The 238th ACS National Meeting in Washington, DC, was a conference on a difference scale to any other I had encountered. More than 8,000 papers were presented in 765 half-day oral sessions, not to mention over 120 poster sessions, in an event that used a large portion of the conference facilities across the US capital. I was accepted to present my PhD research in the ‘Silicones and Silicone-Modified Materials 5’ symposium within the Division of Polymer Chemistry, in a paper entitled ‘UV-induced film formation of functionalised siloxanes’.
It was great to attend a symposium so closely related to the topic of my research and I met some very well respected members of the academic research field. The overall conference was attended by a huge number of delegates, though the Silicones symposium audience mainly constituted academic researchers with very few industry representatives present. The large companies in the field were inauspiciously absent, presumably due to the tightening of spending restrictions and shrinking of budgets in the economic downturn.
Many interesting papers were presented at the symposium ranging from fundamental theoretical studies to new water purification techniques. Over the five-day conference duration I realised some new areas I may be able to investigate and potentially incorporate into my PhD research. My attendance at the conference enabled me to meet people in the siloxane chemistry research field from universities around the world and as a result I have made several great new contacts which may be invaluable in the future. I had several useful discussions at opportune coffee breaks and after my presentation on my current research which gave me the opportunity to probe the intellect of high calibre researchers with some of the issues I have come across in my research, particularly in the area of modified siloxane synthesis.
Overall my attendance at the conference was a great experience which has further opened my eyes to the international scientific arena. It allowed me to present my PhD research to an acclaimed audience and the feedback from that and other discussions will be reflected in my future research. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the symposium organisers for allowing me to present my paper, the RSC-SCI Rideal Trust, GWR and Revolymer Ltd for funding, and my supervisor, Professor Terence Cosgrove, for all his support.
Benjamin Thomas Cheesman
University of Bristol