With the Covid-19 pandemic mostly behind us, Pittcon reconvened in person for the first time since 2020, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from March 18–22, 2023. In general, trade shows have been trending smaller over the past two decades, and Pittcon is no exception. While the smaller show has a more intimate feel, one can easily see the widening of the aisles, the greater spacing of the booths, and reduced efforts from major vendors. This reduced effort is unfortunate; I hope that major vendors will reconsider attending and marketing at these expositions as a means for “waving the flag,” not only for themselves, but for the analytical science industry as a whole.
Pittcon 2024 will be held from February 24–28, 2024, in San Diego, California. Now that we are out of the pandemic, I challenge everyone to attend a professional conference over the next year. Also, consider participating in a local or regional chromatography discussion group or local section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting. In the remainder of 2023 and early 2024, I will be attending at least four meetings, including the American Chemical Society in San Francisco in August 2023, the Eastern Analytical Symposium in Princeton, New Jersey in November 2023, and Pittcon in San Diego. I have used the rise of the virtual conferences to attend additional meetings that I would not have attended otherwise because of travel costs. Two years of global pandemic were extremely difficult for conference organizers, and for the many vendors, contractors, and economies that conferences support. They still need your help, even more than last year. Conference and meeting attendance is still the best way to improve skills, learn about new techniques, train, and educate yourself.
In the specific space of gas chromatography, I highly recommend the 20th International 2-D Gas Chromatography (GCxGC) Symposium, held in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, on May 28–June 1, 2023. This meeting will include any of the best minds in GCxGC and GC, and is of special interest to anyone who has heard about GCxGC and wants to learn more about it. The list of speakers is an international all-star list of top chromatographers. For a no-cost virtual experience, look out for the 2023 ChromTalks, in May, sponsored by LCGC and ChromAcademy, its online training platform.
GC continues to have a strong presence on the conference circuit and in literature. Topics such as cannabis analysis, biofuels, food and beverages, forensics, pharmaceuticals, and general applications of both GC and GCxGC are seen in a robust publication space. GC itself is trending toward being less the driver of research than its application to scientific problems, and the expectation is that this will continue in the future.