Date for the diary: BLCS Annual Training Workshop: January 7-8, 2021 online

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The next workshop in the British Liquid Crystal Society (BLCS) Annual Training Workshops series will be held on an online platform on 7-8 January 2021.
The two-day event will include a mixture of “live” and pre-recorded lectures, discussion hours and modelling training sessions, and a mini-symposium. The workshop is intended for early-stage researchers (primarily PhD students, but also post-doctoral research associates and researchers in industry, relatively new to the field of liquid-crystal research, irrespective of their academic disciplines). The workshop when held in traditional setup can offer only limited number of places.

For further details and to register your interest please download this Expression of Interest form. Note the extended deadline for expressions of interest is 16th December 2020.

The final programme will be made available here in due course. The list of speakers confirmed so far is as follows:

  • Dr Dwaipayan Chakrabarti
  • Prof. Cliff Jones
  • Prof. Apala Majumdar
  • Prof. Georg Mehl
  • Prof. Nigel Mottram
  • Dr Mamatha Nagaraj
  • Prof. Jon Preece
  • Prof. Ivan Smalyukh
  • Prof. Gordon Tiddy
  • Prof. Mark R. Wilson
  • Prof. Julia Yeomans
  • Prof. Marjolein Dijkstra

The 2021 call for BLCS Prizes and Medals

We are delighted to announce the opening of the 2021 call for BLCS Prizes and Medals. The British Liquid Crystal Society is calling for nominations for the below listed society awards. All nominations must be sent to the Secretary (contact details and advert can be view here) by the deadline of Wednesday 20th January 2021. Society awards:

  • G.W. Gray Medal
  • C. Hilsum Medal
  • BLCS Young Scientist Prize
Please see the advert and the BLCS website for full rules on each award here.

Congratulations to Professor Apala Majumdar who wins a Suffrage Science award for Mathematics

Prof Apala Majumda

Prof Apala Majumda

We are very pleased to learn that Professor Apala Majumdar has won a Suffrage Science Award for 2020 Maths and Computing. Dr Nina Snaith, University of Bristol, on her nomination of Professor Apala Majumdar, University of Strathclyde said: “Apala does outstanding research in liquid crystals and partially ordered materials. She stands out because of the vast array of collaborations she maintains, from pure mathematicians to projects with industry. Her absolute dedication to mathematics has led to a brilliant and prolific output of interdisciplinary work.” For the full story please follow this link to the EurekAlert news release.

BLCS Student Hardship Fund

The BLCS Student Hardship Fund aims to support PhD students near the end of their studies whose project has been delayed by Covid-19 and who have run out or are about to run out of funding. The fund is to be considered as a last resort, to be used if no other funding support, e.g. from research councils, is available. The fund is time limited. Applications will not be possible after the end of October 2021, but the fund may be extended should the need arise.

For full details of eligibility and application process, please read the following linked document: HardshipFund-201029.

Professor Roy Sambles awarded knighthood in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Prof Roy Sambles

Prof Roy Sambles

We were delighted to learn that Professor Roy Sambles FRS, former Chair of BLCS during 2000-2004 period, and winner of the George Gray Medal in 1998, has received a knighthood in the October 2020 Birthday Honours List for his services to Scientific Research and Outreach.  Roy and his many scientific achievements are of course very well known throughout the BLCS community.  Many congratulations, Sir Roy!

Welcome to Nigel Mottram and thank you to Georg Mehl

Prof Georg Mehl

Prof Georg Mehl

The BLCS will be under slightly new management. After four years at the helm of the BLCS, Georg Mehl is handing over to Nigel Mottram. Georg’s calm and organized way has made sure that the BLCS has stayed one of the important scientific research societies in the UK. We would like to express our gratitude to Georg. He may have now some time off, but we are sure that we can lure him back onto the BLCS committee. 

Prof Nigel Mottram

Prof Nigel Mottram

Nigel, the new kid on the block (not really) has grown up in the BLCS. We, the elders, have seen him developing from an eager PhD to a successful researcher. It will be a pleasure to see what new ideas he will bring to our society. Let’s hope that we all meet each other in person in Aberdeen next year and can celebrate Georg and Nigel with a glass of champagne.   


The 2020 BLCS Medal Winners

We are living in extraordinary times. Life, as we know it, has stopped and we have entered a new area, which requires new modes of thinking, behaving and communicating. As scientists, we are used to it. How could research be anything else but permanent change and adapting to new situations?

This year we will change how the medal winners are announced. Traditionally the winners have been announced at the BLCS conference. It was never a big surprise, more an open secret. A look at the conference program was enough to see who won.  Under the present circumstances we have decided to break with the tradition and disclose the list of recipients before the conference since a new date for it is not yet decided and we do not want the cliff hanger to go on for too long.

The winners  of 2020 BLCS prize winners are

Gray medal: 

Prof. Ewa Gorecka, University of Warsaw, Poland



Hilsum medal:

Prof. Apala Majumdar, University of Strathclyde

Young Scientist Award:

Dr. Rebecca Walker, University of Aberdeen

All recipients will receive the medals at the upcoming conference. They cannot escape the warm handshake, the party and the talks. These are our ‘Oscars’ and we need the ‘thank you’ speeches and the glamour of the conference dinner. Let’s hope that we will not wait for too long for that.

Keep well and keep thinking outside the box.

Coronavirus postpones and the 2020 BLCS annual conference

Due to the continued spread of covid-19, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 BLCS meeting, due to be held 6-8th April in Aberdeen.

Seeing that many universities across the Europe and the US have closed/switched to online classes, coupled with an increasing number of UK universities – including the University of Aberdeen – advising against (inter)national travel, we think we would see our numbers suffer/not get the best of the conference and, more importantly, we don’t want to risk our delegates, especially our international visitors.

We would like to emphasise that this is at this time a postponement rather than a cancellation – we will see how the covid-19 situation progresses over the summer months, and in the best case scenario, we would propose holding the meeting in early September instead. Of course, this is dependent on the global situation improving.

More information to follow. Please get in touch at if you have any urgent questions or concerns.

We apologise for the inconveniences this may cause, and thank you in advance for your understanding.

Calls for nominations to the steering committee

At the next BLCS annual meeting in Aberdeen 2020 we are looking for nominations for a Vice-Chair position (4 year appointment) and a student representatives (2 year appointment) onto the steering committee.

Nominations for committee must be sent to the Secretary by 19th March 2020. Both nominees and nominators MUST be members of the Society and the express permission of the nominee must be obtained. Nomination forms are on the last page of this letter and can also be downloaded from here.

I would encourage you all members to consider nominating for his role in the community. For further details and current committee members you can view the Information Pages or the call original call here.

New Design for Gray and Hilsum Medal

In approximately a year we will have to purchase a new batch of Gray and Hilsum medals.  This seems a good opportunity to reflect on how we wish to honour our colleagues for their distinguished work in liquid crystal research (see Gray Medal and Hilsum Medal for details of the two awards).   The current award consists of a silver plated medal.  Liquid crystals are objects of extraordinary beauty and we were wondering whether we could honour our prize winners by offering them an artefact that reflected their multi-coloured and multi-form nature, instead of a medal.  We do not have any particular object in mind, it could be a glass sculpture, a flat surface, e.g. painting or enamel, or something else entirely.

  • When designing the object, please keep in mind that it has to be reproduceable, i.e. think about how that should be done.
  • The artefact should still be roughly the size of a medal, therefore not bigger than 10 cm in diameter, and not be much higher than 5 cm.
  • Ideally we should be able to add the name of the recipient easily.
  • If possible give an estimate about the production cost.

The design will be exhibited at the BLCS conference in Aberdeen and during the private view (drinks will be involved) everyone can vote for a design.

Get creative!

Susanne and Giampaolo.