17 Oct 2014
In August I was given the opportunity to travel to Busan, South Korea to attend the 9th International Aerosol Conference. Busan is the second largest city in South Korea with a population of 3.6 million people and is located on the south-eastern tip of the Korean peninsula nestled between mountains, rivers and the sea.
The conference attracted abstracts from 51 countries with over 1,400 people attending in total, ranging from PhD students to industrial sponsors. Running over five days, the technical programme involved five plenary lectures, 20 keynote lectures, 531 poster presentations and 500 oral presentations, of which one was my own. The conference also provided the opportune moment for a number of prestigious awards to be presented, including the Smoluchowski award which honours a young researcher who has made a significant research contribution to aerosol science. With six sessions running concurrently, the scope of the topics presented covered a broad basis, spanning from health related aerosols to aerosol chemistry. This allowed me to explore topics that were relevant to my area of research, as well as those that were outside of it but that I considered interesting. Originally I was assigned a poster presentation; however it was later upgraded to a talk which I entitled 'The Evaporation Kinetics of Maleic Acid from Viscous Organic Aerosol'. This conference was my first chance to present the results I had been collecting over the past year, and although it seemed daunting to be speaking in front of researchers with far more experience in the field than myself, the conference organisers had made every effort to make the sessions professional yet relaxed. At the end of my talk I received a number of questions and engaged in a number of informative discussions which will help me progress my research further. Conferences such as this one are valuable since they unite the scientific community and allow you to consider suggestions from people who might be experiencing similar problems, and are excellent for networking and forging new friendships or collaborations.
On one of the afternoons the organising committee arranged for an official tour for all conference participants. Busan boasts two sites that have been designated as World Heritage sites by UNESCO. As part of the tour, we were able to choose between visiting Gyeongju Yangdong Village and the temples at Bulguksa and Seokguram. As well as this there was the conference dinner, which showcased the best of South Korean culture including traditional food, music and dancing.
I would like to thank SCI and the RSC for awarding me the Sir Eric Rideal travel bursary and helping to fund my attendance at the conference. It was a successful conference, and benefitted me greatly.
Rideal travel award winner (University of Bristol)