Thursday, March 26, 2009

237th ACS National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT

Went to ACS nat'l meeting in SLC Sun-Tues. Good meeting. Snowed Mon morning, mountains looked great. Sorry no pictures; no camera.

Angela Belcher (MIT), gave keynote address Sunday pm. Talked about challenges applications of nanoscience, focused on own research engineering nanotubes using bacteriophage viruses as templates. Very straightforward speaker made it clear nanoscale science technology will revolutionize many fields through applications. Nothing we didn't all know, but is nice to hear someone "important" say it. After keynote address, she and Paul Weiss (Penn State, editor-in-chief ACS Nano) participated in panel on careers in chemistry, both spoke of being very satisfied with careers. Dr. Weiss: “I work with some of the smartest people, I choose my own projects, and I get to satisfy my curiosity. This is the best job in the world.” (Forgive errors in quotation from memory, wasn't taking notes). Definitely reminded why I love science. Weiss seems brilliant. Might like to work with him some day.

Heard Nate Lewis give his energy future talk Tues morning, running through energy scenarios quickly analyzing “alternative” solutions, disproving them all. Concludes only solar makes any sense. Brilliant man. Friend Jordan joins his group in summer.

Sat in on Small Chemical Business Symposium Tues pm. Heard George Whitesides (Harvard), Robert Grubbs(Caltech) et al talk about commercializing research. Whitesides talked about local ecosystems supporting entrepreneurship, maybe 6 (Silicon Valley, Hwy 128 in Mass, Austin, Seattle, etc.) I knew they existed, didn't know how important. Should look into. Grubbs, Nobel Laureate, was working on catalyst, commercialized, then commercialized multiple applications of said catalyst. Developed polymer with extraordinary tensile strength, other properties. Should look into. Remembered corollary life goal: join their ranks.

Upcoming: musings on Woodie Flowers, education reform. Maybe more verbose.

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