Established in 2006, the McBain Medal is an annual award to honour an early career researcher or technologist who has made a meritorious contribution to colloid and interface science.
The award is intended to recognise both achievement and evidence of future promise. Eligible candidates should be in the UK in the earlier stages of their career, typically within 15 years of attaining their doctorate (or equivalent degree), and will have advanced the science or technology of the field in a significant way. It is named after James William McBain.
The 2023 McBain medal conference for Prof Jason Zhang was held at the Exchange at the University of Birmingham on 25 January 2024. The event was opened by Prof Rachel O’Reilly FRS, PVC for Research at the University of Birmingham and the 2014 McBain medal winner.
2023 McBain medal conference attendees
Prof Peter Fryer, one of Jason’s academic collaborators from the School of Chemical Engineering gave a talk on how to clean industrial equipment.
The next two speakers were representatives of two companies that Jason has worked with closely while at the University of Birmingham and have sponsored several doctoral projects; FibreLean and Procter & Gamble.
Dr David Skuse, from FibreLean, discussed the manufacture of microfibrillated cellulose followed by Ali Stephens, from Procter & Gamble, discussed why soft matter on skin is key for sustainable consumer goods.
In the afternoon session, Prof Jan Van Impe from the Katholieke Universitiet Leuven, Belgium introduced the audience to the importance of interfacing interface science with microbiology.
The final two talks were then from Jason’s colleagues at Imperial College London. Firstly, Prof Daniele Dini unravelled mechanochemical interactions, and finally Prof Paul Luckham kindly stepped in at the last minute to deliver a talk on the mysterious properties of shake gels.
The event concluded with Prof Zhang’s McBain lecture on modulating soft matter at interfaces for sustainable products, which gave only a small subset of Jason’s ongoing research activities.
The event closed with the poster awards and the presentation of the McBain medal to Jason by Dr Richard Greenwood, Chair of the SCI Colloid and Surface Chemistry Group.
Prof Jason Zhang being presented with the McBain medal by Dr Richard Greenwood
As an event, it highlights the significance of establishing fundamental knowledge of soft matter and subsequently applying it in the real world to drive and accelerate the sustainability and circularity of chemical products.
We would like to thank the kind financial contributions of Innospec, Surface Measurement Systems, and Bruker, plus the Royal Society of Chemistry for sponsoring the poster prize.
We look forward to seeing everyone at Dr Andrew Howe’s Rideal Lecture in Belgrave Square on 24 April.