4 Oct 2012
I attended the 244th ACS National Meeting and Exposition, which took place in Philadelphia from 19-23 August 2012. This year's theme of 'Materials for health and medicine' was a particularly interesting topic for materials scientists and polymer chemists like myself.
The Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering divisions ran a wide variety of parallel symposia throughout the week ranging from general topics in polymeric materials to more specific sessions in polymers for medical applications and bio-catalysis. With the number of oral presentations exceeding 600 there really was something for everyone! Particular highlights included: The Polymeric Biomaterials symposium, which reflected the overarching theme of the conference and demonstrated the wide array of polymer and materials research being carried out to address the many challenges faced in modern day medicine.
The Journal of Polymer Science Award symposium in honour of Christopher Bielawski provided a fascinating afternoon of talks from some excellent speakers including Robert Grubbs, on the development and use of metathesis in polymer chemistry, and Ludwik Leibler, who spoke about his work with the new class of materials, Vitrimers.
Philadelphia itself was a very welcoming city to visit. Its historic importance in the story of American independence provided some very interesting sightseeing, including the famous Liberty Bell (pictured). The conference was hosted in the Pennsylvania Convention Centre and surrounding hotels, allowing plenty of opportunity to take in city sights between symposia. The diversity of speakers and topic areas covered throughout the conference meant that, not only was I able to hear about exciting new developments and deepen my knowledge in my own field, but I was also able to broaden my understanding of the wider field of polymer and materials chemistry.
It was a real privilege to be able to listen to such a wide range of well established and early stage scientists, I learnt a great deal from the way that these highly respected scientists approach their own research challenges.
Tuesday evening brought the joint POLY and PMSE poster session which provided a brilliant opportunity to meet students and early stage researchers from all over the world and all corners of polymer science. A ready supply of beer and pizza sustained an enjoyable evening of scientific discussion and networking.
In the general topics symposium on Thursday I presented my own work; sonochemical production of hollow polymer microspheres for temperature responsive delivery. I was grateful for this opportunity to promote my work and receive new input from others during the question and answer session, which I will now capitalise on in the final stages of my PhD studies.
Since this conference I have returned to my PhD project with renewed enthusiasm and inspired, not only with new ideas for my current work but also for the future. I would like to thank SCI and the RSC for the generous Rideal bursary award which facilitated my travel to such an exciting and inspiring conference.
University of Bath