|Description||At the 1960 Paris meeting and the 1962 Brussels meeting of the Chairmen of European National Committees for Chemistry there was some consideration of West European discussion meetings. At the 1963 meeting held at the Royal Society Thompson introduced a note which he had prepared on the need for small conferences of the 'Gordon' type and possible action which might be taken to arrange such conferences in the next few years. The discussion which followed showed that all present were in favour of proceeding with the plan for something along the lines of 'Gordon' Conferences in Europe and the meeting agreed that Chairmen of National Committees should explore the views in their countries and submit suggestions to a sub-committee (including Thompson) whose purpose should be to collect information and investigate possible locations, finance, subjects, name and membership of organising committees. Questionnaires were sent out with the minutes and the information was returned to Thompson who presented the results in a paper to a meeting of the sub-committee at the Royal Society in March 1964.|
The meeting agreed to proceed at once to arrange conferences for 1965 and to call them European Chemical Conferences (EUCHEM). The meeting also agreed to adopt the general principles of organisation suggested by Thompson.
1. Attendance should be limited. The upper limit should be 100 active participants, and often a much smaller number, say 40-50 would be preferable. There should be a carefully arranged balace between younger and more senior members, and when it is relevant between workers in pure research and those from industrial laboratories. Speakers should be selected on the basis of their known ability to contribute to the subject of the meeting.
2. Nothing should be written, recorded or published, and the onformation presented should not be quoted elsewhere without the approval of the speaker concerned.
3. Discussion should be confined to mornings and evenings, leaving the afternoons free for recreation, relaxation, or informal discussions.
4. Within the formal sessions, the number of introductory papers should be restricted, tow or three each morning, and one each evening. Meetings might last 3-5 days.
5. All participants (including members of family if present) should live at the location of the meeting.
Organised on these principles EUCHEM conferences proved a great success in European scientific cooperation. In an article in <i>Chemistry in Britain<\i> written to mark the tenth year of the conferences, Thompson pointed out that between 1965 and 1973 55 conferences were held in 13 different countries, covering a wide range of topics in physical, inorganic, and analytical chemistry, some with a strongly 'applied' flavour. Nine conferences had been held in 1974 and ten were planned for 1975.
Thompson served as chairman of the international organising committee until just before his death in December 1983 and wrote all the annual Progress Reports. The secretariat was provided by the Royal Society.