Rideal Travel Bursary recipient, Aleksandra Marsh, reports from California, USA

25 September 2016

Aleksandra Marsh was awarded a Rideal Travel bursary to attend Towards a Molecular Level Understanding of Atmospheric Aerosol (MLUAA), Chaminade, California, USA, from 28 August to 2 September 2016. Here, she talks about how attending the conference helped her with new experimental ideas in the field of aerosol science.

‘I would like to thank the Society of Chemical Industry and the Royal Society of Chemistry for awarding me a Rideal Travel Bursary to enable me attend the conference and present a talk and poster on my work. Furthermore, thanks to the conference organisers Kevin Wilson and Alex Laskin for both organisations.

‘The MLUAA conference had 75 attendees, who all stayed at the same hotel, thereby allowing for extensive discussion of conference talks and posters during meal times and breaks. Furthermore, this provided an incredibly supportive atmosphere for giving my first presentation at an international conference.

‘The week-long conference had a packed schedule with 55 talks and 4 poster sessions. I was allocated a talk on Wednesday afternoon and a poster on Wednesday evening. My talk Hygroscopicity of Multifunctional Organic Compounds using a Comparative Kinetics Electrodynamic Balance was very well received at the conference and as a result many junior and senior research scientists came to discuss my research during the evening poster session. The main motivations of my research work were to reduce uncertainties in hygroscopic growth and understand the links between molecular complexity and hygroscopicity. Furthermore, this research can be used to improve current thermodynamic models for aerosol, which currently neither allow modelling of compounds containing amine or nitrogen groups nor consider the impact of molecular structure on water uptake.

‘During the conference I spoke with many aerosol scientists, some of which I have been involved with collaborative research efforts in the past, and many new researchers. Furthermore, the conference facilitated new collaborations with international researchers as a result of my presentation. I had lengthy research discussions with Adam Trevitt, Ulrich Krieger and Andreas Zuend.

‘I enjoyed talks and posters by many conference attendees including Veronica Vaida, who spoke about photo induced chemical reactions at interfaces, and Mathew Berg who spoke about Particle Characterisation through Digital Holography. I also enjoyed talks by Barbara Finlayson and Benny Gerber who spoke about experimental and theoretical formation of ionic liquids respectively. The breadth of subjects discussed at the conference have allowed me to generate many new experimental ideas and have allowed me to contextualise my research work with that of others within the field of aerosol science. Once again I thank RSC and SCI, for their financial support which enabled me to attend this very valuable and rewarding conference.’

Aleksandra Marsh
PhD Student
University of Bristol

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