The aim of this series of conferences, which take place every two years, is to provide a forum for meeting and discussion to the European solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance community. A similar event has existed for many years in the United States, but not in Europe, although the European contribution in this field is substantial. The first edition of this series of meetings was held in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, in September 1999. The reception by the Community was very warm and the level of the scientific discussion was outstanding (the meeting achieved an average score of 4.6/5 for a 47 point questionnaire distributed at the end of the conference). Solid-state NMR is a technique that is undergoing a period of rapid and exciting development, both on theoretical and technological grounds. The higher degree of complexity of solid-state NMR has somewhat delayed its development with respect to analogous applications in solution. However, the efforts and achievements in the past few years have been remarkable, such that a widening in the range of applications (similar to the ubiquitous solution-state NMR) is taking place.
Many domains of science are already taking advantage of the information provided by solid-state NMR: fundamental and applied physics; organic, inorganic, pharmaceutical and polymer chemistry; geochemistry; structural biology. A wide range of applications in industrial fields is also to be foreseen, polymers and cements being long standing examples. The number of participants to the conference will be limited at about 200, which proved to be an optimal figure in order to provide an adequate representation of all components and to stimulate the widest exchange of scientific and human contacts. Particularly important is the role of young scientists. A full session is dedicated to emerging personalities and PhD students. Plenty of opportunity for discussion with senior scientists is provided, with dedicated areas in the conference-long poster session, or during meals and breaks (all taken in common). Finally, a particular effort is made to stimulate the participation of those European countries in which a tradition of solid-state NMR is less established.