9 Sep 2013
Rideal bursar Gregory Smith reports on his visit to the ACS Colloids and Surface Science Symposium from 23 - 26 June 2013, held at Riverside, California, USA. He also visited Harvard University.
At the conference I gave an oral presentation, entitled 'Surfactant induced charging of PMMA in nonpolar solvents'. I received interest from attendees regarding my use of small-angle neutron scattering to study particle-surfactant interactions in nonpolar solvents. The audience included researchers in this field who do not use neutron scattering, and sharing my work with them helped place my results in the context of similar research using different approaches.
The plenary speakers included Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard, USA) and Rafal Klajn (Northwestern, USA), and their presentations both involved work using colloidal self-assembly to understand systems relevant to either biology or functional materials. The scope of the conference was broad, including rheology, surface science, and biointerfaces. My presentation was scheduled in a session about charging effects, and from the other talks, I learned about the most recent, related research in my field.
This trip was my first opportunity to give an oral presentation at a large international conference and was a great way to introduce myself to the community. The connections I made will be useful as I prepare for my research career after my PhD.
I met David Weitz and some of his group members at Harvard University, and Sven Holger Behrens from Georgia Tech while at the ACS conference. Both study charging in nonpolar solvents. I also met Rico Tabor, a former Bristol researcher now in Melbourne, and we discussed overlapping areas in our research.
I will share my findings with my research group. Some of the talks I attended were interesting but more relevant for colleagues in my research group than me, and I have discussed the presentations with them. I also met scientists who collaborate with our research group on different projects, and I was able to discuss the progress of their work.
This opportunity to visit American researchers in my field and present my results at an international conference has been great for my career development. I would like to thank the Rideal Bursary Trust for making this trip possible.
University of Bristol