Last month, chemical engineer and FURI researcher Adam Pak attended the 2016 Material Research Society Spring Meeting and Exhibit here in Phoenix. Adam has been working on his research titled “Angle-Dependent Rupture Strain of Elastically Stretchable Microcracked Gold Conductors for Stretchable Microelectrode Array Applications” under the mentorship of Dr. James Abbas and Dr. Oliver Graudejus and presented his research while at the conference. We asked Adam to share the details of his experience.
In layman terms, what was the conference about?
Material Research Society (MRS) hosted a symposium focused on material science, within which lays my favorite and growing field of stretchable electronics. For a week research leaders from all over the world came to Phoenix Arizona to discuss their latest findings. About a half of MRS members are outside the US, which shows the global impact that students like me can have in a conference like MRS. While hosting international leaders in material science, I had a chance to share my findings via a poster presentation as well as had a chance to learn from the best. With interdisciplinary materials enterprise, MRS has assisted research leaders to further advance global quality of life.
What motivated you to present at this conference?
We as the people must stand together to tackle global issues. While there are many approaches to fix complex problems that face us, it is my sincere belief that advances in science and political engagement are the two core methods which Millennials like myself can contribute. My research on providing reliable tools to better understanding traumatic brain injury combined with proper legislation support will change human lives all over the world for the better. That is my motivation.
Tell us about some of the presentations you attended!
There were a huge number of presentations that I attended during the event. With a week of all kinds of presentations going on from 8am to 10pm there was a lot to choose from.
MRS has allowed me to network with researchers who also study microcracked gold morphology. Such professional developments have already facilitated new research paths I can take to manufacture electrodes or more precisely, to obtain data from neuron field potentials. A presentation on using gallium as a liquid metal to fill in gold macrocracks in order to sustain electrical conductivity of electrodes under high strains had significant impact on my research.
What would you say was the best part of the conference?
Best part of conference was the healthy scientific environment. It was that special culture where each and every person was truly interested in improving our world via research. It was clear that MRS members were not there to build points on their resumes or for other selfish reasons. Instead they were there to deepen their knowledge by being attentive to one another. I am very happy to be part of such culture.
Has your involvement with this conference influenced your research plans?
The thought of going to a conference has already motivated me to produce worthy conclusions on my research of elastically stretchable microcracked gold conductors. The conference itself has surprised me by placing emphasis on my ability to communicate my research to others. This type of technical communication combined with learning how to engage others has positively influenced my networking skills.
What did you wish you knew prior to the conference?
I wish that I was more familiar with the organization of the conference. With numerous exhibits and presentations always going on as well as with numerous buildings holding such events the whole time, it was difficult to navigate.
Any suggestions for other students regarding conferences?
Conferences are not about gaining resume points, they are about science. It is a very special place where you can sit down and have most stimulating conversations on advanced topics. It is a place where researchers can search for inspirations and ideas.
Going to a conference? Have research-related travel needs? Apply for the Undergraduate Research Travel Grant!