Daniel's views on Rapid Fire Presentation

MRS student chapters organized a 2 day International Summit on the topic of “Sustainability and Nanotechnology", which was a great success at MRS. As mentioned in my previous blogs, they have introduced a new concept of poster presentation.

I interviewed the organizers about the selection of the topic of presentation, explaining the symposium and all the efforts which went behind the scenes, and explanation of this new concept of poster presentation.

Here, I present you the views of the student participant who participated in the summit as a poster presenter. He appreciates the efforts of the organizers and the speakers of the session. His views are quite thoughtful and inspiring.







Follow me on Twitter: @rahim_munir1

I blog at "Succinct Monograph"

The Speaker's Perspective

MRS student chapters organized a 2 day International Summit on the topic of “Sustainability and Nanotechnology", which was a great success at MRS. This event is an example of the diversity of the events at MRS meetings. It is not just another scientific conference, it's MRS Meeting.

In my previous blogs, I interviewed organizers and the participant. In this blog post, I would like to show you the perspective of an invited speaker for the session. Dr. Rafik Naccache, Assistant Professor at  Concordia University was invited to speak about his research contributions in the field of nanotechnology. His research interests revolve around the use of metallic and luminescent nanoparticles for the development of novel sensors, imaging probes and drug delivery vehicles. His group examines the synergistic effects of different types of nanomaterials in our efforts to develop multi-functional hybrid nanoprobes.

He felt delighted to be invited to speak at this unique symposium. He appreciated the hard work which helped to put together this amazing session. The collaborative effort of different university chapters is remarkable. 





Follow me on Twitter: @rahim_munir1

I blog at "Succinct Monograph"

MRS Medal Joanna Aizenberg talks about slippery coatings

Dr. Joanna Aizenberg from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science was awarded today with the MRS Medal, together with Dr. Younan Xia from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Aizenberg's talk was pretty interesting, with plenty of visuals showing the exceptional performance of her slippery and anti-fouling coatings. These materials could be relevant for a multitude of applications, such as endoscopy windows that don't get dirty with blood for shorter medical procedures, or avoiding the formation of algae and other waterborne organisms that can damage boat hulls. See below for a video on the work from Dr. Aizenberg and her colleagues at the Wyss Institute explaining the development of blood repellent coatings:

Dr. Aizenberg works in many other different projects, but they are all inspired by nature!

Cross-cultural communication skills

In MRS meetings, we have participants from all around the world. I wonder if you have any experience about cultural differences in communications.

When I was in Germany, instead of applauding, the audience members knock on tables to indicate that they enjoy the presentations.

I also realize that in USA, the hierarchy is more horizontal than many Asian societies. This makes it easier for young researchers in USA to interact with senior researchers and even to question their scientific work.

Therefore, I find it interesting that although most scientists are fluent in the English language, the differences in their cultures can affect how they use the language for different situations. These differences could be seen in giving presentations, asking questions and answering questions.

Do you have any experience to share?

My last day in the conference

I cannot believe that I have already spent 4 days in the conference and will be leaving Boston this evening. To conclude, I thought it would be nice to share some of the things I appreciate about MRS and the conference:

Firstly, I would like to thank MRS for the MRS Bulletin Postdoctoral Publication Prize. It is my great honor to be the inaugural recipient. I hope that with this prize, I can continue to contribute to the MRS community.

Secondly, I am grateful to Judy for giving me the opportunity to work as an on-site blogger. This is a new experience for me and I have definitely learnt to generate blog ideas more quickly and to get blogs out fast.

Thirdly, I appreciate the technical knowledge I have gained through the conference. I have sat through so many amazing presentations and thought of many new ideas to bring my research forward.

Feel free to share your thoughts about MRS below =)

What is my job?

On my first day to Boston, I took an Uber and was asked by the driver if I was a businessman. I replied no. I added that I am a scientist and went on to explain why my job scope is similar to that of a businessman.

Like a businessman who does market research before investing in certain industries, scientists need to read through scientific literature and identify areas where they can contribute.

Businessmen introduce products or services to generate revenue to continue their businesses. To do so, they need to be able to market and sell their products or services. Similarly, scientists have to learn to communicate our work effectively through grants and fellowship applications, and convince agencies why our proposals should be funded.

When I meet new people and after learning that I am a scientist, I sometimes worry about how they perceive scientists. Are we people doing jobs that are too hard to explain to the general audience? I beg to differ. Therefore, at the back of my mind, I already have an elevator pitch about my work. I hope that the next time when someone asks you about your role, you can be proud to say that you are a scientist and be able to explain to them the significance of your work.

Research takes time

In this conference, I attended 3 keynote lecturers and can’t help feeling overwhelmed as a young scientist. The keynote speakers presented work they have published in high impact journals, and demonstrated very clear understandings of their research direction and what they hope to achieve in their careers as scientists.

It makes me wonder if I can be as successful and impactful as them one day. I believe this is a question many young researchers ask themselves too. Through the keynote lectures, I have identified two key characteristics of highly successful scientists which might be useful for young researchers like me.

Firstly, we need to be patient. The successes of top scientists today were not achieved overnight. It is attributed to more than 10 years of hard work and accumulated knowledge over time.

Secondly, inter-disciplinary collaborations are important to introduce innovative approaches to solve societal problems. One example would be the collaboration between material scientists and neuroscientists to design smarter materials for deep brain stimulation/recording.

Lobster rolls and clam chowders

Before I arrived in Boston, I googled and found that lobster rolls and clam chowders are must-have food in the city. Therefore, on this trip, I had lobster rolls and clam chowders twice over a span of 3 days!

Luke’s lobster (3.5 stars)

This restaurant is located near to Hynes Convention Center and it costs USD 25.68 for the roll and chowder combination. What I like about this shop is that the lobster meat is given in chunks. In this way, I can visually verify that it is authentic lobster meat. The roll is only served with some lemon juice which elevates the lobster taste without stripping its natural sweetness. However, the clam chowder is not thick enough for me.


Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar (3 stars)

This restaurant is located at Faneuil Hall and it costs USD 24.25 for a lobster roll and clam chowder. This shop is located at Faneuil Hall where many types of cuisines are sold. It can be quite relaxing to sit at the bar as you can see how the chefs prepare the raw oysters too (although this is not my favorite dish, haha). The lobster roll comes with mayonnaise and celery which I feel overwhelmed the taste of the lobster. The combination is, however, saved by the clam chowder which has real, tasty clams served in a thick, creamy broth.


Perhaps you would want to try them too during your stay in Boston!

Perovskite Solar Cell - IEC Standard Testing

Prof. Henry Snaith from the University of Oxford shared that perovskite solar cells which are currently not commercialized yet will soon see the light of market. In his talk at ES01 (perovskite symposium session), he mentioned successful IEC standard testing on hybrid perovskite solar cells.

IEC standard testing includes testing the device at 85 deg C with 85% humidity, temperature cycling and full spectrum exposure. His results show more than 1000 hours of stability. 

His talk was focused on the stability of perovskite solar cells. He picked up each layer of the solar cell and commented on its stability through the experimental results from his lab. He started with n-type layer. He mentioned that Titanium dioxide is not stable under UV light. Tin Oxide (SnO2) is more stable. He mentioned that doping the p-type layer increases the current; however, fill factor and voltage were decreased. 

Hybrid perovskite stability is one of the biggest issues right now. He showed that a mixture of 2D and 3D perovskite is a stable form of perovskite. He mentioned that 2D perovskite can be observed at the grain boundaries and the bulk is 3D perovskite. 

His innovative approaches towards solving the issues related to perovskite solar cells are remarkable. 

Jennifer Leduc explaining the new concept of Poster Presentation at 2017 Fall MRS Meeting

Jennifer Ludec, a talented PhD student at the University of Cologne is one of the organizers of the international summit at the 2017 Fall MRS Meeting. They have introduced a new type of poster presentation. Each student got a chance to give an oral presentation at the symposium to advertise their poster. They were allowed one minute to market their work.

Watch Jennifer talking about their innovative poster session:



Jenny and Isabel 2


Follow me on Twitter: @rahim_munir1

I blog at "Succinct Monograph"