[Image above] Credit: TempusVolat; Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


It’s that time of the year when we look back at the year that was and relive the good, the bad, and the ugly—and 2014 is no different. Well, except that it was. 

I started working at ACerS back in February. In fact, my first foray here on the CTT blog was on February 5—a.k.a., day two—a 259-word post on CeramTec’s ceramic inrun track at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. (Yes. That was this year, believe it or not. Here’s a list of 11 other things that also happened this year.)

For me, this type of writing was very different. You see, I don’t come from the world of materials science, so needless to say, I had a lot to learn.

And learn I did. I’ve learned a lot this year about ceramics, glass, and the other composites that shape and impact our world. I’ve also learned quite a bit about the amazing people who work with these materials. Reporting on both has been equal parts challenge and opportunity.

So, because it’s that time, and because it’s worth remembering—my top five posts, people, and moments from 2014.

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March 2014 ACerS Bulletin cover story, “Microspheres for energy applications.” Credit: ACerS

5. Firsts. There are a lot of firsts when you’re a new employee. First day. First post. First snow day (coincidentally, also day two). For April and myself, one of our most important firsts as ACerS’s newest employees/new associate editors was putting to bed our first edition (March 2014) of the Bulletin. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t our last. Take a look back at Volume 93 (as well as the rest of our archives) here. (The full archive is available to ACerS members only. Consider joining to access articles on emerging ceramics and glass technology, as well as the other benefits of membership in the Society).


4. The conversations that happened (and continue to happen) on social media. We stepped up our social game in 2014, and have made our presence known on just about every major social media channel. Whether you’re partial to FacebookTwitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr or LinkedIn—both our group and company pages—we’re committed to building an active and engaged online community. The day-to-day sharing that happens there is good stuff, but it’s the exchange of ideas and information that’s really special. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, join the conversation by following any of the links above. 


A home in Osaka shows some wear. Credit: m-louis; Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Japan’s disposable housing problem. Is this a weird choice for #3, or any number at all? Maybe. But because of the wealth of news that is out there, and because we want to deliver it to you in a timely manner, many of our posts are somewhere in the neighborhood of 300–500 words. Admittedly, mine aren’t always as in-depth as I’d like them to be, but with this post, I was able to dig a little deeper into the environmental and economic impacts of Japan’s disposable homes—structures that are worth nothing after 15 years and most often torn down and destroyed after 30. Whether the country adopts and implements sustainable practices that will reverse the trend (perhaps ones like those imagined here and here), it’s good to take the time every now and then to, both literally and figuratively, dig deep.

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Mug Drop Contest at MS&T14. Credit: ACerS

2. MS&T14. Covering meetings and technical conferences is kind of our jam. (See here, here, here, and here). I was able to attend not only the 75th GPC here in Columbus, but also report from what is likely the biggest (and, can I say, best?) meeting of the minds in materials science—MS&T. You hear a lot about the technical content that’s presented there (as you should, because it’s top notch) and the many, many events that take place during the week (like the Mug Drop Contest pictured above), but for me, the best part of MS&T was hanging out with and recording our members in the ACerS member lounge. You guys are the heartbeat of this organization, and you rock. Hard. (See the proof herehere, and here). Thanks for a great week in Pittsburgh.


Looking forward to 2015. Credit: Sally Mahoney; Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Right here, right now. My favorite moment from 2014 is the one I’m experiencing right now. It’s the anticipation of all that is to come in 2015—the groundbreaking research, applications, and business news that’s yet to be realized, the opportunity to report such groundbreaking stuff, and the moments that will shape both society and our Society. Here’s to the year that was, and the year that will be!