The NASA Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory dominated the talks at Thursday, March 25th, 2010 session of the Special Symposium on Observational and Experimental Astrochemistry at the 239th National American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco. Everyone shone brightly with each talk ended with more questions from the audience than time allowed.
Louis Allamandola presented a invited talk on the photochemistry of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in cosmic ices. Andrew Mattioda gave two excellent talks. Pitching to SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) and the Herschel Space Telescope, he gave one on the Far Infrared (FIR) spectroscopy of PAHs (experimental and theoretical) and one on the O/OREOS (Organisms/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses) nanosatellite mission. Alessandra Ricca gave a beautiful talk on the FIR properties of very large PAHs (80 to 130 carbon atoms), again tying to their importance for SOFIA and Herschel. Cesar Contraras gave a nice talk on particulate formation from PAH precursors. Christiaan Boersma gave a stunning presentation on the PAH IR spectroscopic database. Farid Salama closed the session with an interesting talk on the formation of carbon species in Titan’s atmosphere.
An excellent article about the symposium can be found in the Chemical and Engineering News journal (see attached pdf). A side article described the O/OREOS nanosatellite mission.