The 2012 Electronic Materials and Applications meeting just ended, and I have to say, it’s a great time to be a materials scientist!
“It was an excellent meeting,” said Amit Goyal, chair of ACerS’ Electronics Division and EMA coorganizer. “One could see the excitement in the conference rooms and during the discussions. In particular, the new emphasis with a strong energy storage symposium was very well received. A combination of relevant symposia and a congregation of international experts made the conference highly successful.”
Indeed, many of the “grand challenges” society faces and has made a priority come down to materials structure and properties. For example, there are only a few sources of alternative and renewable energy: solar, wind, tidal, biomass and nuclear. But, there are myriad technical problems that stand between tapping them and making them cost effective. Talks addressed questions, such as: How can the efficiency of conversion to electricity be increased? Is electricity the only conversion output? What approaches are there to engineer around scarce materials? What problems can be solved with green manufacturing methods?
Most of the attendees were from academia and national labs, although I met at least one attendee from a venture capital firm who was trolling for promising emerging technologies in energy. It makes sense. Government has an appropriate role to invest in research according to societal priorities, and academia is where most of the basic science and proof-of-concept research takes place.
Also impressive was the youthfulness of the attendees. Many of the professors and national lab people were obviously on the friendly side of 40, and students — graduate and undergraduate — were well represented, too. Students had the opportunity to strut their stuff in a special lunchtime symposium, “Highlights of Student Research in Basic Science and Electronic Ceramics.” For most of the undergraduates, this event was their debut presentation, and I was especially impressed with how well they understood their subject as they fielded audience questions.
Next, I’m heading over to Daytona Beach for next week’s ICACC meeting. Watch for more photoblogging from Florida.
Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures from Thursday and Friday.