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Solid State Chemistry in Calgary

an impressive, grand red brick building entrance

Heritage Hall, SAIT

Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Rachel Conway (2019, Inorganic Chemistry for Future Manufacturing)

In August 2023, I was fortunate enough to attend the North American Solid State Chemistry conference (NASSCC), held in Calgary, Canada, made possible by support from the Old Member’s Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund. NASSCC took place at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and those who are fans of HBO’s The Last of Us may recognise the campus and the iconic Heritage Hall building which featured in the show.

Before the conference began, I participated in a two-day interactive machine learning workshop. The workshop delved into fundamental concepts of machine learning, with a specific focus on their relevance to materials discovery and solid state chemistry applications. As a newcomer to this field, I found that the course content was tailored perfectly for beginners like myself, and I now have a much greater appreciation for the importance of machine learning in solid state research.

a grand hall with tables - at the far end is a very large group of people posing for the photo

NASSCC attendees

The conference kicked off with a networking and pizza evening, setting the stage for three busy days filled with oral presentations and poster sessions. I particularly enjoyed the emphasis on presentations by early career researchers, ranging from students and post-docs to junior faculty members. They all excelled in showcasing the diverse landscape of current solid-state chemistry research. On the conference’s second afternoon, I had the opportunity to present my own poster in a relaxed setting, which facilitated engaging and informal scientific discussions regarding my work. During this time, I engaged in one-on-one conversations about my research, receiving invaluable feedback and gaining fresh insights and ideas that I can apply to my work back in Oxford.

a beautiful lake with fir trees and mountains surrounding it

Lake Moraine, Banff National Park

Once the conference was over, I spent the weekend exploring Calgary. I took a trip into the Canadian Rockies to Banff National Park, where I visited the turquoise blue waters of Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Despite the wildfire smoke causing some reduced visibility and haziness across the lakes, this was an experience like no other!

Now I return to Oxford with a suitcase full of Canadian snacks and a renewed sense of excitement for my own research, having been inspired by many of the conversations I had and presentations I heard over the week! I am very thankful to the Old Member’s Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund which made this trip possible.

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: 26 September 2023

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