Peicheng Xu was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary to attend this year’s 8th International Colloids Conference in Shanghai. Here, he describes how his attendance has broadened his scientific interests, given him the opportunity to take advantage to engage with the academic community and critically look at his own work.
‘During the time from 10 to 13 June 2018, I was at the 8th International Colloids Conference held in Shanghai, China, with the kind support from the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust.
‘At the conference, I for the first time presented my recent work on multifunctional nacre-mimetic nanocomposite materials during the poster session. My results on inorganic/organic nanocomposites drew a lot of attention because first of all, very few people had ever successfully obtained liquid crystals by using Laponite particles without reaching any aggregation. In addition, our work is very promising since we fabricate nanocomposite materials with good thermal, optical and mechanical properties by simply using clays and natural polymers. When presenting our work at the conference, I got a great opportunity to talk to other researchers, especially experts working in this area. At the same time, by looking at other people’s posters, I also obtained a lot of inspiration, which would be quite useful to my future research. It needs to be mentioned that, a few guest speakers have been invited to give presentations. For example, Professor Daeyeon Lee gave a talk about how to produce multifunctional microcapsules consisting of nanoparticles and polyelectrolytes. However, I found Professor Tommy Nylander’s talk most interesting because he discussed the formation of non-lamellar liquid crystalline lipid polymer membranes, which gave me a brand new view of liquid crystalline materials.
‘In addition, it should be admitted that this conference is excellent in many aspects. First of all, by explaining my research to other people, I myself had a better understanding of what my research was about. In this way, other people could also point out potential problems I might or would encounter in the future. Meanwhile, the lectures and seminars were all interesting and useful. From not only the wonderful results presented, but also the beautiful fundamental science, I got a clear idea how big the scope is for me to improve my work. Moreover, this conference was very well organized and the size of it was just perfect. Each day, the participants were given enough free time so that they had many chances to speak to experts in their research areas, chat with new friends and build up new collaborations between different research groups.
‘This time, as an SCI Ambassador, I took this chance to promote SCI to Chinese scholars and universities. I brought them some short flyers and with my brief introduction, people at the conference got to know the ambition of our organization and they were really passionate about the events that we organized as well as the benefits they could get once becoming a member.
‘Finally, I would like to take this chance to thank the SCI-RSC Rideal Trust Committee for the conference grant to make all this happen.’
University of Cambridge