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Irene's favourite Wednesday talk

My favourite talk from Wednesday was the one that I gave  on the incorporation of FeNi nanoparticles in Ni electrodes for the oxygen evolution reaction. Just kidding!!

Because I spent the morning preparing for my talk and visiting the exhibition and the career development events at The Hub, I didn't assist to as many talks as I typically do. However, I don't regret it! As some of my fellow bloggers have mentioned before, networking should be a central part of your conference experience, particularly if you are a young researcher like me, and I am quite sure that the time I spent talking to the industrial presenters and getting tips from more experienced researchers will pay off.

I finished the day attending the panel discussion on "Cutting edge concepts in sustainable energy" within the International Summit of the MRS University Chapters on “Sustainability and Nanotechnology”. For everybody interested in preserving the environment, this summit is a must! Is happening also on Thursday at the Hynes 3rd level, room 300. Go check it out, today they will be talking about green nanochemistry, nanotoxicology and nanomedicine and reducing costs and ecological footprint. During yesterday's panel, a group of international science communicators and experts in materials development for clean energy applications discussed what can we do, as materials scientists, to stop pressing environmental issues such as climate change. I will not attempt to explain all the comments and ideas that flew around during the session (from the speakers but also plenty from the attendees), but this is my personal summary and take home message:

  1. Education! It is important that non-scientist have a basic level of scientific understanding to interpret critically the news and make their own political decissions considering environmental consequences.
  2. As scientists, it is our duty to do our best in developing more efficient and cheap materials to deliver sustainable green energies and get away from fossil fuels. It is also our duty to communicate clearly and broadly what the realistic expectations of our technology are- don't overpromise.
  3. Scientific outreach events should focus on direct consequences of global warming (economic and personal), the science should be explained in a very simple and understandable way and we should try to clearly estate what the general public can do to help move towards a greener world

I found the panel discussion very interesting and I hope I can start implementing these action items in my research and scientific outreach.


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