Trying to avoid the Hynes's gate queue post-lunch?

This is just a quick tip to avoid the main gate queue for the sessions right after the lunch. If you're close to the Sheraton, proceed to the 3rd floor of the Sheraton, where there is a hallway that connects Sheraton to the 2nd floor's exhibit hall in Hynes! There is usually close to zero queues at that hallway entrance, and also saves you time walking through the Hynes lobby to get to the elevators to floors above! :) 

Coffee Recommendation!

Looking for coffee recommendations? Or just need a break from the conference coffee? Go no further than the Blue Bottle Coffee in the hallway leading to Hynes center. Yes yes, we know Boston runs on Dunkin, but its hard to beat the true NOLA coffee taste with chicory! 

In contrast, also look for Starbucks leading to the bridge to Prudential building! If you ask me for my recommendation, you have to go with the seasonal flavors of Carmel Brule Latte! Make sure you get it hot and be sure to ask for whipped creme!

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Infiltrating the Polymer Gang

It should come as no surprise to anybody that this conference is PACKED with a plethora of topics and fields, but did you know that people who work on polymers had little secret socials? With the help of a spy from our group (who works with polymers) I found out about it and decided to disguise myself as a fellow polymer person and sneak in.

First of all, they had drinks and some pretty good food consisting of cheese and dumplings, which made me understand a little why they would have kept this a secret. It was a lovely atmosphere where you actually get the opportunity to literally sit down with a stranger and converse without any restraints of time or worry that there is nothing to say….after all, “what do you do with polymers?” is a pretty good ice breaker. Funny enough, I actually met someone who is trying to establish a collaboration with a research group that we are close with, at our home university, so perhaps I should try my hand at playing cupid.

Alas, my identity of being a MOF girl was exposed and the night had to come to an end. Not because they kicked me out but because I had to go back to my hotel room and rest, but 10/10 would go again, not to mention, I made some very lovely friends!

Cheesecake Break

Were you guys aware that there was a cheesecake factory right next to the Hynes Convention Center? 

As someone who has never been to the USA before, to say I was estatic would be an understatement. Though the wait time to get a table was a bit disappointing, the cocktails sure weren't and have you seen the varieties of cheesecakes that were available there?

Conferences are great, don't get me wrong, but sometimes we all need a bit of sugar to keep us going!

The #1 Healthiest Dessert at the Cheesecake Factory, Dietitian Says — Eat  This Not That


Today had been rather interesting; my supervisor, Dr Claire L. Hobday, had her talk. From my perspective, I had envisioned her as some greater being that always seem to have the answer for my research and knew exactly how to go about well.... basically everything. 

Though, when we met her this morning she seemed nervous and even told us she was. It came as a surprise to me! She is someone who travelled between 3 countries and 5 cities within 3/4 days without so much so as a complaint about it and kept working throughout. However, when the time for her talk came, it was flawless. 

Even though I had already read about the theory and the work that has been going on in our group hundreds of times, I still find myself mesmerized at her delivery and confidence. It was very inspiring to me and made me look forward to when I will do my first talk at a conference.

Major Upgrade on OriginLabs?!

Today marks the day at which the MRS Careers Fair occurs and saying I was surprised was an understatement. I had never participated in such an exciting fair before! I felt like there was something for everyone especially if you like chocolate milk and cookies! 

I was most happy when I came across the OriginLabs stand where we were greeted by a lovely lady. A bit of background for everyone, though I am a computational scientist, I am a huge advocate for the usage of OriginLabs and do, in fact, think it is superior to all. We were told about the newest version that came out a week ago which included a dark mode as well as python input. Furthermore, with new features and increase in simplicity when it comes to editing the graphs, I think my quality of life just increased! 

Food Recommendation (2)

During the small dinner break before heading to the poster session yesterday, we made a quick stop at the Redwhite Boneless Ramen shop that is located 3 minutes from the conference. They are specialized in their plant-based ramen and though the menu is small, it definitely does more than you can imagine.

As someone who is not a vegan, I could not tell that the food was vegan at all, the flavors were all there and definitely worth a visit. As a side note, they also do take-away options!


A Fated Encounter?

Personally, I have never been the biggest fan of doing poster sessions; for one, I am very awkward in a scenario where I am standing around for 2 hours waiting for someone to come chat to you. I feel very fortunate that I was blessed with a very friendly poster-board-mate, Rasmus Christensen. He is a second year PhD student from Aalborg University, Denmark who presented his work on Medium-Range Order Structure Controls Thermal Stability of Pores in Zeolite Imidazole Framework. The funny thing was, we actually sat next to each other in a symposium this morning when I asked him if it was the machine learning one, thinking I had entered the wrong room again.

It was a superbly pleasant surprise to see him again and get to talk more about each other's work in more depth. Did you know what persistent homology is? I, along with many others, did not but he explained it super well and I look forward to hearing his talk tomorrow on some of his more recent work. I believe the take home message is that you will be surrounded by kind strangers who are more than happy to help and you may coincidently get to chat in unlikely situations more than you think. I believe this to be one of the charms of this MRS conference.

Finals Week are Next Week!

As fun as it is to attend a large scale conference like MRS, there is always a looming stress on us students' heads... EXAMS!! As someone whose university has finals week right after the MRS week, I have to make sure I am giving enough time to study during the conference week to prepare myself the best to take the exams in the upcoming week. Pro tip to do so, find slots of times in the middle of the conference to visit the variety of beautiful cafes near the Hynes center to catch up some hours of studies! 

After today's sessions, I found myself preparing for my Random Processes exam at the Tatte Cafe, right next to the Sheraton Hotel! Check it out if you're around!

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Solo Conference Experience

Having grown up in the United Kingdom, this MRS conference marks the first time that I have ever set foot on this side of the world, and more specifically, the United States. Even though I had travelled alone before, it was undeniable that I was very nervous before arriving. Luckily for me, I had come with my supervisor and the majority of my research group which made even the most random experiences like gathering in the streets to decide where to get for dinner, a fond memory.

Although, from my interactions with other participants, I found that it was not uncommon for attendees to come without knowing anyone prior. Speaking to Ozan Karakaya, a 2nd year PhD student from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany gave me a new perspective on the matter. Initially, I was very glad to find out he, who was at the same stage in his PhD as myself and had also never been to the United States, came to the conference on his own. He described how he was able to attend all the talks that he was interested in and did not find the time to be lonely but rather enjoyed the action-packed conference to the fullest.

I hope that everyone who came on their own feels the same as well but also know that you are not alone and there are a lot of people who are happy to have impromptu conversations like Ozan and I did over the short coffee break this afternoon.