KAUST Ph.D. student wins Royal Society of Chemistry poster prize

Ph.D. student Zhijie Chen won the Faraday Division Poster Prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s "New Directions in Porous Crystalline Materials" Faraday Discussion in late 2017. Photo by Meres J. Weche.

-By David Murphy, KAUST News

KAUST Ph.D. student Zhijie Chen won the Faraday Division Poster Prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) "New Directions in Porous Crystalline Materials" Faraday Discussion, which was held on June 5 to 7, 2017, in Edinburgh, U.K. The aim of the "New Directions in Porous Crystalline Materials" Faraday Discussion was to develop a fundamental understanding of the key aspects of the chemistry of porous crystalline materials, including chemical properties, electronic properties and physical properties.

The RCS Faraday Division has been organizing high-impact Faraday Discussions in the area of physical chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines for over 100 years. The Faraday Discussions are named after the famous British scientist Michael Faraday.

Chen, who is a member of Professor Mohamed Eddaoudi's FMD3 research group, based in the University's Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center, said he was honored to receive the award. His winning poster was entitled "Applying the Power of Reticular Chemistry to Finding the Missing alb-MOF Platform Based on the (6, 12)-Coordinated Edge-Transitive Net." Chen's poster was based on a research paper, which was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"I am really happy to win this prize. I would like to thank my adviser for giving me such a good opportunity. The 'New Directions in Porous Crystalline Materials' Faraday Discussion was a unique meeting. Each oral presenter had five minutes to show the work, which was then followed by 15 minutes of questions. Some of the questions were really tough to answer. This meeting opened my mind and was unforgettable," he noted.

Journey to KAUST

Prior to joining KAUST in August 2012, Chen completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Shanghai, China, where he received a B.S. in chemistry. Chen's current research is focusing on the reticular synthesis of metal-organic frameworks, an emerging class of crystalline porous materials, and their potential applications in gas storage and separation.

After his time in China, he chose to pursue his graduate studies at KAUST because of two main reasons: "Number one, my adviser, Professor Mohamed Eddaoudi, is a famous chemist," he said. "I have learned a lot about advanced technology from him and I have acquired the ability to carry out scientific investigations to a high standard in his research group. Number two, on a personal note, I like to explore mysterious and unknown places, and they are many attractive cultural sites in this region."

'An amazing place'

Chen, who will graduate from KAUST in April, describes his time at the University as extremely enjoyable. He also praised the University as a place where research can flourish and ideas are openly encouraged.

"I really enjoy my graduate studies at KAUST. The accessible facilities enable research to proceed smoothly and there is no limit to a good idea. Moreover, people are helpful and it's very easy to find get in touch and collaborate with your peers. KAUST is an impressive and amazing place with its own multicultural identity," Chen said.

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