15 June 2012
Rideal Travel Bursar Katie Bayliss reports on the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS) Conference in Sendai, Japan, 13-18 May 2012.
Katie writes: As I’m nearing the end of my PhD, this was a fantastic opportunity to present and receive feedback on my research project in front of an international audience. The talk I gave was entitled 'Comparing colloidal phase separation induced by linear polymer and by microgel particles'.
It summarised recently published work concerning mixtures of latex particles and temperature responsive microgels: we find that the addition of microgels can create depletion induced gel states in a polystyrene latex suspension more readily than equivalently sized linear polymer coils.
The conference was large and well organised, with over 500 presentations grouped into five sections addressing central themes in colloid and interface science research. It was an honour, and an exciting indication of the significance of the conference, that the Japanese Emperor and Empress attended the opening ceremony.
The large scope of the conference allowed me to see talks directly related to my area of research as well as broaden my knowledge of new developments in the wider field. The plenary talks were a highlight; I particularly enjoyed presentations by Yasuhiro Iwasawa on the design and characterisation of materials for green catalytic processes, and by Thomas Healy, who was awarded the IACIS lifetime achievement award for his work on the mineral oxide-water interface.
Throughout the conference I was able to make connections with scientists whose research I admire, and it was illuminating to discuss my work with a past colleague of my supervisor. The poster session was also a good opportunity to gain insight from other students working with similar materials.
I feel that attending IACIS has had a definite beneficial impact on my studies and I have returned to the UK full of ideas and with a renewed enthusiasm for my research.
I will certainly share my findings with the others in my research group and I hope that the newer members will have the opportunity to attend the next IACIS meeting when it takes place in three years time.
I would like to say a big thank you to SCI for its generous award of a Rideal Travel Bursary, which has enabled me to make this visit to an interesting conference and exciting country.