for growth. We are excited about this newly formed partnership with Food Safety Tech and look forward to working jointly to increase Pittcon’s presence in the food industry.”

Rick Biros, president of Innovative Publishing and publisher of Food Safety Tech added, “Co-locating with Pittcon makes perfect sense for everyone. This partnership makes it possible for food industry lab managers to significantly benefit from the first conference [Food Labs] focused on their needs along with having access to thousands of laboratory technology suppliers at Pittcon—All under one roof.”


Global Attendance Remains Strong

Pittcon has always had a strong global presence, and 2013 was no exception with 28% of attendees being from outside the United States; top countries by attendance were Canada, China, United Kingdom, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. Attendees include lab managers, scientists, chemists, researchers and professors, from industrial, academic, and government labs. They represent an equally broad number of scientific disciplines including life science, food science, drug discovery, environmental, forensics, nanotechnology, water/wastewater, energy/fuel, agriculture and bioterrorism.

The dynamic exposition floor consisted of 1,011 exhibitors from 28 countries occupying 1,925 booths displaying the latest innovations in instrumentation and technology used in laboratory science. This year, we welcomed 167 first-time exhibitors. There were three specialized areas on the floor —Life Science, Laboratory Information Management (LIMS) and New Exhibitors.

Key decision makers attending the conference account for 80% of the attendees who rely on the exposition to identify or finalize the purchase of laboratory products for their organizations. Ken Grant, director of sales and marketing for Analtech commented, “We have been exhibiting at Pittcon for decades. . .every year, the experience gets better and better. . . not just the quantity, but in quality of interactions.”


Robust Technical Program Offers Multiple Educational Opportunities

Pittcon offered more than 2,000 technical sessions presented in 78 symposia, 12 awards, 93 oral sessions, 12 workshops and 62 posters. Approximately 40% of the presentations focused on life science topics.

In 2012, The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation signed an agreement under which the Conference has received an endowment to undertake educational training and development in laboratory sciences with special emphasis in resource limited countries worldwide. Therefore, we have renamed our plenary and keynote lecture in honor of Wallace H. Coulter.

Former Pittcon President Jon Peace stated, “We were very honored to be the recipients of this grant. Mr. Coulter’s passions were the application of engineering principles to scientific research and embracing the diversity of world cultures which are consistent with our mission and the international impact of the Conference. He added, “We strongly believe that this [grant] will go a long way to perpetuate quality programming at Pittcon.”

The Foundation’s Vice President of Technology Development, Elias Caro, commented, “We chose to make this gift to Pittcon because of its excellent educational programs and worldwide leadership, two passions that Wallace Coulter embraced during his remarkable career. We hope that this funding will jump start programs that improve laboratory science in the developing world, continuing Wallace Coulter’s efforts to advance the collective knowledge.”

The Wallace H. Coulter Plenary Lecture, presented by Nobel Laureate Sir Harry Kroto, was attended to a capacity audience followed by a complimentary mixer. The Wallace H. Coulter Keynote speaker, R. Barnett, discussed his research and findings on the Large Hadron Collider and the experiments and nature of the Higgs boson.

The 42 Conferee Networking sessions provided a unique opportunity for conferees from around the world to meet in an informal setting to discuss topics of mutual interest. The facilitator-assisted sessions discuss techniques, solutions to challenges and innovative concepts. One of the highlights of these sessions was “The Future of Marcellus Shale” with Michael Krancer, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The Short Course program offered an opportunity for skill-building training and continuing education for laboratory professionals. Participants have stated that these courses are another factor in selecting Pittcon as the one conference they attend every year. This year, 100 short courses were offered covering a wide variety of topics with a special emphasis on nanotechnology specifically nanomaterials, health/safety, and nanotechnology in life science. Lab management courses are a significant part of the program and provide critical insight into the interpretation of the requirements of regulatory aspects, global guidelines, and laboratory standards.

The diverse selections, ranging from beginning to advanced levels, were attended by more than 1,400 participants.

The 2013 Short Course Chairman Heather Juzwa remarked, “Short Courses play an important role in the Pittcon experience for our attendees. Our courses help laboratory personnel to understand current industry trends, prepare them for the challenges of changing environments, and assist with achieving educational and developmental career goals.”


Miscellaneous Information

  • The Pittcon Employment Bureau posted more than 450 available positions from 150 employers and resumes from 525 candidates.
  • Each year through Science Week, Pittcon offers outreach and support programs for science education in the city that hosts its annual convention. Six hands-on workshops designed for upper elementary school students and middle school students led 780 students through the exciting process of experimentation and discovery. Teacher workshops supported by school equipment grants were attended by 105 elementary, middle and high school teachers from the Philadelphia area. Lee Marek conducted the highly educational yet entertaining lecture/demo, “Weird Science on Fuels and Energy” to a crowd of 850 high school students.
  • The 2012/2013 Exhibitor Distributor Networking posted 350 participants collectively from Pittcon, JSIA, and BCEIA conferences.


Pittcon Establishes a Collaborative Program Resource Team

The Pittcon Organizing Committee announced the formation of a Program Resource Team. The purpose of this team is to collaborate with Pittcon to further develop the technical program. The Team, which has already begun working with the 2014 Program Committee, consists of experts in the fields of pharmaceutical science, nanotechnology, and food science.

Members include:

Alan G. Marshall, Ph.D.
Robert O. Lawton Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Director, Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program
Florida State University

Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
National Academy of Sciences

Lowri S. de Jager, Ph.D.
Research Chemist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Alexander Star, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Chemistry

John Steichen, Ph.D.
Retired, DuPont, Senior Research Fellow

Christopher J. Welch, Ph.D.
Science Lead, Analytical Chemistry
Chair, New Technologies Review & Licensing Committee
Merck Research Laboratories

About Pittcon

Pittcon® is a registered trademark of The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization. Co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, Pittcon is the premier annual conference and exposition on laboratory science. Proceeds from Pittcon fund science education and outreach at all levels, kindergarten through adult. Pittcon donates more than a million dollars a year to provide financial and administrative support for various science outreach activities including science equipment grants, research grants, scholarships and internships for students, awards to teachers and professors, and grants to public science centers, libraries and museums. 

Visit for more information.

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