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2023 IFoRE Conference Celebrates Research Excellence and Ethics in Long Beach

November 21, 2023


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Media Contact: 
Jason Papagan
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society 


Over 500 professional and student researchers from across the scientific landscape gathered together November 9–12 for the 2023 International Forum on Research Excellence (IFoRE) in Long Beach, California. IFoRE '23 was held at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and the Long Beach Convention Center. The conference theme of "Visions of Ethical Research" was discussed in keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops.

The event began on Thursday, November 9 with a business meeting for delegates, who represented Sigma Xi chapters and the Membership-at-Large constituency. The 137-year-old honor society for scientists and engineers has chapters around the world at colleges, universities, government laboratories, industry research centers, and areas that cover multiple institutions. Delegates attended caucuses where they could discuss and vote on business matters of the Society. Chapter award recipients were announced at the Assembly of Delegates. Evening highlights included a "Meet the Presidential Candidates" reception and a "Curious Conversations" session in which Senior Fellow and former Society President Robert T. Pennock conducted a live interview with 2023 Gold Key Award recipient Shirley M. Tilghman.

Sigma Xi President Marija Strojnik welcomed the attendees with her presidential address Friday morning. She discussed the ethics and impacts of smart machines on life and society.

Arnold_400_400Five renowned keynote speakers anchored the Friday and Saturday agendas, highlighted by 2018 Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold. The Cal Tech Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry discussed nature and evolution as the chemistry building blocks of the future during her keynote address and follow-up discussion with student attendees.

Scarlata_400_400Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Suzanne Scarlata discussed newly discovered functions of Gαq molecules in her address, "The Effects of Hormones, Allergens, Neurotransmitters and Drugs; How Cells Communicate with the Outside World."

Sullivan_400_400Florida Atlantic University's James M. Sullivan spoke on global warming, sea level rise, and climate change in his keynote session, "Florida’s Ecological Crises and How They May Inform Our Future."

Yacaman_400_400Northern Arizona University's Miguel José Yacamán discussed probing the structure of matter using electron microscopy and electron diffraction, with a focus on metallic clusters, nanoparticles, and 2-D materials.

Boudreault_400_400McGill University's Richard Boudreault spoke about the importance of the Arctic in the evolution of the climate crisis, and the value added by traditional Indigenous knowledge as a complementary and additive way of knowing.

Friday evening featured "IFoRE at The Cove," a unique outdoor networking party at the Long Beach Convention Center featuring fire pits, cocktails, a DJ, dancing, and party games. Throughout the weekend, attendees enjoyed breakout sessions, a STEM art & film gallery, free professional headshots, and career workshops.

Over 250 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students attended the meeting and presented research in oral and poster format. Sigma Xi members judged the students on their scientific thought, method, and communication skills. Top presenters were awarded with monetary prizes and Sigma Xi membership.