Reelected in January of this year, Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior (IFSC-USP) began his second consecutive mandate as president of the Brazilian Materials Research Society (B-MRS) this February, together with a partially renewed board of directors, composed of Professor Rubem Luis Sommer (CBPF) in the administration, finance and equity sector, and as scientific directors, Professors Antonio Eduardo Martinelli (UFRN), Daniel Eduardo Weibel (UFRGS), Glaura Goulart Silva (UFMG), Iêda Maria Garcia dos Santos (UFPB) and Mônica Alonso Cotta (Unicamp). This board will manage the society for two years until the end of 2019.
Currently, Professor Novais de Oliveira Junior (or “Chu”, as he is known) is a full professor at the São Carlos Institute of Physics – University of São Paulo (IFSC-USP) and associate editor of the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. With an H index of 58, his name is among the 100 scientists in Brazil of all areas with higher H index. He is author of about 500 articles and his works include nearly 15,500 citations (Google Scholar data).
In this interview, the re-elected president speaks a little about his first term in B-MRS, the management he will initiate in this new mandate and his current scientific activities.
B-MRS Newsletter: You have just completed your first term as president of B-MRS. Share with our readers your thoughts about the results achieved by the board you presided over.
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: In the last mandate the board’s priority was to keep the Annual Meetings at a high level, despite the financial crisis Brazil’s science, technology and innovation system is undergoing. In addition to this priority, we continued the endeavors of previous boards in the internationalization of SBPMat, which include partnerships with scientific societies from other countries.
B-MRS Newsletter: – You have just accepted a new two-year term as president of SBPMat. Comment on your plans and expectations.
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: The expectations of the Board of Directors are to be able to continue the activities that made SBPMat one of the most active and prestigious scientific societies in Brazil. The main plans I want to highlight concern working toward a greater insertion in the society, with the task of disseminating the contributions of science and technology to the country, and to increase the number of B-MRS members.
B-MRS Newsletter: About your scientific research work, share with us what you are doing.
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: My group`s research work, in partnership with other groups in Brazil and abroad, focuses on two areas: i) the study and use of materials for biology and medicine, for example using biosensors for early diagnosis of cancer and determination of mechanisms at the molecular level of drugs to combat super-resistant bacteria. ii) the use of statistical physics methodologies and complex networks for text analysis, such as authorship identification of books and verification of multidisciplinarity in the scientific literature.
B-MRS Newsletter: If you wish, use this space to leave a message for the B-MRS members and the community that follows the news of this newsletter.
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior: I and the new board hope to have the enthusiastic support of the community, as in recent years.
Four members of B-MRS were part of the select group of about 30 young researchers from several countries who participated in two events held in the city of Strasbourg, France, along with 60 other participants. The main subject of both events was material innovation for a sustainable society and a global circular economy (i.e., based on reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and/or energy). The events were organized by several research societies in materials research, the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS) and other entities, with the support of UNESCO.
Post-doctoral fellows Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva (currently full-time professor at FURB, after completing a post-doc at UFPR), Gisele Amaral-Labat (USP), Kassio Papi Silva Zanoni (IFSC-USP) and Sedeyeh Parinaz Akhlaghi (UNICAMP) were the young B-MRS members who participated in the events. The four postdocs were selected from 20 candidates in the context of the B-MRS Young Researcher Award. They have earned the right to attend the events (which are not open to the public), as well as travel costs. The award was made in partnership with the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).
The first of the events was the “Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers 2017,” held on 18 and 19 November of this year at the headquarters of the European Youth Center. The forum brought together different generations of researchers around science and technology for a sustainable world. The event included lectures by senior scientists, poster presentations of young researchers and discussions among all participants. In addition, all young scientists participated in the preparation of a report that was presented at the end of the event.
Then, on the 20th and 21st, the “6th World Materials Summit” was held at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The subject of innovation in sustainable materials and the circular economy was discussed through lectures by scientists from various countries and round tables.
According to Kassio Zanoni, the discussions of the two events showed an academic, political, social and environmental view about themes related to sustainability, as well as the perspectives of Materials research in this context. According to the B-MRS participants, some of the topics addressed were the conversion, storage and distribution of energy (solar, for example); production of more efficient and less polluting batteries; capture and reuse of carbon dioxide; materials recycling; and many other topics.
The president of SBPMat, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr, professor at IFSC-USP, represented SBMat in the international committee of the summit and gave a lecture in the forum about nanomaterials and their applications.
Read our interview with the B-MRS young members who attended the events.
B-MRS Newsletter: Briefly tell us about the work you presented in the “Forum for the New Generation of Researchers 2017”.
Eduardo Neiva: I presented a poster about my postdoctoral work, whose theme involved the application of graphene nanocomposites in the construction of energy storage devices.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: My panel discussion consisted of activities that are currently being developed in my postdoctoral fellowship. The work is based on the use of pulp and paper industry waste, crude black liquor, in the synthesis of porous carbon foams in the presence of nickel, for direct ethanol fuel cell applications. The synthesis form used generates a product with a greater amount of residues, besides the low cost when compared to the electrocatalysts used in the current market.
Kassio Zanoni: I presented a poster of the work I am developing in the postdocs, on ways and concepts for energy conversion and sustainability.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: I presented my postdoctoral work (referring to the years 2015-2017) at UNICAMP (Institute of Chemistry), still in progress, as well as part of the work developed during my doctorate (2010-2014) at the University of Waterloo (Dept. of Chemical Engineering) in the form of a poster titled “Preparation and Characterization of Novel Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications.”
B-MRS Newsletter: How did your participation in these events contribute to your development?
Eduardo Neiva: Unlike other events, I had the opportunity to participate in discussions involving topics of global importance. My participation in this event will also result in future international and national partnerships, where in the event, I and the participant Gisele conceived projects to be developed in the near future.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: Undoubtedly, participating in these events was extremely important for my academic background, first due to the type of event, in which a common theme is discussed by two different communities, academic and business, enabling me to know different global views of the subject. Secondly, it created the possibility for collaboration with other research centers, including young and senior researchers, national and international. Furthermore, the event allowed getting to know the work of the other young Brazilian researchers, and a possible collaboration with Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva is in progress. The objective is to synthesize sustainable carbon materials for application in the area of energy storage, taking advantage of the expertise of both of us.
Kassio Zanoni: The event provided the opportunity for meetings with several researchers, increasing our networks of collaborations. It was very interesting to hear the different views and this brought a great deal of professional growth. It really was very productive, perhaps the most productive meeting I’ve ever attended.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: I believe that my participation in these events was one of the most rewarding and most influential experiences in my career as a researcher and as a human being. I was affected in an extremely positive way by being in the presence of young researchers like myself, as well as experienced scientists, shaping my worldview (and my future), my ambitions and desires in the academic career. Being in the presence of scientists that I have admired for so long and being able to exchange ideas with them was very rewarding in several aspects. All the discussions were profound, passionate and motivating. It was certainly an experience shared by the other young scientists.
B-MRS Newsletter: What most attracted your attention in the events?
Eduardo Neiva: The direct and prolonged contact with renowned researchers.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: I was delighted with how receptive the senior researchers were with the young researchers. Moreover, the event showed a relevant multidisciplinarity of the professionals and the works presented.
Kassio Zanoni: The different views on the same theme, which vary widely between different countries.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: What at first could have been a barrier, soon proved to be extremely pleasurable. Despite the age difference between the main scientists (some older than 70) and the young researchers (some 25 years old), the exchange of information flowed naturally. On both sides there was passion when talking about science (as a whole), as well as new paths and alternatives for a more hopeful and better future.