245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition

24 May 2013

Messel bursar Ben Beasley reports on the 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he gave a presentation.

I am a final year chemistry PhD student at the University of Warwick. From 7 - 11 April 2013 I attended and gave a presentation at the 245th ACS National Meeting and Exposition. This was entitled 'Incorporation of Oxetanes and Azetidines into Pharmaceutically Relevant Scaffolds', which discussed previously published work, as well as more recent findings. This was given during the Heterocycles and Aromatics session, which was part of the Organic Chemistry division.

Attending the conference enabled me to discuss my findings with experts working in a similar field, as well as my peers. With over 10,000 attendees and thousands of presentations in a number of areas ranging from organic chemistry to geochemistry, there was always something new to learn both within my field and also in areas unfamiliar to me. I enjoyed discussing my work with other chemistry students as well as academics from universities and professionals from chemical industries. Of course there were plenty of opportunities to network both through the lecture sessions and also through the specially organised poster sessions and networking socials.

Standing in front of a large audience in a different country and delivering a lecture was one of the best experiences I have had since starting my PhD in chemistry. My presentation lasted around 20 minutes, including questions taken from the audience. Responding to questions was probably one of the more enjoyable parts of my lecture as it gave me an opportunity to discuss our findings with internationally renowned scientists. Seeing such a plethora of new ideas and speaking to a variety of experts in my field provided me with a variety of ideas that I can apply to my own research.

Whilst attending the conference I was able to enjoy all that New Orleans had to offer, from the excellent food and friendly hospitality to the madness of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. The city is a truly unique place and it was nice to take a break every now and then from the confines of the enormous conference centre to explore the local area. It is also pleasing to see how the city is moving, slowly but surely, back towards normality following the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina.

Through attending this conference, I have greatly improved my presentation skills as well as my networking and general communication skills. I was able to meet many like-minded scientists and make new contacts. Being selected to present my work in one of the sessions also provided me with a great confidence boost. I feel that through networking and presenting my work to a variety of people I have greatly raised my profile as a scientific researcher in the international community and also improved my career prospects; it was not uncommon to be offered a business card now and then!

I would like to thank my PhD supervisor, Prof Mike Shipman for supporting me in attending this conference as well as the extremely generous SCI Messel Award for providing me with travel funding, particularly during extremely difficult economic times. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and recommend it to future students.

Ben Beasley
University of Warwick

SCI member Ben is a member of the Fine Chemicals, Macro Group UK, and East Midlands Groups.

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