26 July 2011
Leverhulme bursar Dale Brownson reports on the 11th International Conference on Frontiers of Polymers and Advanced Materials (incorporating Biomaterials Africa) which took place in Pretoria, South Africa on 22 - 27 May 2011.
The conference provided a unique scope, involving a blend of science, technology and business. It brought together leading international scientists, engineers, and top-level industrial management and business executives for discussions on the status of advanced materials, new technologies and industrial and business opportunities. The conference was truly multidisciplinary and global, which allowed for a wide and interesting insight into all aspects of advancing science which I found highly informative and stimulating.
A wide array of interesting and informative plenary lectures was incorporated in the conference. A representative of Samsung for example, explored the future possibilities of scientific innovation within everyday inanimate objects, followed by an overview of nanomaterials in healthcare and the environment. Throughout the week I divided my time between different symposiums, however I dedicated the majority of my time to symposium four (advanced materials and nano-structures in electrochemistry). One lecture that really interested me was given by Janice Limson (Grahamstown, South Africa), concerning the enhancement of carbon nanotubes performance for sensor applications. In addition to this, a presentation from Serge Cosnier (Toulouse, France) on bio-fuel cells was also inspiring, and provided me with an insight into an area of electrochemistry that I may venture into when conducting future research.
I contributed to the conference by presenting a poster detailing the research that I have recently undertaken, which focused on the electrochemical usefulness of graphene. The two poster sessions on Tuesday and Thursday were excellent opportunities for informal discussions regarding my work, where my poster gained considerable interest from the attendees. This allowed me to discuss my work in detail and gain vital feedback from fellow scientists working within this field.
I feel that I have gained an invaluable experience from attending this conference. I have been given the opportunity to disseminate my work within the scientific community, and it has allowed me to interact and engage in discussions with fellow scientists, expanding my scientific knowledge and understanding within many electrochemical aspects. I have gained vital feedback on my current research, drawing inspiration from external sources, and grown in confidence when presenting to wider audiences. Additionally, I have been able to network with both industrial and academic professionals from around the world.
I gratefully acknowledge the financial support from SCI via the Leverhulme Travel Bursary.
Dale A C Brownson
Manchester Metropolitan University