MRS Bulletin interviews president of MRS about a Joint MRS 2020 Spring & Fall Meeting

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Materials Research Society further adjusts MRS Meeting plans. Gopal R. Rao, the editor of MRS Bulletin, interviews IBM T.J. Watson Research Center researcher Matt Copel, president of the Materials Research Society, about plans for the 2020 MRS Spring & Fall Meeting & Exhibit, presented jointly. 



2020 MRS Spring Meeting cancelled due to coronavirus

After thoughtful deliberations, the Materials Research Society (MRS) leadership has made the difficult, but necessary, decision to cancel the 2020 MRS Spring Meeting scheduled for April 13-17, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Society believes this is the responsible thing to do in light of the challenges introduced by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  The health and safety of MRS members, attendees, staff, and community is the top priority of MRS, making it inadvisable for the materials research community to gather for the traditional MRS Spring Meeting.

MRS is committed to working with the Meeting Chairs, organizers, authors, exhibitors, and sponsors to re-schedule, as practical, programming to an upcoming event. 

Stay up to date on MRS including the effects of COVID-19 on forthcoming meetings and events at Also see the MRS FAQs page.

Student and post-doc reporters and bloggers for the 2020 MRS Spring Meeting—Applications now being accepted


Graduate students and post-docs who are interested in contributing to the Meeting Scene® newsletter and the Meeting Blog for the 2020 MRS Spring Meeting are encouraged to apply. Reporters will be required to attend talks in a variety of symposia and write brief summaries (100-250 words) of four talks each day; bloggers will be required to post at least five items per day and also tweet about their experiences at the meeting. For completing these daily assignments, reporters and bloggers will receive reimbursement up to the student registration rate and a $50 stipend.

To apply, please send an email to stating your qualifications and your reasons for wanting to report or blog for us. We need only four reporters and four bloggers, so we will not be able to accept everyone who applies. We look forward to hearing from you! #s20mrs 

Graduate Student Awards

MRS Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. In addition, one student is further recognized with the Arthur Nowick Graduate Student Award which honors the late Dr. Arthur Nowick and his lifelong commitment to teaching and mentoring students in materials science. MRS recognizes the following students of exceptional ability who show promise for significant future achievement in materials research.

DSC09503_Grad Awards Group_panorama


Ilaria Abdel Aziz, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia @ Politechnico di Milano

Matthias T. Agne, Northwestern University

Yoonho Kim, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Juyoung Leem, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (also received the Arthur Nowick Graduate Student Award)

Yin Liu, University of California, Berkeley

David Mackanic, Stanford University

Lucie Ries, Université de Montpellier

Andrey Vyatskikh, California Institute of Technology

Yan Wang, University of Cambridge

Zhijie Zhu, University of Minnesota Twin Cities



Naila Al Hasan, University of Maryland

David Russell Barton, Stanford University

Chunhui Dai, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Martin H. Dehn, The University of British Columbia

Chengcheng Fang, University of California, San Diego

William Fitzhugh, Harvard University

Tatsuya Higaki, Carnegie Mellon University

Megan O. Hill, Northwestern University

Jieun Kim, University of California, Berkeley

Arda Kotikian, Harvard University

Siddharth Krishnan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Minliang Lai, University of California, Berkeley

Xiaotong Li, Northwestern University

Yongtao Liu, The University of Tennessee

Junzhe Lou, Stanford University

Xuezeng Lu, Northwestern University

Peter Benjamin Meisenheimer, University of Michigan

Jaba Mitra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Amirali Nojoomi, The University of Texas at Arlington

Nicholas Rolston, Stanford University

Yiren Zhong, Yale University

Hua Zhu, Brown University

Jia Zhuang, University of California, San Diego

MRS acknowledges the generous contribution for the Nowick Award to the MRS Foundation from Joan Nowick in memory of her husband Dr. Arthur Nowick.

Thank you!

The 2019 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit came to a successful conclusion on Friday, December 6. Our congratulations go to Meeting Chairs Bryan D. Huey, Stéphanie P. Lacour, Conal E. Murray, Jeffrey B. Neaton, and Iris Visoly-Fisher for putting together an excellent technical program along with various special events. MRS would also like to thank all the Symposium Organizers, Session Chairs, and Symposium Assistants for their part in the success of this meeting. A thank you goes to the Exhibitors, Symposium Support, and to the sponsors of the special events and activities.

Contributors to news on the 2019 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters Tomojit Chowdhury (@TomojitC),Tianyu Liu (@Tianyuliu_Chem), Judy Meiksin (@Judy_Meiksin), Don Monroe, Jahlani Odujole, Alana F. Ogata (@OgataAlana), and Arthur L. Robinson; Bloggers Nabasindhu Das, Abhishek Dubey (@adubeyphy), Araceli Hernández Granados (@AraceliHG02), and Anja Sutoriu; and photographers Stephanie Gabborin and Heather Shick; with newsletter production by Karen Colson, and newsletter design by Erin Hasinger.

Thank you to MRS Meeting Scene sponsors SPI SuppliesGoodfellow CorporationLake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.American ElementsWiley; Rigaku; and American Physical Society.      

Thank you for subscribing to the MRS Meeting Scene newsletters from the 2019 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit. We hope you enjoyed reading them and continue your subscription as we launch into the 2020 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit - the conversation already started at #s20mrs! We welcome your comments and feedback.

Symposium MS01: Extreme Mechanics

Irina Chuvashova, Carnegie Science

Thermal Conductivity of Earth Minerals at Extreme Conditions

Written by Tianyu Liu

The thermal conductivity of the lower mantle of Earth has been experimentally estimated. The lower mantle is a solid mineral layer that could let heat pass. Various methods have been proposed to quantify the thermal conductivity, or heat-conducting rate, of Earth’s lower mantle; however, experimental evidence remains scarce. Irina Chuvashova from Carnegie Science has added an experimental data of 12.6 W/(m K).  

Chuvashova and co-workers adopted a diamond anvil cell to determine the thermal conductivities of two main iron-bearing minerals in the lower mantle, Ferropericlase and Bridgmanite, under high pressure. The researchers placed the mineral films between two diamond crystals. Due to the hardness, the two diamond crystals could exert ultrahigh forces from 25 GPa to 60 GPa onto the films without cracking. Ultrahigh pressure is necessary to mimic the high-pressure environment inside the Earth. Through black-body theory and laser heating, Chuvashova and co-workers calculated that the thermal conductivities of Ferropericlase and Bridgmanite were 43 W/(m K) and 5 W/(m K), respectively, at 40 GPa. Considering the amount of the two minerals in the lower mantle, the researchers estimated that the lower mantle possessed a thermal conductivity of 12.6 W/(m K), close to the theoretical values.

Symposium FF01: Beyond Graphene 2D Materials – Synthesis, Properties and Device Applications

Manish Chhowalla, University of Cambridge

Ultra Clean van der Waals Contacts Using Indium Alloys on Two-Dimensional Semiconductors

Written by Tomojit Chowdhury

Contact configuration is one of the most crucial parameters that dictates the over-all performance of transistor devices. The Chhowalla Group at the University of Cambridge proposed an alternative contact design that exhibited improved device performance. They chose indium as their contact metal due to its exceptionally low melting temperature (156˚C) compared to other commonly known contact metals, such as gold (Au) and titanium (Ti). “Clearly indium electrodes can be patterned on atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) sheets under very gentle evaporation conditions,” said Chhowalla, alluding to the “soft” physical nature of the metal. In addition, he showed how platinum (Pt) and indium (In) could be alloyed under mild conditions, and thus could be simultaneously deposited atop layered TMDs ensuring “ultra-clean” contacts with atomically sharp metal-semiconductor (Schottky) interface. Such “work function engineering of metal contacts on 2D semiconductors” allowed fabrication of field-effect transistor devices with exceptional carrier mobility.

Symposium SB07: Bioelectrical Interfaces

Róisín Owens, University of Cambridge

Interfacing Human Cell Membrane Models with Bioelectronics for Ion Channel Monitoring

Written by Alana F. Ogata

“You might be familiar with Moores law, but not as much with Erooms law,” says Roisin Owens as she explains how, despite improvements in drug design technology, drug discovery is increasingly slow and expensive. How do you make drug discovery screening methods more efficient and predictive to improve success rates at the clinical trial phase? Owens addresses this issue by studying human membrane models to probe a major mechanism in electrical cell signaling- ion flux through the cell membrane. Supported lipid bilayers (SLB) are excellent biomimetic models for studying interactions between drugs and cell membranes. A supported lipid monolayer formed on top of an organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) creates devices that are sensitive to the nature of the lipid monolayer by measuring electrical currents. Permeability of the lipid monolayer directly influences the current output and can capture time-resolved disruption of the lipid monolayer upon addition of antibiotic molecules. In addition, supported lipid bilayers functionalized with ATP-gated P2X2 channels were successfully studied with the same OECT technology revealing how channels open in response to ATP. Recent work aims to develop a multimodal sensing technology by combining electrical and optical measurements using SLB-OECT devices to further study ion flux in cell membrane models.