January 6th 2009
San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Dear members of the international scientific community,
We hope this letter finds you well, and we apologize for distracting you from your busy agenda. As students and candidates for joining the scientific community, we would like to express our concern regarding an embarrassing issue that is taking place in our institution from our viewpoint and interests. Many of us have seen and are participates of the group of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (N&N) growth and achievements at the “Instituto Potosino de Investigacion Cientifica y Tecnologica” (IPICyT) in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, this group is under the leadership of Prof. Mauricio Terrones and Prof. Humberto Terrones, and we are proud to be a part of it. We have always been supported by the members of the group within a respectful and friendly environment that has been promoted by our group leaders.
Many of us have also been witnesses of the difficulties imposed to this Nanoscience and Nanotechnology group by the General Director of the Institute Dr. David Rios Jara and some members of the Advanced Materials Division. As students of this institute and of this group, we try not to be involved in the conflict situations as long as the academic performance and the research realized in the group is not affected.
In May 2008, Humberto Terrones was substituted by Haret Rosu as head of the advanced materials division. Some of us, who sign below as senior students, remember that by that time there was uncertainty on the way the equipment and the laboratories would be run. We expressed our concern to the academic deputy. During that time, some of us and other student colleagues were subject to intimidation and threatening by members of the advanced materials division that were against the N&N group. After the kind intercedence of the international scientific community, the threatening to students was ceased.
After that, some of us have faced administrative delays and troubles, particularly when related to the scholarship. Such troubles have always existed. However, there seems to be an unusual frequency in delays and troubles for the students that will join the N&N group. In addition, there has been a clear division between the members of the advanced materials division. Two groups emerged: the N&N group and the Materials Science (MS) group. In fact, last year, a new graduate program on Materials Science was created. This division has brought a tense atmosphere in the working place.
A few weeks ago, the General Director of the institute ordered the eviction of two laboratories: “Heat Treatment” and “Mesoporous Materials” within a period of five days. The argument for this decision was that these spaces were not sufficiently used, and that the activities carried out there could be achieved in other laboratories of the group. Apparently an evaluating commission assessed these laboratories, although they did not realize that many of the equipments needed special electrical facilities which were precisely located in these spaces. In the Heat Treatment lab there were high temperature furnaces, an arc discharge equipment and a field emission chamber along with the necessary electrical facilities. This equipment was used on a regular basis. In the Mesoporous Materials lab we were synthesizing carbon nanotubes that we have used for our research projects. Now, due to this eviction, all the lab equipment and furniture has been relocated and is not currently in use. This relocation of equipment has caused a space reduction in other laboratories, affecting our security and research.
We do not understand clearly why or how this decision was taken. In fact, the members of the N&N group, including the students, kindly asked the General Director for an appointment to learn how and why this decision was taken, to a respectfully discuss, and to find a solution. However, this appointment was denied. Also, we were noticed that the General Director considered inappropriate to involve students, despite we are the main users of these facilities.
On another hand, recently some members of the Advanced Materials Division sent an e-mail to the entire IPICyT and some other foreign institutes with some non academic comments suggesting the discredit of the group leaders of the N&N group. However, we completely disagree with this kind of statement with in the institution because it not only affects the members of the group but it also creates a conflict environment against our group.
Last Friday (December 20, 2009) we noticed that the names of Professors Humberto and Mauricio were no longer on the webpage of the institute (www.ipicyt.edu.mx, attached pdf) and their e-mail accounts seem to be canceled. We fear that this situation could result in an alteration in the operation of the group that could impact our research and academic formation. Now, on January 5th of 2010, Dr. David Rios Jara sent us an e-mail in which the entire Institution that Professors Humberto and Mauricio will not be working more in this Institution, stating that this is due to strong irregularities performed by them. This situation led us into a great conflict because we do not have a grad school coordinator nor thesis directors. As you may see, this problem, which started as a political and administrative conflict, has become an academic trouble that we are confronting. Moreover, the authorities have told us today to propose a new coordinator within a day, without warranty for him/her to perform as the new N&N grad school coordinator.
The majority of the students in the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology group are concerned about the future of the group, they all entered this graduate school because of the great quality of the research and facilities that is offered in this group and we think that certain political actions may have an effect on our academic formation.
We thank you for your time, and we hope our next communication would be in better circumstances.
The students from the Nanoscience and Nanotecnology group agree with the previously described:
Aarón Morelos Gómez
Abraham Guadalupe Cano Márquez
Alicia Elizabeth Chávez Guajardo
Andrés Rafael Botello Méndez
Blanca Azucena Gómez Rodríguez
Claudia Guadalupe Espinosa González
Cristal Martínez Ibañez
Edgar Eduardo Gracia Espino
Isaac Aarón Morales Frías
Jessica Rosaura Campos Delgado
José Jarib Alcaraz Espinosa
Josué Ortiz Medina
Julio César Chacón Torres
Juan Antonio Briones León
Juan Carlos García Gallegos
Juan Carlos Medina Llamas
Marcia Vianey Bojórquez Avitia
Miguel Angel Pelagio Flores
Rafael Martínez Gordillo
Rodolfo Lima Juárez
Viviana Jehová González Velázquez
Yesmin Panecatl Bernal