PITTSBURGH – Despite challenges ranging from limitations on business travel to H1N1 concerns, the annual Materials Science and Technology Conference & Exposition (MS&T ’09) in Pittsburgh, October 25 to 29, provided a unique and well-attended forum for the exchange of ideas.

MS&T is the leading international event addressing structure, properties, processing and performance across the materials community. Sponsored by American Ceramic Society (ACerS), Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST), ASM International, and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), MS&T drew attendees from more than 70 countries.

The opening session, "Powering the Future," attracted 900 participants to a keynote program focused on energy policies, new technologies and funding opportunities related to materials. Dr. Jeff Wadsworth, chief executive officer and president of Battelle Memorial Institute, described the role of materials professionals in "Forging the Solution to the Energy Challenge." Battelle, the world’s largest nonprofit R&D organization, executes $5B of work annually and employs 21,000 people. Dr. Steven Koonin, undersecretary for science, U.S. Department of Energy, delivered the second keynote address. Prior to being nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as undersecretary, Koonin was chief scientist for BP, the second-largest independent oil company in the world.

To cover various perspectives on the necessary materials advances for batteries, solar, wind, and nuclear power, Dr. Alton D. Romig Jr., deputy laboratories director, chief operating officer, Sandia National Laboratories, moderated a keynote forum comprised of Yet-Ming Chiang, Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gregory J. Hildeman, vice president of engineering, Solar Power Industries; and John Marra, associate laboratory director, Savannah River National Laboratory.

A total of more than 1900 abstracts were received by MS&T organizers, keeping pace with the high water mark of previous MS&T events. Attendees also benefited from the information provided by exhibiting companies and organizations at the MS&T Exposition, which was held adjacent to the conference sessions at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

More than 700 high school students were part of MS&T ’09 thanks to the efforts of the Material Advantage Joint Student Member Program. In addition, hundreds of high school students enjoyed learning about materials at a Mini-Materials Camp founded and organized by local materials scientists and engineers.

MS&T 2010 will be held October 17 to 21, 2010, in Houston. The MS&T partnership of leading materials societies – ACerS, AIST, AMS and TMS – brings together scientists, engineers, students, suppliers and other industry professionals to discuss current research and applications, and to shape the future of materials science and technology. Since corrosion has become a very relevant topic to materials, NACE International will co-sponsor MS&T’10. For more information, visitwww.matscitech.org .