Joe Thompson and I arrived in Pardubice with a slight sense of trepidation at the tri-annual Germanium, Tin and Lead conference. It has a strong pedigree for molecular chemistry with world leading inorganic chemists, such as Cameron Jones ,presenting.
We had both chosen to focus on the materials side of our research and hoped it would be included in the scientific discussion. We were pleasantly surprised to find many researchers who would normally be considered to be pure synthetic chemists presenting forays into applied materials chemistry, combining aspects of engineering and chemistry. Due to these cross disciplinary discussions, the conference was very well received with a lot of industry backing. This financial input allowed for some great conference event venues such as the castle pictured.
Kunětice Mountain Castle
There was medieval demonstrations, a tour around the historic Kutná Hora city and plenty of free Pilsner! The focus on the application of molecular chemistry to solving materials challenges led to many fruitful discussions, with the posters Joe and I presented receiving a lot of attention. This led to new collaborations with groups in Russia, Czech Republic and New Zealand.
Andrew is working towards his PhD on "The Development of Graphene Based Materials" with Professor Paul Raithby, Professor Simon Bending and Dr Andrew Johnson.
This post was contributed by Joe Thompson.
I recently spent a month long placement at NSG Group in Lathom, Lancashire. NSG Group is a world leading manufacturer of automotive, architectural and technical grade glass. The majority of glass products manufactured by the company are coated to provide a variety of additional properties such as scratch resistance, self-cleaning, UV reflectance and electrical conductivity.
My time was spent working in the coatings department looking at a variety of new coatings with quite different applications. Whilst on placement I had the opportunity to try out new coating techniques and access analytical methods not available at the University.
The opportunity to spend some time in an industrial lab was invaluable, it showed me both the similarities and differences between academic and industrial environments. Overall I really enjoyed the experience of trying out some new chemistry in a new location and working with a great group of people.
Joe is in his final year in the CSCT working towards his PhD on 'New precursors for application in thin film chalcogenide materials' with Dr Andrew Johnson and Dr Daniel Wolverson.
Joe Thompson and Andrew Rushworth went to Singapore to give talks on CVD growth of Tungsten disulfide-graphene and Tin sulfide-graphene heterostructure respectively. Here is Joe's account on their trip:
Andrew and I recently attended the 5th Molecular Materials Meeting hosted by the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) out in Singapore. With six parallel sessions and a host of plenary lectures across three days we had plenty of interesting talks to keep us occupied. The conference had a broad range of subject areas from nanotechnology in food to sustainable materials for energy generation. Throughout the conference the organisers and plenary speakers emphasised the importance of working across disciplines and collaborating with industry.
Day one focussed on nanoparticles, metamaterials, food nanotechnology, material surfaces and sustainable porous materials. Day two had sessions on thermoelectrics, healthcare materials, sustainable energy materials, biomimetic materials and sensing materials. Whilst day three composed of sessions on environmentally sustainable materials, healthcare materials, functional materials, luminescent materials and 2D materials. Both Andrew and I presented at the conference which was a great experience to exhibit our work outside of the university and gain experience presenting to an international audience.
Whilst there were plenty of talks to keep us busy at the conference, there were also opportunities to explore and experience Singapore. The conference cocktail event was held at Singapore’s aquarium which was a pretty spectacular place to wander round. The conference dinner on the final day took place within Universal Studios Singapore where we had access to some of the rides and got to meet Marilyn Monroe. While we were out in Singapore the country celebrated its 50th Jubilee which meant that we could join in with the celebrations and experience some fireworks.
Conference cocktail in Singapore Aquarium.
Joe is working towards his PhD on "New precursors for application in thin film chalcogenide materials" with Andrew Johnson and Daniel Wolverson.
Andrew is working towards his PhD on "The Development of Graphene Based Materials" with Paul Raithby, Simon Bending and Andrew Johnson.
On Friday 20 June 2014, four second-year students (Robert Chapman, Sarah Kirk, Mako Ng and Joe Thompson) took part in a Science Day at St John's Catholic Primary School in Trowbridge. This post was contributed by 2nd-year research students Joe Thompson.
Our cohort was recently invited to St John’s Catholic Primary School in Trowbridge to take part in their Science Day. This was a great opportunity to engage with a younger audience and hopefully spark some interest in science. Our theme was based on renewable fuels as replacements for fossil fuels, focussing on biofuels and hydrogen.
We spent the day running 30 minute long activities for children between the ages of 4 and 11. The activities included a short introduction to fuels and their uses, the firing of our ethanol (biofuel) bottle rocket, the demonstration of a hydrogen-powered toy car and the opportunity to build and race some balloon cars. Both the ethanol bottle rocket and the balloon cars were very popular.
The activities were well received by everyone and we had a great time running them. We were impressed that the children already knew so much about biofuels and hydrogen. Hopefully the day will have increased their interest in science for the future.
Rocket launch. Can you see the (bottle) rocket?
Kids racing balloon cars.