Since this is Laboratory Equipment’s first issue of the year, let me be the last to wish you a happy and healthy new year.
A new year means different things to
different people—be it a new job, a location change, or just a clean slate. Here at
Laboratory Equipment, there are a few reasons we get excited for the new year, none
more so perhaps than the annual Pittsburgh
Conference on Analytical Chemistry and
Applied Spectroscopy, or Pittcon for short.
Held annually at the beginning of March,
Pittcon is the world’s leading annual conference and exposition on laboratory science.
Featuring almost 15,000 attendees from
more than 90 countries worldwide, there’s
no better place to get a glimpse of the
newest tools, technologies and innovations.
Pittcon sets the tone for the lab industry for
the next 365 days.
This year, the conference will be held
Feb. 26 through March 1 at the Orange
County Convention Center in Orlando.
Stefen Hell, 2014 Nobel Laureate, will kick
off the lecture series with his plenary lecture
titled “Optical Microscopy: The Resolution
Revolution,” on Tuesday, February 27 at
Hell was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize
in Chemistry for shattering the presumed
diffraction limit of light microscopy. But, he
didn’t stop there. Hell’s latest breakthrough,
which sets the ultimate limit of 1 nanometer
in fluorescent nanoscopy, is detailed in this
month’s cover story, starting on page 8.
Given his tenure and position in the industry, when I spoke to Hell a few weeks
ago, I asked him what advice he has for
young researchers in the field—Pittcon is an
educational conference after all.
“Most importantly, ask yourself periodically if what you are doing is sufficiently
different from what 10 or more other
people around the world are doing at the
time,” Hell told me. “It is more likely you
will change the field if you work on something unique and/or you come at a question
from an entirely different perspective. Also,
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For subscription related matters:
don’t get confused by the politics, but see
the concepts for what they truly are. And,
whatever you do, always remember: Aim
high, stay grounded.”
Also featured in the cover story are two
researchers who will be giving oral sessions
at Pittcon—Alexis Vallée-Bélisle and Sam
Rasmussen Nugen. Like Hell, both scientists
work within the nanotechnology industry.
In fact, nanotechnology seems to be a buzz-
word lately, as evidenced by Pittcon’s 2018
When I speak to researchers in that field,
the overriding feeling is that there is just so
much untapped potential in the industry—
be it nanomedicine, nanomaterials, nano-electronics, etc.
While nanotechnology is nowhere near a
new concept, it has benefited in the last few
years from an increase in multidisciplinary
In my conversations with Vallée-Bélisle
and Nugen, both scientists pointed out the
importance of working with a multidisciplinary team. Due to the nature of his work,
Vallée-Bélisle must rely on engineers to
help develop his nanomachines, while also
teaming with clinicians to make sure he is
exploring clinically relevant research.
Nugen’s lab at Cornell University has
engineers, microbiologists, synthetic biologists and chemists, all working and learning
from one another. The structure of his lab
is one of the reasons Nugen enjoys Pittcon
“Pittcon is so multi-disciplinary,” he said.
“I come from a food science background.
For me, knowing what is going on in the
other fields, like medical and environmental,
is very helpful since we all need to be on
the same page with new technologies to be
able to utilize them in our respective fields.
Going to something multidisciplinary gives
you new perspectives.”