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Rideal Travel Bursary recipient, Jun Dong, reports from Manchester, UK

Jun Dong

22 Sep 2017

Jun Dong was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary in May 2017 to attend the conference UK Colloids 2017 in Manchester from the 10 to 12 July. Jung is a PhD student at the University of Bristol, here she describes how her attendance has broadened her scientific interests and the opportunity to take advantage of the excellent talks available at the conference.

‘My name is Jun Dong, a PhD student from the University of Bristol, I attended the conference UK Colloids 2017 in Manchester from the 10 to 12 July, with the financial support of the Rideal travel bursary. The conference chair was Richard Greenwood from Birmingham University and there were more than 200 attendees in the conference from around the world, including a number of pioneer researchers in colloidal science. There were eight different themes and three parallel sessions each day which provided the opportunity to always find talks that I’m interested in or are close to my research.

‘My research is focused on studying the mechanism of network collapse of colloidal gels. I prepared colloidal gels from emulsions that are generated using microfluidic devices, and I study the structural changes of colloidal gels under external forces. In the conference, I found many interesting talks that can help me to understand my research and also inspire me for future work. For instance, Professor Wilson Poon, from the University of Edinburgh, talked about the role of frictions between particles in shear thickening of colloidal and granular materials. Inspired by his talk, I should consider if friction can make a difference in the rheology measurements of my samples. Professor Vinny Manoharan from Harvard University gave a plenary talk which showed experimental work on understanding entropy in colloidal clusters and using DNA to self-assemble complex structures and program colloidal phase transitions. Professor Remco Tuinier and Alvaro Garcia from Eindhoven University of Technology showed their research on tuning the phase diagram of colloid-polymer mixtures via Yukawa interactions which is a good reference for my experimental system. There were some talks that are not directly relevant to my research, for example, self-assembly, Pickering emulsions and super hydrophobic coatings, but I found many of them fascinating as well. Attending the conference and communicating with researchers with different background helped me to find out state-of-the-art research and  improve my knowledge in different areas.

‘There were many industrial company participants in the conference as well. Researchers from companies such as Bayer CropScience, Syngenta, Unilever and Nestle presented the research that is carried on in their companies. It is a good opportunity for researchers in academia and industry to communicate their research and learn from each other. It is the first time for me to know issues of commercial products that companies are facing and what research is happening in various industries such as pharmaceutical, agrochemical, food and cosmetics. By attending their talks and discussing with them I gained a glimpse into industry research, and working in the colloids industry seems an interesting career option after finishing my PhD studies.

‘Attending the conference, gave me the opportunity to present my work to a broad audience and discuss. In the session of colloidal physics, I gave an oral presentation of my work, local structural characterisation in emulsion gels. Members of the audience were interested in my research, asked questions and also gave me some suggestions after discussion with them. It was the first time for me to give a talk to a large audience, representing a good opportunity for me to practice the presentation and interpersonal skills which are as important as research skills.

‘Last but not least, I would like to thank the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust for providing me the travel bursary to attend UK Colloids 2017, to have an enjoyable and very productive time.’

Jun Dong
PhD Student
University of Bristol

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