The 22nd International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC), organized by the Division of Mass Spectrometry (DSM) of the Italian Chemical Society and the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation (IMSF), was held in Florence, Italy on August 26-31, 2018. For the over 1725 attendees from 68 different countries, the conference was an unforgettable experience. Florence, with its rich history, beauty, and culture, and of course, the famous Tuscan food and wine, was an ideal location to host a large gathering with a relaxed atmosphere. IMSC is not new to Florence. In fact, its seventh edition was hosted in this town in 1976. IMSC #1 was held in London in 1958. And so, the 60th anniversary of IMSC was celebrated in a return visit to Florence. The IMSC 2018 venue was in the historic “Fortezza da Basso”, a masterpiece of Renaissance military architecture, built in 1534- 1537, fully restored and located nearby many hotels and all the attractions (museums, theatres, monuments, etc.) of the city. Five short courses, covering different areas of mass spectrometry (fundamentals, foodomics, MS imaging, newborn screening, solid-phase microextraction), were held prior to the main conference (August 25-26). They provided an opportunity for the 116 students to update their knowledge on fundamentals and advanced topics in mass spectrometry. The main conference program consisted of 5 parallel sessions grouped around 5 main topics: life sciences, instrumentation and methods, food and beverage, fundamental mass spectrometry, and organic and inorganic MS- challenges & applications. Plenary, keynote, award, and contributed oral lectures, as well as the poster presentations resulted in 1246 total presentations. With an additional 16 vendor-hosted lunch symposia and 10 late afternoon workshops scheduled during the week, the conference was packed with content covering nearly all aspects of mass spectrometry. Over 500 students attended the conference; 85 fellowships and travel awards were distributed to young scientists. A novelty for IMSC was the free Child Day- Care service offered at the conference. The conference gala dinner was held at the historical abode, Villa Viviani, located on the hill of Settignano, a 15-minute bus ride away from Florence city center. The most ancient part of the building dates back to the 13th century. (Fun fact: In 1892, the Villa hosted Mark Twain and his family. Twain would remark, “The situation of the villa was perfect. It was three miles from Florence, on the side of a hill…to see the sun sink overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy…”. - https://www.openlettersmonthly.com/issue/ he-might-as-well-have-called-me-nancy-mark-twain-in-italy/) The dinner’s festivities including a rousing round of post-meal “calisthenics” set to the tune of “Stand Up, Sit Down” that was enthusiastically lead by IMSC Chair, Professor Gianluca Giorgi. The Villa’s splendid Italian style garden and its breathtaking sight of Florence and the surrounding countryside was the punctuation mark for a most memorable IMSC.
Photo caption: Donatella Caruso (President of the Division of Mass Spectrometry of the Italian Chemical Society), Gianluca Giorgi (IMSC 2018 Chair), and Cathy Costello (IMSF President)