Most researchers I know enjoy going to conferences. Some even seem to make a career of it! After all, there's the chance to hear the latest results, see research from a range of areas, and chat to colleagues and friends. While attending conferences is important in building a career and establishing yourself in a field, it can be more than that. You might hear something that's of relevance to your own work, a chance remark could lead to a new idea or collaboration, or just being away from the lab could provide a necessary wider perspective. Then, of course, there's the opportunity to travel.


For those putting on the conference, meetings and exhibitions can also serve very important functions. They can establish a new, emerging field as a coherent effort, showcase the state-of-the-art, or point to the next developments in reinvigorating an established area.

While I'm not sure Materials Today Asia will achieve any of those lofty aims, it is an international conference that we are confident will showcase the latest developments in materials research. In that aim, the conference mirrors the magazine, but adds in all those benefits of actually being a delegate at a conference. And by holding the event in Beijing, we hope to recognize the range of high-quality materials research coming from Asia, and China in particular.

It has been a pleasure for me to see the meeting come together. There will be three symposia that focus on three of the most exciting, original, and fast-moving areas of materials: functional materials for nonvolatile memories; the synthesis and assembly of nanostructures; and the interface between materials and biology. In Younan Xia (University of Washington), Sang Ho Lim (Korea University), and Dan Luo (Cornell University), not only do we have excellent conference chairs, but ones who have invited great speakers at the very top of their fields.

With the abstract submission deadline now passed, it is gratifying that we received many more submissions than we expected and fascinating to see the different abstracts we've received. For example, there is the environmentally friendly synthesis of magnetite nanoparticles from olive oil and rust, particles that can then be used in the efficient removal of arsenic from wastewater. Or the concept of a memory device based on localized storage of charge in Pt nanoparticle arrays that can be read using electrostatic force microscopy. I look forward to seeing what happens when those working on all these diverse efforts meet together over three days in September.

Registration for the conference is now open and details can be found at

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(07)70058-5