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NDMS All-Hands meeting

Members of the Mackenzie Group visiting Loch Lomond

Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Philip Pearcy (2020, DPhil Theoretical and Physical Chemistry)

As part of the ongoing EPSRC New Directions in Molecular Scattering (NDMS) Programme Grant, organised between the University of Oxford and Heriot-Watt University, I attended the All-Hands meeting being held in Edinburgh. This was the third in-person meeting that I had been involved with since starting my DPhil, and it was good to be able to see our collaborators in person as it allowed us to discuss the work we had completed, as well as seeing the experimental setups being developed at Heriot-Watt.

The main event ran from Monday 5 to Wednesday 7 December 2022. During the first day, the principal investigators (PIs) talked about the results that have been collected so far as well as our targets for the next six months. A discussion session on how we could collaborate in a better way followed. Following this, we all had a tour of the main laboratory which contained all of the experiments we had been talking about earlier. The postdoctoral students based at Heriot-Watt presented their work next to their setups. This was useful as it allowed us to see how they arranged their systems to suit the demands of their particular experiment. We spoke about the problems they had been experiencing and tried to propose possible solutions to them. We also had a meeting to discuss our outreach projects. The projects are intended to allow our groups to present our research and techniques with school students and hopefully encourage to pursue chemistry and physics related careers. We also shared a Christmas meal together on 5 December; allowing us all to congratulate ourselves on the work we had achieved so far and to mark the end of the year. It was a nice way to come together during the meeting and also allowed for further discussion. I found the meeting to be useful as I was able to go away and think about my own studies and how I could incorporate what I had seen into my own work. I was also able to catch up with them a few weeks later at a conference to ask any other questions that had arisen following the meeting.

One of the new experimental chambers that has been built at Heriot-Watt University to study the collisions of molecules under low pressure conditions

The meeting ended on Wednesday 7 December. Following that, I along with the others in my research group spent the next few days travelling around Scotland before returning on 10 December. In order to attend the event, the postdoctoral student in my group and I arranged to take the East Coast Mainline train from Oxford to Edinburgh Waverley on 4 December, before coming back on the 10. The organisers of the group meeting at Heriot-Watt arranged for us to stay at a hotel on the main campus in Edinburgh and covered the costs for it. Thanks to the Old Members’ Trust travel grant, I was able to pay for the travel to and from the meeting. I am very grateful for this and I pass my thanks to those who funded the grant.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 6 April 2023

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