I can’t believe it’s already Friday, the last day of PACRIM 10. Although I know many attendees left this morning, there are still conference rooms filled with audiences for the remaining presentations.
Just before I left, I heard two interesting talks. One was about using ice as an easy, green template for fabrication of micrometer scale porous materials; the other one was a study on the fracture resistance of biomineralized ceramics and bioinspired designs from fish. Although there were many more interesting discussions, I had to leave for my 11-hour drive back to school in New Mexico.
Now I am sitting in my apartment, recalling the overall experience of this meeting. There is one line on a postcard available in the gift shop of the Hotel Del Colorado that summarizes very well the beauty of the historic hotel and the terrific scenery: one third sunshine, one third sand, one third fairytale. I love this description and would like use something similar to conclude my thoughts on the PACRIM 10 meeting: one third science, one third collaboration, one third friendship.
One Third Science
As an academic meeting, of course, PACRIM was mainly about science. Hundreds of research reports were presented. Attendees not only got to learn about different groups’ current research, but also gained systematic understanding of their work. Most presenters delivered an overview of their own research perspectives rather than focus on a single material, which is often the case with many journal publications.
Also, in my opinion, a conference is more open than journals for some research that might be considered a bit controversial. Journal papers always require research with clearly demonstrated and well proven results. Some new research may contain results open to discussion, which can be difficult to get published for other researchers’ attention and suggestion. However, a conference like PACRIM offers the opportunity to exchange ideas effectively with attendees.
One Third Collaboration
At a conference, every presentation you choose to attend is highly related to your field or what interests you. That means your future potential partners are automatically narrowed down to a manageable number. The same research interest has the potential to drive tremendous collaboration well beyond the conference itself. For some students who are going to graduate soon, it is also a good chance to impress potential future employers. In this respect, PACRIM served as a pathway to collaboration and opportunity beyond the conference itself.
One Third Friendship
Some people you may know for a lifetime, but know that you are not friends; some you may know for only a few minutes but you’re sure they are lifetime friends. In a place full of people with the same interests, it’s easy to find lifetime friends. Two assistant professors I met at PACRIM told me that they became friends very quickly because of similar life experiences and career paths. They not only had a lot to discuss and to share, but also were able to encourage each other in life and in their careers.
I also met many new friends, especially my ACerS mentor Eileen De Guire. To me, she is not only a mentor but a precious friend forever. The phrase “love at first sight” can be modified in my opinion to “friendship at first sight.” I believe a lot of PACRIM attendees must have felt the same way when they met fantastic people from all over the world.
Finally, I would like to thank Dr. H.T. Lin and Eileen for this wonderful opportunity, Battelle Memorial Institute for financial support, and my adviser Dr. Hongmei Luo for her support and encouragement.
See you, my friends. I hope we will meet somewhere again!