RIT hosted the largest gathering of Soft Matter physicists in the Upstate New York on Oct 11, 2022. The one-day UpState NY Soft Matter workshop was organized by Shima Parsa ( Assistant Prof of Physics), Moumita Das ( Associate Prof of Physics), Lishibanya Mohapatra (Assistant Prof of Physics) and Poornima Padmanabhan ( Assistant Prof of Chemical Engineering). This event was sponsored by AdvanceRIT through the Connect grant (link), COS Dean’s office, and KGCOE Dean’s office .
This scientific event featured speakers from Syracuse University, University of Rochester, University at Buffalo, and Cornell University. Attendees traveled from NYU, Lehigh, Syracuse, Cornell, Buffalo, and Claremont Colleges in California.
The organizers, Shima Parsa is an experimental soft matter physicist who studies transport properties of complex fluids in environmental systems. Moumita Das is a theoretical soft matter and biophysicist and an expert on collective behavior that emerges from interplay of geometry, statistical mechanics, and mechanics in systems with network-like structure. Lishibanya Mohapatra is a theoretical physicist who uses modeling to understand how cells maintain their sizes. Poornima is a chemical engineer by training and works on the intersection of chemistry, physics, and materials science using computations and thermodynamics as tools.
Soft Matter Physics is an emerging interdisciplinary field that spans from Applied Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Engineering. The workshop aimed to bring researchers from these disciplines together. Additionally, the upstate NY Soft Matter workshop provided a platform for interactions between scientists from major research institutes in the area for exchange of ideas and scientific discussions. Ample opportunities for RIT students were provided to evaluate future career prospects and graduate school research at the workshop. The organizers of the Upstate NY Soft Matter workshop aim to bring RIT to the forefront of research in the area. The workshop sponsored by the 2022 Connect grant through AdvanceRIT and hosted at RIT initiated this goal by successful research connections within the area.
Connecting Women Faculty in Energy Area and Promoting Interdisciplinary Collaborations
This project explored initiatives with the goal of connecting women faculty who are engaging in energy related research with a variety of entities such as students, academia, industry, and agencies. Throughout their project they hosted multiple virtual seminars with speakers from Linton Crystal Technologies, ENEA Italy, and a professor from the University at Buffalo. PI Kurinec and co-PIs Yan and McConky also were invited to observe energy installations in person and virtually.
PI Kurinec was also able to go to the Ginna Nuclear Plant in Ontario, NY with a group of students. One of which was able to receive an internship to the company’s plant in North Carolina. The student commented saying, “There tours are incredibly important for anyone trying to determine the field of their choice…I can say with certainty that it was a cornerstone moment in my engineering career”. The project included women student engagement at home and internationally as well as presentations given by PI Kurinec. In the end her project helped to build collaboration between women faculty in the energy field and the intersection between industry and academia.