The American Chemical Society (ACS) Colloid & Surface Science Symposium (CSSS) is an annual 3-day national and international conference that brings together approximately 500-700 interdisciplinary researchers from academia and industry in the US and across the globe. They convene to discuss the latest topics in their common interest in particles and complex fluids, interfacial phenomena and chemistry, biomaterials, soft matter science, and environmental sustainability. The 97th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium was held at the NC State McKimmon Center between June 4-7, 2023 (www.colloids2023.org). NC State Professors Lilian Hsiao and Orlin Velev from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are the local organizers for the meeting. This Symposium is one of the longest-standing and most recognized in the areas of colloid and interfacial sciences.
The first Symposium started in 1923 and has been built around the work of Theodor Svedberg, Nobel laureate who was recognized for work on colloids and proteins using the ultracentrifuge. This Symposium has provided the impetus for the ACS to create the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry (COLL) in 1926. The meeting at NC State University was organized into 13 sessions and a poster session that covered most areas of colloid and surface science, and include topics that are of special relevance to industry in the area. Modern and emerging topics, such as machine learning and AI in colloids, were included to draw in new researchers who are working in this important area. The meeting engaged students in science and engineering from several perspectives and the influx of 500+ attendees boosted the visibility for NC State University and Raleigh.
The Army Research Office provided a substantial amount of funding for the conference and program managers attended. An industry-led session named “Connecting the Dots – from Startup to Corporate Level”, featured representatives from a number of chemical and pharmaceutical companies invited to speak on a variety of topics such as translation of basic science to industry, differences between academic and industry R&D, and career tracks in different business sectors. Plenary lectures from worldwide leaders in engineering provided a broad forum for visibility of NC State, and the State of North Carolina. KIETS support for this program was leveraged with support from the College of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the NC State Provost Office, Army Research Office, Eastman Chemical, National Science Foundation, Unilever, Dow, Langmuir, and the American Chemical Society.