New Year Message from B-MRS.

With this New Year Message, I greet the entire B-MRS community in Brazil and abroad.

There is great expectation that in 2019 Brazil will resume its investments in science, technology and innovation, which we believe to be minimally necessary for the continuation of our system, developed with tremendous effort over the last decades. For the meeting that the academic community had with the future minister of science and technology in early December 2018, the main suggestion B-MRS sent was about reinstating the budget in the area. It is known that Brazil needs to invest much more in the generation of knowledge to solve its serious economic and social problems. Reinstating the budget is merely the first and most urgent step given the situation of universities and research centers in the country. Also important and part of B-MRS ‘s suggestions is the emphasis on partnerships between ministries to address the problems of society at large, which always entail knowledge, technology and innovation, and the search for synergy with the private sector to transform knowledge into wealth and social well-being.

The materials area in particular has proved to be essential for any and all development. From fundamental discoveries of basic science for the understanding of nature and the conquest of space, to applications in medicine and agriculture, areas that today advance significantly from new materials and methodologies created to study them. In Brazil, for example, the inauguration of the first phase of Sirius, a new source of synchrotron light, at the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials, revealed a masterpiece of materials science and engineering. Even more relevant is that much of this technology is Brazilian.

B-MRS has continuously strived to provide space for researchers from Brazil and abroad to communicate and discuss their scientific and technological contributions and to seek partnerships for new challenges in a highly multidisciplinary field. Our last meeting in Natal (RN), in September 2018, repeated the success of previous editions with this perspective. Some of the many advances in materials science and technology have been highlighted in the B-MRS Newsletters, as a sample of the quality work being done in Brazil. B-MRS also considers scientific dissemination as strategic. In 2018 it created a new section of the Newsletter, entitled “From idea to innovation,” with special reports on the effect of technologies that reached society.

I end by thanking the B-MRS community, wishing all much health and success in 2019, and hoping to meet many of you in our next Meeting at Balneário Camboriú (SC), September 22-26.

Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior

President of B-MRS

ano novo sbpmat

B-MRS Newsletter. Year 5, issue 2.


logo header 400

Newsletter of the
Brazilian Materials
Research Society

Year 5 – issue 2. March 7, 2018.
B-MRS news

We interviewed Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior, elected in January of this year to preside over B-MRS for the second consecutive biennial period. See what he said about the previous mandate and the term he is initiating, and learn more about our president’s scientific activities. Here.

chu evento

Meet the directors elected in January of this year that will compose the B-MRS Executive Board during 2018 and 2019: Rubem Luis Sommer (CBPF), Antonio Eduardo Martinelli (UFRN), Daniel Eduardo Weibel (UFRGS), Glaura Goulart Silva (UFMG), Iêda Maria Garcia dos Santos (UFPB) e Mônica Alonso Cotta (UNICAMP). Here.


XVII B-MRS Meeting
(Natal, Brazil, September 16 – 20, 2018)


Join us, by the beach, and be part of this great gathering, where science and technology will meet nature to form the ideal learning and exchanging experience!

Submission. Abstract submission is open until April 15. See instructions for authors here.

Symposia. See the list of symposia that will compose the event here.

Registration. Early fee registration is open until July 31. See registration fees here.

Plenary lectures. Find out who are the 8 internationally renowned scientists who will deliver the plenary sessions and which are the themes of the lectures, here.

Exhibitors and sponsors. 16 companies have already reserved their places in the exhibition. Companies interested in participating in the event with booths or sponsoring can contact Alexandre at

Organizers. The meeting chair is Professor Antonio E. Martinelli (Brazilian Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, UFRN). Meet the organization committee.

Venue. The event will be held in the convention center of Hotel Praiamar, located a few meters from the famous beach of Ponta Negra. Know more.

City. A well-known destination for international tourists, Natal offers a pleasant environment to discuss, interact and learn. Its nice weather (dry with an average temperature of around 25 °C in September), the welcoming people and very refined seafood and local gastronomy create an atmosphere of well-being that goes beyond the natural beauty of the city’s coastline. Watch this short video about Natal.

montagem natal

Featured paper

A team of researchers from Brazil presented in NanoLetters a process that generates semiconductor nanowires of uncommon morphology, without defects, and promising for several applications. The secret of this fabrication route is to place heated catalyst nanoparticles on the substrate where the nanowires grow, and let them move spontaneously. Know more.

nanofios assimetricos

News from B-MRS members

  • Reginaldo Muccillo (IPEN), B-MRS member and former director, received the “Global Star Award” from ACerS. Know more.


Reading tips

  • Team with Brazilian participation uses simulations and 3D printing to manufacture schwarzites, designed in 1880, and to prove their excellent mechanical properties (Advanced Materials). Saiba mais.

  • Team with Brazilian participation takes new step for scale production of nanocomposites that attract and kill bacteria (Scientific Reports). Watch video.

  • Scientists manage to measure temperature in 2D materials, overcoming one of the impediments to their application (Physical Review Letters). Know more.

  • Inaugural edition of ACS Applied Nano Materials can be read at no cost. See here.


  • Subject proposal for PhD (with 3 years scholarship from French Ministry of Education) September 2018 – August 2021. Know more.


  • V Escola de Verão do Departamento de Física da PUC-Rio. Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). March 12 – 15, 2018. Site.

  • I Simpósio Brasileiro de Materiais e Pesquisas Relacionadas. Juiz de Fora, MG (Brazil). April 10 – 13, 2018. Site.

  • Primer Encuentro de Jóvenes Investigadores en Ciencias de Materiales. Montevideu (Uruguay). April 13 – 14, 2018. Site.

  • 6º Encontro Nacional de Engenharia Biomecânica (ENEBI 2018). Águas de Lindoia, SP (Brazil). May 8 – 11, 2018. Site.

  • 8th International Symposium on Natural Polymers and Composites. São Pedro, SP (Brazil). May 27 – 30, 2018. Site.

  • Photonic Colloidal Nanostructures: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications (PCNSPA 2018). Saint Petersburg (Russia). June 4 – 6, 2018. Site.

  • 7th International Congress on Ceramics (ICC7). Foz do Iguaçu, PR (Brazil). June 17 – 21, 2018. Site.

  • International Conference on Electronic Materials 2018 (IUMRS-ICEM). Daejeon (South Korea). August 19 – 24, 2018. Site.

  • Symposium “Nano-engineered coatings, surfaces and interfaces” no “XXVII International Materials Research Congress”. Cancun (Mexico). August 19 – 24, 2018. Site.

  • 16th International Conference on Molecule-based Magnets (ICMM2018). Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). September 1 – 5, 2018. Site.

  • XVII B-MRS Meeting. Natal, RN (Brazil). September 16 – 20, 2018. Site.

  • International Conference of Young Researchers on Advanced Materials (ICYRAM 2018). Adelaide (Australia). November 4 – 8, 2018. Site.

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You can suggest news, opportunities, events or reading tips in the Materials field to be covered by B-MRS Newsletter. Write to



B-MRS newsletter. Year 4, issue 4.


The newsletter of the Brazilian Materials Research Society News update from Brazil for the Materials community
English edition. Year 4, issue 4.

XVI B-MRS Meeting (Gramado, Brazil, September 10-14)

Abstract submission. The submission of abstracts for oral or poster was extended until May 19. Submit here.

Symposia.  See the 23 approved symposia, here.

Bernhard Gross Award.  Contributions submitted by authors who are undergraduate or graduate students can apply for the SBPMat award. To participate in the selection, the author must submit an extended abstract in addition to the conventional abstract. The deadline is August 14. Additional information in the instructions for authors, here.

Organization. Meet the organizing committee. Here.

Exhibitors. The event website shows the 18 companies that have already confirmed their participation. Companies interested in participating in the event with booths and other means of dissemination should contact Alexandre via this e-mail:   

Featured paper

A catalyst made from earth-abundant and metal-free materials enables efficient generation of  electricity through hydrazine fuel cells. The study was reported by an international scientific team in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. See our news story.

People from our community

We interviewed Angelo Fernando Padilha, professor at the Polytechnic School of USP.  Padilha graduated in the first group of Materials Engineering in Latin America (UFSCar) and continued his research career in Brazil and Germany. Since the 1970s he has worked in research, development and innovation in materials for nuclear reactors and in metals. He recently chaired the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN). He is the author of textbooks in the field of materials that are well known in the country. In the interview, Padilha, who belongs to SBPMat’s group of founders, spoke about the challenges of the nuclear segment for the materials area, besides speaking about his career and lefting a message for the young researchers. See the interview.

Victor C. Pandolfelli (UFSCar) received for the third time the ACerS award (United States) for the best paper on refractory ceramics. Learn more.

Marcelo Knobel (Unicamp) took office as president of Unicamp. Learn more.

Reading tips

  • New method of nanofabrication based on self-organized materials has potential for mass production of wires of less than 10 nm wide (based on paper from Nature Nanotechnology). Here.
  • Quantum dot transistor developed with Brazilian participation makes complex operations (sees, counts, remembers) without complementary memory (based on paper from Nano Letters). Here.
  • 1-D materials manufacturing method allows precise control of the morphology and composition of one-dimensional objects (based on the paper from Small). Here.
  • Video shows real-time imaging of the growth and self organization a carbon nanotube population. Here.
  • Report in the MRS Bulletin (USA) about cuts in science funding in Brazil, with statements from the president and members of B-MRS. Here.


  • 9th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies. Suntec (Singapore). June 18 – 23, 2017. Site. 
  • 10th International Conference on Nanophotonics (ICNP 2017). Recife, PE (Brazil). July 2 – 5 2017. Site.
  • 1ª Escola Brasileira de Síncrotron (EBS). Campinas, SP (Brazil). July 10 – 21 2017. Site.
  • XI Brazilian Symposium on Glass and Related Materials (XI Brazglass). Curitiba, PR (Brazil). July 13 – 16 2017. Site.
  • VIII Método Rietveld de Refinamento de Estrutura. Fortaleza, CE (Brazil). July 24 – 28, 2017. Site.
  • XXXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Aplicações de Vácuo na Indústria e na Ciência (CBRAVIC) + III Workshop de Tratamento e Modificação de Superfícies (WTMS). São José dos Campos (Brazil). August 21 – 25, 2017. Site.
  • IUMRS-ICAM 2017. Kyoto (Japan). August 27 – Setember 1, 2017. Site.
  • International Conference on Luminescence (ICL-2017).  João Pessoa (Brazil). August 27 – September 1, 2017. Site.
  • 23a Reunião da Associação Brasileira de Cristalografia. Vitória, ES (Brazil).  September 5 – 9 2017. Site.
  • XVI Encontro da SBPMat/ XVI B-MRS Meeting. Gramado (Brazil). September 10 – 14, 2017. Site.
  • 18th International Conference on Internal Friction and Mechanical Spectroscopy (ICIFMS-18). Foz do Iguaçu, PR (Brazil). September 12 – 15 2017. Site.
  • 2ª Conferência Nacional em Materiais Celulares (MatCel’2017) + Conferência Internacional em Dinâmica de Materiais Celulares (DynMatCel’2017). Aveiro (Portugal). September 25 – 27, 2017. Site. 
  • 1st Pan American Congress of Nanotechnology. Fundamentals and Applications to Shape the Future. Guarujá, SP (Brazil). November 7 – 30 2017. Site.

Submit your suggestion for any section of our newsletter:



Join SBPMat: message from the president.

Dear SBPMat members and materials researchers.

We are starting an early payment campaign for the 2017 annuity, with a special discount until March 31. The reason for this personal message is to emphasize the importance of SBPMat having a large and stable number of members.

We have all seen SBPMat’s tremendous progress, in which over these last 15 years it has already carried out international scientific meetings, bringing together students and scientists from Brazil, catalyzing international cooperation, in addition to many other initiatives.

The strength of our Society depends on the contribution of its members, fundamentally with its research performance and participation in our Annual Meetings, but also its effective membership. In any scientific society, membership is its greatest asset. In addition to collecting resources, to help run the society, a large membership helps attain sponsorships.

Our website highlights additional reasons for becoming a member or renewing membership annuity, as well as information on how to go about it.

Farewell and I hope to count on your support.

Osvaldo N. de Oliveira Jr.

SBPMAT President

New Year message.

In this message of New Year to the community of B-MRS/ SBPMat, in Brazil and abroad, my first words are of gratitude to all who contributed to the activities of B-MRS, especially at our Annual Meeting held in late September in Campinas. In spite of the difficulties that Brazil is experiencing, we had a significant number of participants, from all regions of the country and from many other countries. Particularly gratifying was observing the high scientific level of the Meeting, which is already a tradition of our Society, and the participation of large numbers of students. The vibrant performance of our young people is the guarantee of the continuity of quality research on materials.

It was also promising to follow the achievements and contributions of Brazilian researchers in diverse areas of materials research, many of them reported in our newsletters. It is a demonstration not only of the quality of our community, but also of its resilience to get through difficult times.

May I take the liberty of transmitting my personal wishes for a very successful 2017, looking forward to meeting the whole B-MRS community in Gramado, from September 10 to 14, for our next Meeting.

Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Junior

B-MRS President

Call for symposia proposals for the XVI B-MRS Meeting is open.

Proposals of thematic symposia for the XVI B-MRS Meeting can be submitted to the Brazilian Materials Research Society (B-MRS) until January, 31. This year, the annual event of the B-MRS will be held from September 10 to 14, 2017 in the charming city of Gramado (state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), in the FAURGS convention center.

Anyone with a doctoral degree, performing research in Brazil or abroad can submit a symposium proposal on a subject related to Materials Science and Technology. Proposals must be filled in online at Title, scope and topics of the symposium, data about the organizers and preliminary list of invited speakers are required. The proposals will be evaluated by the B-MRS event committee and by the organizers of the meeting, and then submitted to the executive board of the society.

The B-MRS annual meeting is an interdisciplinary and international event dedicated to the presentation and discussion, in English, of scientific and technological advances achieved in the field of materials. In the last editions, the meeting has gathered about 2,000 participants from various points in Brazil and dozens of other countries.

Thematic symposia are axes of B-MRS meetings program. At the 2016 meeting, held in the city of Campinas, more than 2,000 papers were presented at 22 symposia, covering the discovery, fabrication, characterization and applications of various types of materials, such as nanostructured materials, biomaterials, electronic organic materials, electroceramics and nanocellulose, among many others.

The site of the event will be released and announced soon.

B-MRS newsletter. Year 3, issue 11.


Brazilian Materials Research Society (SBPMat) newsletter

News update from Brazil for the Materials community

English edition. Year 3, issue 11. 

SBPMat (B-MRS) news

XVI B-MRS Meeting/ XVI Encontro da SBPMat

City: Gramado (state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil).

Final date: 10-14 September 2017 (not 24-28 as previously reported).

Call for symposia proposals: Researchers with a doctorate degree associated to institutions in Brazil or abroad can submit symposia proposals on any topic related to Materials Science and Technology. The call is open until January 31, 2017. Submission must be done through the online form

B-MRS – E-MRS agreement. B-MRS members can have symposium-related participation and organization support at events of the European society. More information here.
B-MRS at events in Asia. The president of B-MRS represented the society at two events in the area of Materials in China. Here he explains the relationship of the Brazilian society with the Asian societies and comments on the event that brought together leaders to discuss the subject of materials for sustainable development, focusing on construction materials, ocean engineering, batteries, among other topics. More information here.
Featured paper

In an article published in Scientific Reports (Nature), a group of researchers from institutions in the Brazilian state of Paraná reports the synthesis, processing, characterization and applications of films of graphene/nickel hydroxide nanocomposites. The team presents an innovative manufacturing method and shows that the nanocomposite outperforms pure nickel hydroxide in batteries, sensors and electrochromism. See our story about the paper. 

People from the community 
We interviewed the Argentine scientist Galo Soler Illia, who is one of the most cited and awarded researchers in his country, in addition to perhaps being the most famous reference in Nanotechnology among journalists and lay public. Soler Illia made significant contributions to understanding the formation mechanism of (nano) particles and to the synthesis of materials with highly controlled porosity, among other subjects. Currently, in addition to teaching at UBA and being a researcher at CONICET, Soler Illia oversees a nanotechnology research and development institute and is an advisor to the Presidency of Argentina and several institutions in Argentina and Brazil. Learn more about this Argentine scientist and his intensive interaction with Brazil.
Professor Elvira Fortunato, from the University of New Lisbon (Portugal), received the Blaise Pascal 2016 Medal in the Materials Science category on November 19 in Brussels (Belgium). The award of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC), was bestowed on Professor Fortunato in recognition of “the outstanding originality and creativity of her research in the field”, in which she made contributions such as the invention of the paper transistor and developments in transparent electronics. Established in 2003, the prize had never before been awarded to Portuguese scientists. Elvira Fortunato, who has a close relationship with the Brazilian Materials community, delivered a plenary lecture at the SBPMat Meeting (B-MRS Meeting) this year. 
History of materials research in Brazil 

In December of this year, Brazil’s first laboratory dedicated to the study of vitreous materials celebrates its 40th year, very satisfied with its achievements. In addition to generating a scientific production of impact, the laboratory was instrumental in the dissemination of glass science, technology and engineering in the country, while creating an international research environment in the city of São Carlos. Find out which laboratory we are talking about and learn about its history and its results.

Reading tips
  • System based on conductive polymer expands possibilities to study cells and their interaction with the environment (based on paper of Advanced Functional Materials). Here. 
  • Atomic scale defects in diamond measure magnetic fields with nano resolution, even at very low temperatures (based on paper of Nature Nanotechnology). Here. 
  • Study details how hydrogenation occurs in few layers of graphene and the interesting properties it generates (based on paper of the Journal of the American Chemical Society). Here.
  • Post-doc fellowship at IPEN (São Paulo, Brazil) for research on hydrogen production. Here. 
  • IV Curso Teórico-Prático de Microscopia Eletrônica de Varredura. Araraquara, SP (Brazil). January 30 – February 3, 2017. Site. 
  • II Escola de Verão: Desenvolvimento de Fármacos e Medicamentos. Porto Alegre, RS (Brazil). February 13 – 17, 2017. Site.
  • 9th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies. Suntec (Singapore). June 18 – 23, 2017. Site. 
  • XXXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Aplicações de Vácuo na Indústria e na Ciência (CBRAVIC) + III Workshop de Tratamento e Modificação de Superfícies (WTMS). São José dos Campos, SP (Brazil). August 21-25, 2017. Facebook.
  • XVI B-MRS Meeting/ XVI Encontro da SBPMat. Gramado, RS (Brazil). September, 10 – 14, 2017. Call for symposia proposals.

People from the community: interview with the Argentinean scientist Galo Soler Illia.

Galo Soler Illia.
Galo Soler Illia.

How many scientific vocations were aroused, and how many domestic accidents were caused, by experimental chemistry games for children (which until some time ago did not follow all the toy safety standards)? The Argentine scientist Galo Juan de Ávila Arturo Soler Illia belongs to this group. He remembers that his interest in science lit up (literally) with a small fire caused by a chemistry lab set in his parents’ home –  two lawyers, members of the Radical Civic Union, that was also the party of Galo Soler Illia’s grandfather, President Arturo Umberto Illia, who ruled Argentina from 1963 to 1966, until undergoing a coup.

Today, Galo Soler Illia can be considered one of the best known researchers in the Brazil´s neighboring country, both in the scientific community (he is among the 30 Argentine scientists best positioned in Google Scholar for the citations to his works, and has also received the top national science awards) and among the lay public (in the field of Nanotechnology, he is a very active and didactic presenter in all the media, and is usually an information source for Argentine journalists).

Galo Soler Illia was born in Buenos Aires on May 31, 1970. He completed his primary studies in a private constructivist school, Bayard College. In 1983, he enrolled in the National School of Buenos Aires, a public institution dependent on the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), which among other things was characterized by a high study demand, a wealth of extracurricular activities and better-quality infrastructure than other public schools. In 1988, he graduated from the college with a specialization in Sciences. Both in primary and secondary education he had the opportunity to carry out activities in science labs.

In 1989, Soler Illia began to study in a Chemistry Sciences course at UBA. During the undergraduate course, he began teaching in the Department of Physical, Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry of UBA and doing research in a group of Materials Chemistry and also in a laboratory set up in the house of a friend. In 1993, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, with a grade point average of 9.13 / 10.

From 1994 to 1998, Soler Illia completed his doctorate in Chemistry, also at UBA, under the guidance of Professor Miguel Angel Blesa. Through research on nanoparticles of mixed metal hydroxides, he generated knowledge about the complex mechanism of particle formation, which would be very useful in his research as a postdoc and as a professional researcher, focused on the synthesis of materials with high control of their characteristics. Concomitantly to the doctorate, he continued to teach, as an assistant, at UBA.

In 1999, he moved to France, together with his wife Astrid Grotewold, also a chemist, and remained there until 2002. Soler Illia did postdoctoral studies at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris), under the supervision of Dr. Clément Sanchez, with a 2-year scholarship from CONICET, the main Argentine entity in support of science and technology. In the post-doc, Soler Illia developed methods to produce highly controlled porosity materials. This period resulted in Soler Illia’s most cited articles so far, with more than 1,800 citations in one of the papers, according to Google Scholar. At the end of his stay in France, Soler Illia also worked on applications of mesoporous thin films for the research and development center of the company Saint Gobain.

Galo Soler Illia returned to Argentina in early 2003, at a time when the country was ending great political instability, which caused the Presidency of the Republic to appoint 5 different people in just 11 days. In addition, the country was still under the effects of the severe economic crisis that had reached its peak in 2001. However, Soler Illia was quickly able to enter the research career at CONICET, working at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and without wasting time, founded the Chemistry Group of Nanomaterials, which to date operates in the design and development of nanostructured materials. In 2004, the scientist became a professor of UBA in the department where he studied for his bachelor’s degree and doctorate.

In early 2015, Illia became director of the Institute of Nanosystems (INS) of the National University of San Martín, located in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. The INS is defined as a space for nanoscience and nanotechnology research, development and creation, whose ultimate goal is to solve priority problems of industry and society in general. At the institute, Soler Illia has a multidisciplinary scientific team of 4 researchers (4 more in 2017), 6 graduate and post-doc students and 1 laboratory technician, and also a management team of 6 professionals.

Currently, in addition to being director of INS, Galo Soler Illia is principal researcher of CONICET and associate professor at UBA. He is a member of advisory boards at the Argentinean Nanotechnology Foundation (FAN) and at the Brazilian National Synchrotron Light Laboratory, and also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology (Springer). Moreover, Soler Illia has a scientific dissemination column on Nanotechnology  in a television broadcast program called “Scientists Made in Argentina”, which airs once a week on the Argentine public channel. Finally, Soler Illia has just been appointed (November of this year) as member of the Argentine Presidential Council 2030, composed of intellectuals from various fields to advise the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri.

Soler Illia, whose h-index is 44, has produced over 120 papers published in international scientific journals, with about 11,000 citations, according to Google Scholar. He has supervised 7 completed PhD theses and is the author of 2 dissemination books on nanotechnology. He is also the author of 4 patent applications.

His work was recognized with a series of awards for science, technology, innovation and scientific popularization, among them the main Argentinean awards, like Houssay Award (2006 and 2009), from the Secretary and later Ministry of Science and Technology; the KONEX Award (2013) from the eponymous foundation and the Innovar Award (2011 and 2016) from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation. He also received distinctions from the National Academy of Exact Sciences, FAN, Argentinean Association of Physicochemical Research, CONICET, BGH and Dupont companies, among others. In May of this year, Galo Soler Illia was appointed titular scholar of the Argentinean National Academy of Exact Sciences, Physics and Natural Sciences, a select group of only 36 scientists.

Here’s an interview with the Argentine scientist.

SBPMat newsletter: Tell us why you became a scientist and work in the field of materials.

Galo Soler Illia: I always liked Chemistry. This started when I received a chemistry game, I was five years old, and while experimenting with it I burned my parent`s dinner table. Later, during my high school studies I was a bit of a nerd, writing software code for physics classes at my school. Writing code aroused my curiosity to know how things worked and how problems could be solved. I learned a lot. Near the end of secondary education, I decided to study Chemistry because I believed it was a very versatile and wonderful course that had great possibilities in many fields. At that time, I was really interested in Biotechnology, which was a new area. At the time I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), the area of Materials Chemistry had began to emerge. Still a student, I began teaching as an assistant in the Department of Inorganic, Analytical Chemistry and Physical Chemistry of the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, inspired by the example of young and enthusiastic teachers who were returning from abroad and who propagated an atmosphere of work and demand. Together with my best friends, we set up a laboratory on the terrace of one of my friend’s home. There we grew crystals and planned molecule synthesis. Since we spent all day at university and had some spare time, I found a place to work, without a salary or scholarship, in a Materials Chemistry group that had just begun. Everything was very fast, and before I noticed it I had finished my undergraduate studies and began my doctorate, manufacturing microparticles for catalysts. It was a beautiful time of my life, a time from which I still retain my innate curiosity, my willingness to explore and build materials and a wonderful group of friends, who have become outstanding colleagues now spread out throughout the world.

SBPMat newsletter: In your opinion, what are your main contributions to the Materials area, considering all aspects of your scientific activity?

Galo Soler Illia: I have always been interested in building materials, in the chemist’s task to join atom with atom, to manufacture new architectures. I focused on understanding the physicochemical phenomena that take place during the production of a material. When you know and understand these processes, you go from simply “preparing” a material to being able to design it and synthesize it, however complex it may be. And we can take advantage of the properties of the chemical elements to obtain the properties we desire. I’ll give three examples. In my thesis, I studied the precipitation and aggregation of nanoparticles of mixed metal hydroxides, precursors of catalysts. We discovered a very interesting world and were able to contribute to understanding the complexity behind a dynamic particle formation mechanism: the effects of particle shape and structure, the importance of metals coordination in the formation of a mixed phase, the evolution of surface charge and its effect on the stability of a colloid and much more, which helped me in the future as a solid basis for my research. I was fortunate to be able to work with Miguel Blesa, Alberto Regazzoni and Roberto Candal, three excellent Masters who guided me, stimulated and corrected me.

In my second phase, I worked in Paris in the laboratory of Clément Sanchez. I used what I had learned in order to develop methods to produce highly controlled porosity materials, known as organized mesoporous materials. Again, I became interested in the materials formation mechanisms, which are complex because they require controlling the growth of small inorganic species and their self-assembling with micelles. It is a small physical-chemical symphony, which one must learn to play. We had to use, develop and combine many characterization techniques to understand the phenomena taking place and how they controlled the formation and organization of pore systems, the stability and crystallinity of materials, which among others are important variables in the final performance of these solids.

In my third phase, back in Argentina, I set up a research group at the National Atomic Energy Commission in Buenos Aires, and devoted myself to building more complex architectures based on everything I had learned. My best contributions in this regard refer to the use of forces and interactions at the nanoscale to manufacture many different nanocomposites with designed and surprising optical and catalytic properties. All this required new laboratories, training human resources and the transfer of basic science to technologies. Particularly, over the last years we have worked with companies and aspire to generate nanotechnology in Argentina, extending the knowledge of our laboratory to society.

SBPMat newsletter: Briefly tell us about your interaction with Brazil. Do you come here often for collaborations, events, use of labs, seminars? Have you worked with Brazilian groups or in Brazilian laboratories?

Galo Soler Illia: I returned to Argentina in 2003 and I knew right away about what was being developed in Brazil. Since that time, I began developing projects at the National Laboratory of Synchrotron Light (LNLS), which is a beacon for all those who work in Materials in Latin America. The interaction with the synchrotron staff was very important for us to be able to characterize our materials, and we are amazed to see how the installations have improved over the years. A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Sirius building, which is simply stunning and which will be a world reference. I also had the opportunity to visit several universities, teaching courses and collaborating in the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Furthermore, we created the School of Materials Synthesis in Buenos Aires, which will have its eighth edition in 2017. This school was designed to generate a community of Latin American scientists qualified with skills in the rational synthesis of materials. We started with many Brazilian students, thanks to the support of the Argentinean-Brazilian Nanotechnology Society, which unfortunately has stopped working. It is truly beautiful to see how students from both countries work together in the laboratories and discuss and present their work in “portunhol” [hybrid mixture of Spanish-Portuguese]. From this school, and with the help of several colleagues, collaborative networks are emerging that will undoubtedly provide us with the technological base for larger joint ventures. I travel to Brazil several times a year and always admire the strength of the country to boost local technological development. I hope that after these difficult times, we may continue growing together.

SBPMat newsletter: We always ask the guest being interviewed in this section to leave a message for the readers who are beginning their scientific careers. What would you say to these junior scientists?

Galo Soler Illia: Looking back, I have three recommendations to young scientists. One is to never lose your imagination and your ability to ask questions; the second is to work hard to find the answers, and the third is to make use of the surprises. Sometimes, we train to develop a path and a strategy and we focus on the rigor to demonstrate and formalize what we find. However, it is crucial to know that this path is full of interesting nooks and turns, and sometimes an aspect we hadn’t taken into account opens up a new and unexplored landscape. Newton said that we, scientists, are sometimes like children on the beach, we find a shell that is prettier than the others and we are happy, but there lies before us the vast ocean of truth. My advice is to continually seek our shells, enjoy them and let us come within reach of understanding the wonders of our universe. And always keep in mind that developing science in our continent is a beautiful challenge that will add richness to our countries and well-being to our brothers.