EAG Student Sponsorship: A trip to ‘Migration 2017’ in Barcelona

Nov 14, 2017 No Comments by 1024 views

I recently travelled to Barcelona to present at Migration 2017, a world-renowned conference which brings together world leading experts exploring the chemistry, and migration of actinides and fission products in the geosphere. This was an important conference for me to attend as I explore the effect of organic molecules on uranium migration.

On Sunday, I landed at Barcelona airport and travelled by train to my lively hostel. Thankfully the public transport system in Barcelona is amazing so I could find my way around without speaking the language! I arrived at Barcelona’s International Convention Centre early on Monday morning, eager to hear the presentations. I attended many presentations at the conference, showcasing the wealth of research generated in this area, from laboratory experiments, to large scale investigations of contaminated regions, such as Fukishima, and research carried out at underground research laboratories such as Grimsel test site in Switzerland.

On Monday and Tuesday evening I attended the poster sessions, which contained over 200 posters related to my field! I attended the conference on my own, and I found the poster sessions were a great way to meet people. I am a quiet person, but everyone at the conference was open and friendly, allowing me to develop friendships with people from a variety of different countries. For example, I made several friends who live in Gothenburg, Sweden, and who I plan to visit in the near future. I am also very grateful to the conference organisers for giving me the opportunity to present my poster during the Monday session. I met experts in my field who provided suggestions which will help improve my research during my PhD and beyond.

The organisers designed the conference so that we could have a free afternoon on Wednesday, and so I explored Las Ramblas, the Gothic quarter and the cities amazing architecture. I spent the evening enjoying the local Tapas, relaxing before the big day on Thursday, which provided both the most stressful and enjoyable moments of the conference. I was given the honour of presenting my work as an oral presentation, which was terrifying but very rewarding! I presented in the morning which allowed me to relax for the rest of the day, including celebrating one of my new friends birthday at lunch, and attending the conference banquet on the evening. These were the most enjoyable parts of the conference as I could relax and enjoy spending time with friends.

I would advise anyone that is interested in the chemistry and migration of radionuclides attend this conference. I would advise other students to relax, not take the conference too seriously, and attend talks you are interested in and, above all, network and make new friends. If possible, attend with someone you know as it will make networking much easier. Overall I found the conference exposed to me to new, fascinating, cutting edge research, and I would like to thank KIT and Amphos21 for organising the conference, and EAG for sponsoring me to attend.


About the author:

Matthew Kirby is originally from Birmingham, UK. He studied a Bachelors in Geology and Masters in Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management at the University of Birmingham, UK, before moving to London to study a PhD at Imperial College London. His work focuses on understanding the effect of naturally occurring organic molecules on uranium mobility through rocks in alkaline and saline solutions.




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