The British Liquid Crystal Society Conference 2022

In April 2022 the Centre for Print Research (CFPR) hosted the British Liquid Crystal Society (BLCS) Conference, led by Dr Susanne Klein. The former Hewlett Packard building at UWE’s Frenchay Campus saw a buzz of activity as the annual conference was about to commence.

BLCS 2022 group photo

The conference functioned as a platform for early career researchers to show their work and share knowledge with established researchers in the field. With covid-19 making the last two years feel stagnant, the main aim of this year’s conference was to think outside the box and present innovative and unusual approaches to liquid crystals and their use in industry.

After refreshments, the participants set up their presentations and posters. The poster sessions gave the opportunity for PhD students to explain their research and show the different directions liquid crystals can go: from developing specialised dyes, to inhibiting antibiotics.

The conference began with a presentation by Joseph Cousins, the winner of the BLCS Young Scientists award. He presented his PhD work concerning modelling liquid crystal flows in industrial processes. This was followed by short presentations. The attendants had their first taste of the in-person conference, preparing them for the next day.

Day two started with a Grey Medal Talk by Professor Claudio Zannoni from the University of Bologna, for his work on simulating liquid crystalline materials.

Grey Medal Talk by Professor Claudio Zannoni

The attendants then had the opportunity to examine the posters presented. At the end of the conference, the best poster out of a total of 11 was chosen and given a prize in Memory of Marc Warner, who passed away in 2021. After much deliberation, the award was given to Iman Zulkhairi, Noor Zahra and Ivan Dominguez-Candela, from the University of Aberdeen.

By the end of the second day, it was time for the conference dinner and speeches reflecting on the history of the BLCS, as well as reminiscing on fond memories. These were given by Professor Claudio Zannoni, Professor Helen Gleeson, and Dr Susanne Klein. The atmosphere was pleasantly relaxed, with chatter flowing between scientists from different backgrounds, fuelled by cheese and prosecco.

The third and last day of the event included a Sturgeon lecture by Professor Helen Gleeson from the University of Leeds. The title of the lecture ‘Outside the Box’ reflected the creative uses of liquid crystals presented at the conference. Focusing on the history and possible future of the industry, it seemed an inspirational way to end the conference.

Sturgeon lecture by Professor Helen Gleeson

As one of the participants could not attend, the Centre’s staff Harrie Fuller and Elizabete Kozlovska gave a talk which was truly outside the box – the subject being re-producing Vivex colour photographs by Madame Yevonde by various photomechanical means. Whilst the subject did not comply with the topic of the conference, it seemed to be a refreshing interlude. Following the talk, various ideas were exchanged between the liquid crystal community, showing the active interest in interdisciplinary research applications. The talk won a last-minute prize for the unique presentation.

Professor Helen Gleeson with a photographic image by Dr Susanne Klein

Prizes given to successful speakers and poster presenters included original screen-printed artwork by CFPR’s Harrie Fuller, as well as photographic 3-colour process images by Susanne Klein.

Everyone left with smiles on their faces, thanking the team for organising a successful event.

Find out more about the conference agenda and download the book of abstracts.

Article by Elizabete Kozlovska.

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