Current Coblentz President’s Message

July 2024

As I wrap up writing this president’s message, it is hard to believe that the summer is already about half over, and that students will be starting to pour into universities and secondary schools around the country in a matter of weeks. Some important things to point out to our readership is that the poster abstract deadline for SciX 2024 is closing in, so please do not forget to submit those! Just a friendly reminder to our student members, if you present your poster at the Sunday evening reception, we post a Coblentz logo with it to draw attention to those walking by of your Coblentz membership. On Sunday evening, we also will be honoring our Coblentz student award winners and the Fateley Student award winner. That is in addition to other FACSS and SAS awards traditionally given at this reception as well.

Along the same vein, if you are interested in a childcare grant or an early career travel grant, the deadline for those applications (email Mary Carrabba for the forms) to be returned for consideration for SciX or EAS 2024 is August 15, 2024. Registration for our ever popular Speed Mentoring at SciX 2024 is open and awaiting both mentors and mentees to register (https://members.coblentz.org/Events). While Speed Mentoring is free to attend, we do ask mentees and mentors to pre-register so we can plan accordingly for the number of seats needed and for lunch count. Our third annual members networking event is in the process of being finalized by the board, so be on the lookout for some details in the August newsletter.

Ellen Miseo is looking for help with two educational projects that the Society is working on; if you have interest in helping with helping out with those efforts, please let Ellen, Mary, or myself know.

The Board of Managers will be looking for two new members this fall as Peter Harrington and Michael George will be rolling off the Board (thank you both for your time and energies to the Society). If you are interested in being a more active volunteer for Coblentz, nomination to the Board of Managers is a great start! Please let myself or Mary know if you are interested in volunteering in this manner. 

While Mary will be also writing on this topic in this newsletter, I wanted to bring attention to the 2024 ISMS Conference that she and I participated in last month at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While I’ve known about this conference for years, it was truly a treat to attend a new-to-me meeting as I don’t get those opportunities much anymore in my career. There’s a large draw of graduate students that attend this meeting and a number of the faculty present have been coming for many years. This year was the 77th anniversary of ISMS with several of the internal conference awards named on behalf of several of the originating organizers of the meeting, who kept it going for many years with fairly little staff. This minimal staff and the low cost overhead (for example, Mary and I shared a dormitory suite which I’ve not done in over 20 years) has kept this conference affordable for many years running.

In total, there were 442 attendees and 420 talks given. That’s not a typo, there are no posters at this particular conference, which, for those of us who are regular attenders of SciX or Pittcon, might find shocking. However, the meeting is structured such that all of the presenters, including students, are given due time to present their work as clearly, and as concisely as possible. There are dedicated planetary sessions throughout the conference, which runs from Monday morning through Friday afternoon. Similar to SciX, there are dedicated networking events throughout the week, including a women’s dinner, LGBTQIA+ reception, student networking event, and the all-inclusive ISMS picnic. As we have done for many years, the Coblentz Society sponsored the first hour of beer at the picnic, with no lack of visibility with the beer cups! Outside of formal networking events, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with colleagues and new acquaintances during the breaks available and of course by the coffee and donut areas that are supplied each day, all day of the conference. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many donuts available at a technical meeting as at ISMS!

collage of photos from ISMS 2024

The Coblentz Award, the Society’s original technical award, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year was given to Dr. David Long from NIST (an uncanny similarity to William Coblentz too!). Dr. Long’s talk on electro-optical frequency combs was definitely groundbreaking work and worthy of the award. For those readers curious if this is a meeting worth attending, if your area of expertise is in fundamental spectroscopy theory and application, ultrafast, spectroscopy, instrumentation, and application, this meeting definitely would be worth your while! As president of the Coblentz Society, I’m looking forward to promoting our continued involvement and support for ISMS in years to come and helping to expand the cross pollination of this meeting with budding spectroscopists and knowledgeable experts throughout the scientific community.

In closing, while there are still several months to go before 2025, I am looking forward to the efforts the Society is progressing with advancing vibrational society in the circles we’re used to running in, but also in reaching out and touching more remote avenues we’ve not been a part of in the past. 

Coblentz Award Presentation collage of photos
Luisa Profeta
President of the Coblentz Society