Reaction Mechanisms Conference

This distinguished Reaction Mechanisms Conference (RMC) has held a position of long-standing significance in mechanistic chemistry since its founding in 1946. The RMC resembles a Gordon Research Conference in both size and format. Discussion and sharing of ideas at the forefront of the field has always been the style. Subjects traditionally include organic, organometallic, inorganic, and biological studies with significant mechanistic implications. The scope has broadened in the past decade; initially the focus was on mechanistic organic chemistry in the traditional sense, with emphasis on the topics and controversies that had great impact on the development of organic chemistry as a whole. The list of the organizers for the early conferences includes the names of many of the founding fathers of modern organic chemistry.

37th Reaction Mechanisms Conference

The 37th Reaction Mechanisms Conference (RMC) will be held June 10-13, 2018 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Ken Houk will be the honoree. The topics that RMC 2018 will focus on are among others; theory, reactive intermediates, materials, catalysts, dynamics in solution and solid state.The RMC has been serving the mechanistic chemistry community since 1954, and typically about 150–200 faculty, students, and industrial chemists attend the meeting. 

Abstracts are now being accepted at:  Housing information is available here:  Meeting registration information will be available shortly. For more information on the 2018 conference see the conference website:

Recent Reaction Mechanisms Conference

Topics covered at RMC 2016 included computational chemistry, mechanisms in synthesis, materials/supramolecular chemistry, photochemistry and reactive intermediates, and biomechanisms. The 36th conference also included scientific poster sessions and a workshop on best practices to increase diversity and access to the study of chemistry and careers in chemistry. As in previous years, an important feature of the RMC is participation of undergraduates. The Theoretically Interesting Molecules (TIM) consortium led by K.C. Russell (Northern Kentucky University) has again been approved for NSF-REU funding.  Part of the undergraduates’ participation is the Undergraduate Context Session, during which the TIM consortium faculty members lead an interactive problem-solving session to further clarify/explain some of the seminar topics presented at the conference. 

As tradition, RMC 2016 devoted an evening session to honor the career and accomplishments of a scientist or scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of mechanistic chemistry. The RMC 2016 honorees were Professors Matthew S. Platz and Weston T. Borden.

History of the Reaction Mechanisms Conference

Brian Myers and Ed Fenlon are researching the history of the Reaction Mechanisms Conference (view their recent work on the NOS). Currently, they are gathering information, photos, and stories about past conferences from previous participants. In particular, they are looking for the speakers and titles for the RMC from these years: 1962, 1964, 1966, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002. Ideally this would come from copies of the program books – scanned in electronic versions or hard copies. Please send information to Brian Myers and Ed Fenlon.

36thSt. Louis University
John P. Toscano and Dina C. Merrer (co-Chairs), Ryan D. McCulla (Local Organizer)2016

Reaction Mechanisms Conferences Year
1st University of Notre Dame
Paul D. Bartlett, Charles C. Price
2nd Gordon Research Conference
William v E. Doering, Frank H. Westheimer, Frank Mayo, Saul Winstein
3rd Northwestern University
Stanley J. Cristol, John D. Roberts, Cheves Walling
4th Bryn Mawr College
Ernst Berliner, Herbert C. Brown, David Y. Curtin, C. Gardiner Swain, Wyman E. Vaughan
5th University of New Hampshire
Donald J. Cram, Nathan Kornblum, Henry Kuivila, Richard M. Noyes
6th Swarthmore College
Frederick G. Bordwell, George S. Hammond, Harold Kwart, Robert W. Taft
7th University of Chicago
Weldon G. Brown, Elias J. Corey, Ralph G. Pearson
8th Princeton University
George Buchi, DeLos F. DeTar, Paul v R. Schleyer, Andrew Streitwieser, Jr.
9th Brookhaven National Laboratory
Frederick D. Greene, William McEwen, Kenneth B. Wiberg (Chair), Alfred P. Wolf
10th Oregon State University
Ronald Breslow, John L. Kice, Elliot N. Marvell, V. J. Shiner (Chair), Howard E. Zimmerman
11th McMaster University
Jerome A. Berson, Arthur N. Bourns, Joseph F. Bunnett (Chair), Gerhard L. Closs, John Warkentin
12th Brandeis University
Harlan L. Goering, Ernst Grunwald, Maurice M. Kreevoy, Howard E. Simmons (Chair)
13th University of California, Santa Cruz
Joseph F. Bunnett, Harold Hart, Ross Robertson, William F. Saunders, Jr. (Chair)
14th University of Vermont
Paul G. Gassman, William M. Jones, John L. Kice, Calvin D. Ritchie (Chair)
15th Colorado State University
John I. Brauman, Kenneth E. DeBruin, Anthony M. Trozzolo (Chair), Charles E. Wilcox, Jr.
16th College of William and Mary
Robert J. Crawford, Charles H. DePuy (Chair), Eddie Hedaya, Melvyn D. Schiavelli
17th University of Minnesota – Duluth
Robert G. Bergman, Ronald Caple, Maurice M. Kreevoy, J. C. Martin (Chair), Robert A. Moss
18th University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Charles P. Casey, E. Thomas Kaiser, C. Peter Lillya, J. Michael McBride (Chair), Bernard Miller
19th University of Utah
Peter B. Dervan, Josef Michl (Chair), Ned A. Porter, Peter J. Stang
20th Duke University
Edward M. Arnett (Chair), Robert D. Miller, Richard R. Schrock
21st University of Texas – Austin
Marye Anne Fox, Joseph J. Gajewski, John C. Gilbert, Kendall N. Houk (Chair), L. M. Stephenson
22nd University of Pittsburgh
John I. Brauman, Paul Dowd, David McClure, Julius Rebek, Jr., Stuart W. Staley, Patricia L. Watson
23rd University of Colorado
Cynthia J. Burrows, Gerhard L. Closs, Paul Dowd, G. Barney Ellison, Matthew S. Platz (Chair), Phillip M. Warner
24th University of Maine
Udo H. Brinker (chair), Joseph J. Dannenberg, Gideon Fraenkel, Raymond C. Fort, Jr., James E. Jackson, Philip T. S. Lau, Allan R. Pinhas
25th University of Notre Dame
Edward M. Arnett, John E. Baldwin, Joseph E. Dinnocenzo, William v E. Doering (Chair), Paul Dowd, Kendall N. Houk, Frank-Gerrit Klärner, Daniel J. Pasto, Matthew S. Platz, Richard L. Schowen, Robert R. Squires, Kenneth B. Wiberg
26th State University of New York – Stony Brook
William J. le Noble, Kenneth B. Wiberg (Chair)
27th Asilomar Conference Center – Pacific Grove, California
Donald H. Aue, John E. Baldwin, Cynthia J. Burrows, Miguel A. Garcia-Garibay, Kendall N. Houk (Chair), Frank-Gerrit Klärner, Yves Rubin
28th University of Wisconsin – Madison
Barry K. Carpenter (Chair), Robert J. McMahon
29th The Ohio State University – Columbus
Christopher M. Hadad, Hilkka Kenttämaa (co-Chair), Matthew S. Platz, Craig Wilcox (co-Chair)
30th Northwestern University
Weston T. Borden (Chair), Joseph B. Lambert
31st University of Maryland
Donald H. Aue (Chair), Daniel E. Falvey
32nd University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Malcolm D. E. Forbes, Richard P. Johnson (Chair), Clelia W. Mallory
33rd University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Robert S. Sheridan (Chair), Paul R. Rablen (Vice Chair), Paul M. Lahti (Local Organizer), Sally Mallory (Convener)
34th University of Missouri in Columbia
Christopher Hadad (Chair), Rainer Glaser (local host)
35th UC Davis
Paul G. Wenthold (Chair), Dean Tantillo (Local Organizer) 
37th University of British Columbia, Vancouver
William Jenks and Anna Gudmundsdottir (co-Chairs), Jason Hein (Local Organizer)