Chapter 271: MRS Autumn Conference!
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
In the fourth week of November, two days after Black Friday, the MRS Autumn Conference was held as scheduled.
Since Lu Zhou was invited to the conference, he was able to enjoy the VIP treatment. A car picked him up from the airport and sent him to his five-star hotel.
Normally, an MRS conference would usually last at least a week or 10 days at most.
However, this time the situation was different.
After the lithium dendrites problem was solved, theses related to lithium batteries grew exponentially. These theses brought new innovations to other new energy photostatic materials.
Many research institutes modified their previous reports and requested to do another report at the conference. Thus, the conference organizers extended the conference period to twelve days.
Lu Zhou’s report was on the afternoon of the second day.
He had just flown into Boston and did not have a plan for the day. Therefore he planned to wander around and listen to a few reports to get familiar with the style.
Lu Zhou placed his suitcase near his bed and went to the toilet to wash his face. He then went downstairs and walked to the conference venue, which was near the hotel.
Lu Zhou had been to many conferences by now, yet he still could not help but be impressed at the MRS Autumn Conference.
The MRS Conference was ginormous, and it was on a completely different level than mathematics conferences.
Dozens of venues, hundreds of topics, tens of thousands of participants…
Every year, at this time, all of the hotels and motels near the venue would be booming. Since the meeting was free, some people would come just to see the action. The organizer was not responsible for their accommodation.
In a sense, the MRS conference model was similar to the Federal Mathematics Society conference held in Princeton.
Every venue was divided into two parts, an oral report, and an academic poster.
Most of the big names did the oral report, which contained many high-quality theses. Not only was this part the essence of the conference, but it was also the “battlefield” for schools like MIT, Harvard, and Cornell.
Especially for those cutting edge areas, the discussion would often be extraordinarily “fierce”, so physical conflicts was not unusual.
As for the academic posters, the requirement threshold was relatively low. As long as one had a thesis that was submitted in a journal, one would get a poster booth in your corresponding topic.
As such, there was a high disparity in skill level. However, most people were enthusiastic when discussing topics, so it was generally restrained.
Lu Zhou walked through the venue and looked around. Everyone looked very friendly, and they were taking photos and smiling…
In short, it was not as intense as what Professor Chirik had described.
Lu Zhou felt relieved.
When he got off the plane, he was wondering if he should buy a self-defense weapon, but now it seems that was unnecessary.
However, to be safe, he still wore his “nitrogen shield” watch that the system gave him.
Even though he probably would not need to use it.
Lu Zhou walked around in the poster areas and wandered into the lithium battery section.
When he passed the first lecture hall, a report was going on.
Lu Zhou looked at the poster outside the lecture hall. The report was about the legendary lithium-air battery. Suddenly, he had a look of interest in his eyes.
It looked like the report had just begun. The professor on stage was still preparing the PowerPoint. Lu Zhou walked in and found a seat to sit down.
Strictly speaking, lithium-air batteries could not be considered in the field of materials.
However, just like the concept of photovoltaics, the main problem was the material, so it naturally became a materials science problem even though it was actually more of an energy problem.
Soon, the report began.
A very neat looking professor stood on stage. He looked as if he was in his 50s.
From the PowerPoint, his name was Sarrot and he was from Cornell University.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be standing here. You must all know that not long ago, Professor Lu Zhou from Princeton University published a paper in Nature Chemistry on PDMS materials, which solved the most critical problem in lithium batteries!”
“If this was the Spring Conference half a year ago, you might laugh at the concept of lithium-air batteries, but I promise you that this new era has arrived!”
Professor Sarrot stood on stage and wrote various chemical reactions on the whiteboard.
Some people listened intently while some people sneered.
Sitting in the back row, Professor Kerr from Columbia University crossed his arms and waited until the Q&A session. He could not help but ask in a satirical tone.
“How do you solve the reaction between the lithium anode and nitrogen in the air? What about water vapor? Even the cleaners know how vivacious lithium is. In my opinion, you’re not building a battery, you’re building a rocket.”
He researched lithium-sulfur batteries, which was the main type of batteries. Although it had a lot of downsides, it was a lot more reliable than lithium-air.
Some people in the lecture hall laughed, but Sarrot did not care.
He cleared his throat and replied, “Professor Kerr’s question is good. Interns in our laboratory often asked this question. However, formal researchers usually don’t ask this question because we are too busy thinking about how to solve this problem.”
The people that were laughing stopped.
The people that were not laughing started to laugh.
There was a drama now.
Sarrot did not give Kerr a chance to refute as he continued to speak, “We all know that Kerr is in the field of lithium-sulfur batteries. But, honestly, I’m also curious how he plans on solving the shuttle effect caused by the dissolution of polysulfide intermediates into the electrolyte and diffusion from the positive electrode to the negative electrode through the separator. Even a retard would know that you can’t stick the negative and positive poles together.”
Kerr was furious.
Sarrot continued to speak, “I’ve talked with Professor Lu Zhou from Princeton about this issue. Theoretically speaking, it is unrealistic to separate pure oxygen from the air, but through a wonderful mathematical model, we can infer many potential products that can accomplish our goals.”
Sarrot paused for a second. He then continued with a sturdy tone, “I’m saying that if we can find a diaphragm that can be used to screen the passage of oxygen molecules, then we can perfectly solve the problem of lithium-air batteries.”
“And this research project is exactly what we are trying to solve!”
Lu Zhou: ? ? ?
When did I talk to him?!
Once Sarrot finished speaking, no one was laughing in the venue.
Professor Kerr and the other professors had a dignified look on their faces.
A few men wearing suits started to whisper.
These people did not look like researchers. Lu Zhou heard them talking about “investment”, “costs”, and “feasibility”.
He knew that he could not stay silent anymore.
Someone was bullsh*ting about his knowledge.
Someone was defrauding investors!
Lu Zhou coughed and stood up.
When Professor Sarrot saw Lu Zhou, he did not recognize this Asian man. He squinted his eyes and asked, “Sir, who are you…”
“I am Lu Zhou,” said Lu Zhou. He coughed and said, “I am here to testify that I have said no such thing.”
Lu Zhou had not even finished speaking before someone threw a shoe onto the stage.
Then came the pens, cups, even a computer. The lecture hall was a mess.
“Scammer, f*ck off!”
“Shove your PowerPoint up your ass!”
Before Lu Zhou spoke up, they were convinced by Professor Sarrot’s “Mathematical Model”. For half a minute, they had doubts about their life.
This doubt made them extra furious as they had been fooled!
Although Professor Sarrot was being attacked by the crowd, it was clear that he was used to it. He avoided the projectiles and packed up his stuff before he left the lecture hall.
The organizers who heard the news arrived in time and stopped the group of angry researchers.
The staff members looked helpless. Obviously, this was not the first time they had to deal with something like this.
Lu Zhou sat at the back of the lecture hall. He was dumbfounded.
Is this industry…
Really this ruthless?
Speaking of which, his report was tomorrow.
Lu Zhou suddenly panicked…