Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Max McCrea (2021, DPhil Physical and Theoretical Chemistry)
The aim of this trip to the Stereodynamics conference in Rethymnon, Crete, was to provide an opportunity for me to expand my horizons beyond the narrow boundaries of my project to similar work in the field. It was also to provide a forum for me to obtain new ideas to help me to accomplish the goals of my project.
After arriving late on the Sunday evening, on the Monday morning, the conference began. There were a wide variety of talks throughout the four days, some of greater consequence than others. I won’t go into the content of each and every talk, but will mention those that were of particular interest.
On the Monday, was a talk by Professor Laurent Bonnet from the University of Bordeaux, whose work providing ways of approximating quantum mechanical scattering calculations using some tricks in a classical model was intriguing, and perhaps could be used as one way for us to obtain theoretical results to compare with our experimental results. There were also talks by Professor Gil Alexandrowicz and his postdoc Helen Chadwick at the University of Swansea, who presented their work using magnetically oriented H2 molecules, and with whom we would like to collaborate (hence my trip to Swansea which was also paid by this grant last term). Professor Andreas Osterwalder’s talk showed a molecular beam experiment not dissimilar to ours, with the aim of looking at orientation, but was using a different detection technique, giving him resolution that we don’t have in some areas, and much less resolution that us in other areas. There were also talks by Professor Richard Zare and Javier Aoiz from the universities of Stanford and Madrid, which riffed of each other, as they discussed orientation of molecules and the potential for disagreement between experimental data and theoretical calculations.
On the Wednesday afternoon, there was a rapid-fire tour of the ruins of Knossos and Heraklion museum, before the conference dinner, which was held in a restaurant in the hills overlooking Heraklion, where we were treated to an evening of eating and Greek music and dancing.
Overall it was a very successful trip, from which I gained a lot of insight into the wider field of Stereodynamics, and indeed gathered some new ideas to think about.
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Published: 1 February 2023