SBPMat history – interviews with former presidents: Guillermo Solórzano (2001-2003).

Ivan Guillermo Solorzano-Naranjo chaired the first board of the Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat), also composed by directors Fernando Lázaro Freire Júnior, José Arana Varela, Roberto Cerrini Villas Bôas, Elisa Maria Baggio Saitovich and Moni Behar.

This founding board was established during the General Assembly for the Constitution of SBPMat, on June 26, 2001, at the auditorium of RioDatacentro at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). They held office until 2003.

Born in Ecuador, Solórzano studied and developed his scientific career in many places all over the world. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Escuela Politecnica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador, Metallurgical Engineering at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and got a degree from PUC-Rio  in Brazil. He held his MSc in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, also at PUC-Rio, and his PhD in Materials Science at McMaster University, in Canada. Developed postdoctoral research at Max-Planck Institute – Sttutgart campus, in Germany, and was a visiting professor at Institut National Polytechnique of Grenoble -France, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University (USA). He is a professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at PUC-Rio.

Along with Edgar Zanotto, he led the foundation of SBPMat. He also acted as president of the Inter American Committee of Societies for Electron Microscopy (CIASEM) and of the Brazilian Society of Microscopy and Microanalysis (SBMM), as well as chairman of the International Committee of the Materials Research Society (MRS). Member of several international executive committees, such as the International Federation of Societies for Microscopy (IFSM), as well as editorial boards of international journals, such as Materials Characterization (Elsevier), Journal of Materials Science (Springer), and Microscopy and Microanalysis (Cambridge University Press).

You can read below an interview with the former president of SBPMat, on the performance of the first board of our society.

1. List the main actions carried out over your time as president of SBPMat.

– Carried out successfully the inaugural congress (First SBPMat Meeting), as well as the II SBPMat meeting, the following year.

– Established a standard format for the annual event – based on symposia and unprecedented in the country –, which remains until now.

– Officially registered SBPMat.

– Arranged that SBPMat joined the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS).

– From the first meeting on, we gave start to collaboration with Materials Research Society (MRS), from the United States, and with E-MRS, from Europe, which has been growing steadier and stronger over time.

– Established the title of “founding members”, with more than 350 members who have received their certificates. We also started a membership campaign for SBPMat, for both professional and student members, reaching over 600 regular members in the second year. In the third meeting, under the chairmanship of Professor Elson Longo, in Foz do Iguaçu, there was a boom in the number of participants of the SBPMat Meeting, with over a thousand researchers and students.

– At the IUMRS meeting, we postulated SBPMat to host the forecoming International Congress on Advanced Materials (ICAM) in Rio de Janeiro. ICAM 2009 was successfully held in Rio de Janeiro, under my coordination.

– We left the society with funds summing up to about BRL 80,000.

2. List the main challenges you faced while directing SBPMat.

– Consolidating SBPMat was a challenge due to the lack of resources and infrastructure; I could rely only on my “part-time” secretary to help me with communication and administrative tasks as they arose, counting also with the help of my students (one of them made the first SBPMat website). However, it was also a time of great enthusiasm, in which I received full support from the Brazilian research community; we were all very driven to secure this endeavor. The funding agencies, CNPq, CAPES, FAPERJ, FAPESP, acknowledged the importance of the initiative and lent their support since the first meeting. I have nothing to complain about, and consider it a privilege to have had this experience of founding a national and interdisciplinary scientific society in Brazil…

3. What do you wish you have done, but could not get to it?

One of my proposals that never went beyond the project phase was the formation of executive committees for specific important activities for the consolidation and growth of the society, such as academic affairs committee; relationship with the industry committee; publications committee; international affairs committee; distinctions and awards committee… Each committee should have a director or coordinator (chairman), who would manage it for a certain time, reporting regularly (usually on the occasion of the meeting of SBPMat), and so on. Moreover, with Brazil being such a huge country, it would be necessary to have regional SBPMat sections with boards duly established and regulated by the statutes of SBPMat. The role of such branch offices would be basically to promote the general goals of SBPMat, but in a regional manner, always aligned with the guidelines of the society (through the Board and Council), thus contributing to strengthening its impact over the scientific community and Brazilian society.

All these ideas would grant more flexibility to the society, and also increase the participation of members of our community. It is important to increase the effective participation of members, particularly young people. We have a great generation of young talented people willing to take part, and they should be invited to do so.

4. What would you highlight about the two SBPMat meetings organized and held over your administration?

– The first SBPMat Meeting had the participation of the American and European MRS, and also of the International Union of Materials Societies (IUMRS). All the presidents of these bodies came to the meeting, which had about 400 participants and five symposia, counting with the presence of national authorities. From an international perspective, it had great representation and visibility.

– We established English as the official language in SBPMat Meetings. This has been increasing the participation of researchers from abroad.

– We reinforced the interdisciplinary nature of the society, reflected in the symposia, where each symposium would have co-chairs from different knowledge areas (i.e., Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, etc.), encouraging the presence of colleagues from abroad. We also established an organizing committee involving scientists from the academic sector, research centers and industry. This structure has been working successfully ever since.

– Both the first and second SBPMat meetings had distinguished international scientists as co-chairs of symposia, such as the President of MRS (Alex King, by that time) and the President of E-MRS (Giovanni Marletta, back then).

5. Would you like to leave a message for the readers about the election process in SBPMat? (importance of participating in elections, be it as voters or candidates, and so on)

I find it of importance, to establish and spread a clear process or program for president election at SBPMat, with two excellent candidates with a history of participation in SBPMat, identified by a search committee, to ensure that the community really takes part in the choice, in the election. The same goes for directors. We should not have only a single candidate for president, nor a single candidate group for the directory board, let alone the possibility of reelection, for these elements undermine the participation of the community. Regard the example given by MRS, where the term of office is of one year, with no reelection.

It should be established an election schedule that makes it possible to know the results of the voting for President, Board and Counselors by the occasion of the SBPMat meeting. This way, the participation of the already elected president at the meeting should facilitate the transition to the new board.


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