On June 24-29, Virginia Tech and the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute are hosting the World Polymer Congress, which will bring thousands of renowned scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner, to Blacksburg. The international meeting MACRO 2012 is seeking volunteers to help welcome attendees and make the conference run smoothly.  

The theme for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s 44th edition of the congress is “Enabling Technologies for a Safe, Sustainable, Healthy World.” More than 1,200 polymer experts will give oral presentations and/or present posters on their research.

Nobel laureate Robert H. Grubbs’ talk will be “Controlled Synthesis of Functional Polymers.” Grubbs received the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry. His other honors include the Pauling Award Medal in 2003, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, and National Academy of Sciences member.

The banquet speaker will be Robert J. Lang, one of the world’s foremost origami artists who has pioneered computational origami. Before becoming an artist, Lang used his training in applied physics during his career at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spectra Diode Laboratories, and JDS Uniphase. Now he works full time as an artist and origami consultant but remains active the world of physics with various projects. 

The president of Japan’s Society of Polymer Science,  Kazunori Kataoka, will present “Medical Innovation through Polymer Chemistry — Supermolecular Structures of Block Copolymers as Smart Nanodevices for Gene and Drug Delivery.” Kataoka is a professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at the University of Tokyo. His current research focuses on nanobiotechnology, specifically for gene and drug delivery.

The registration deadline is May 25 with the cost covering all lectures, materials, Sunday opening reception, and break refreshments.  Some special registration rates are available.

Over the course of five days, attendees will be housed on campus and selected area hotels. Charter shuttle services are arranged from Roanoke Regional Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Conference-goers will have the opportunity to participate in a number of excursions including a trip to Carowinds, N.C., tours of the Virginia Tech campus and Charlottesville, and hiking in New River Valley.

Volunteer Coordinator Valerie Owens of the Department of Chemistry is recruiting volunteers to work various shifts in 33 different job categories. The daily shifts range from about 1.5 hours to all day. Early morning, afternoon, evening, and late night jobs are available. Among others, the available jobs include setting up or taking down exhibits or posters, ushering, leading excursions to various area attractions, guiding campus tours, and audio/visual technical support. Some positions require heavy lifting and/or a car.

Those interested in volunteering for conference work should contact Valerie Owens via email. In the email, potential volunteers should include which days, times, and the number of hours they are available to work. They should also include any special skills such as audio/visual, computer, event work, and if they have a vehicle. Interest or background in science isn’t required to volunteer, but applicants should specify their affiliation, if any, with Virginia Tech and if they are interested in chemistry.




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