Fall MRS Meeting 2011: Analogies, highlights and trivia

I’ve spent the last week in, as Ros Daw described on Wednesday, a relatively balmy Boston, mooching around the halls of the Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton diving in to whichever session of the Materials Research Society meeting took my fancy. Unfortunately, there’s now a very cold bite to the air in New England but thankfully I’m on my way home to the Old England.  Read more

Updating blogroll

We realised the other day that our list of links on the left-hand side is pretty out of date and hasn’t been updated in ages. So we put our heads together and scoured our RSS feeds in Google Reader (without which I doubt we’d be able to run about 30% of the content in the journal!) to come up with the following list of blogs to add:  … Read more

Materials Girl: Year 2

Skimming through some of my first posts as a graduate student, I noticed that I’m really whiny! For example, there’s the entry on writing fellowship applications: I gripe about physics, grades, writing personal statements, and generally having to work hard. Ah, youthful innocence – or shall I say, stress without merit. Thing is, I wasn’t even working hard compared to what I’m doing now (mostly in regards to research). Last fall, I spent months just to write a few essays and fill out application forms. This year, I’ve already done half the work in a week, and it is of higher quality.  Read more

EuCheMS – Elemental enjoyment

If yesterday’s blog themes were mechanisms and energy, then today’s theme is elements. Different, diverse elements. (It does occur to me that, as pretty much all chemistry is concerned with one element or another, this isn’t really much of a theme!) I pretty much stuck to the Advances in Organic and Inorganic Chemistry part of the programme today, which was focused on Advances in Inorganic Synthesis.  Read more

Making more of methods

As a synthetic chemist the first thing I usually want to know about a chemical compound is “How did they make it?” and then “How do they know they made it?” However, synthetic procedures and characterization data for compounds are often found lurking in an article’s Methods section or in the depths of the Supplementary Information.  Read more

Materials Girl: Sunshine in June, but the lab has no windows

Three years ago, while still an undergrad with zero notion of “research”, I wrote a post that briefly pondered the summer life of a grad student. The following year I discovered that summer = vacation for the younger masses only. Now that the regular school year is over, I’m experiencing my first summer as a graduate researcher. So far, this has been time to catch up on the research that I neglected during the school year. (Apparently, a grad school B– = undergrad C– = failure + retake class = extra motivation to maintain straight As! Plus, TAing is awesome, even if in an often painful manner.)  … Read more