Thanks to the financial award SCI generously provided I was able to attend the 237th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in Salt Lake City, USA, which proved to be an immensely valuable and enjoyable experience.
I'd like to take this opportunity to emphasise the great benefits of attending an ACS conference. To have so much knowledge brought together in one place made it instructive, reachable and inspiring to attend. I'd call it an investment in knowledge. I came back with a bunch of fresh ideas as well as the excitement to go and actually try them out in the laboratory. Moreover I also brought with me what I considered attention-grabbing results for the different members of my group. The insightful research in organic chemistry displayed by the different speakers (R. Sharpong and V. Arwal especially) and poster sessions were especially interesting.
Networking with my peers and lecturers revealed to be easy and very worthwhile during the conference. Discussing current problems, laboratory working conditions and general environment was most worthwhile. Presenting my poster during the ‘New methodology and reactions session’ and having to defend the ideas and concepts displayed was a very enriching experience, especially when there were people in front of me willing to question any unsolved problems. Their questions and the advice they offered enabled me to go a step further in the understanding of my work.
Salt Lake City was amazing, and the organisation was more than welcoming. I could interact with chemical scientists from around the world by participating in social events, networking opportunities and exhibitor sessions. The city was well chosen and had a lot of sightseeing to offer. This was most refreshing and I felt it was a well deserved break and helped me come back even more motivated! I would encourage every student to attend at least one ACS meeting during their DPhil.
I express my sincere thanks to the SCI Messel funding award to have contributed to the cost of my attendance. It has been much appreciated.
Mr Cedric Callens
University of Oxford