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San Francisco: Photonics West & BiOS – SPIE

SPIE Photonics West & BiOS?  The BiOS part stands for Biomedical Optics Conference, and this was the #1 laser and photonics conference, fielding 20,000 attendees, two exhibitions, 1,250 exhibiting companies, and 4,700 papers.  Course subjects ranged from core fundamentals in optical & optomechanical design and engineering to intermediate and advanced topics across a wide spectrum of optics and photonics technology.  SPIE provides educational resources to introduce the fascinating and rapidly expanding fields of optics and photonics into the classroom.  Attendees could build on research and theory from the technical conferences with application-focused training, and learn from instructors with deep knowledge and real-world experience in their respective fields.  The Hands-On Optics program brought science education enrichment to thousands of underrepresented middle school students in more than ten states, including female and minority students, who typically have not been the beneficiaries of science and engineering resources and investments.  Optics-wise, a new way of — um — looking at things…  #SPIE

San Francisco: NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference

The NBAA is the National Business Aviation Association, and their Schedulers’ & Dispatchers’ Conference theme was “Take the Lead.” Keynote speaker Betty Shotton, CEO of LiftOff Leadership, invited delegates to “step up to the launchpad” and prepare to take the lead. Shotten conducted conference participants on a journey into the possibilities and obstacles that face careers in aviation, as individuals and as team members — a change of scenery, new horizons, elevated perspectives for contemplating the roles of character and  choices in career development.   NBAA noted that most organizations using business aircraft are small and mid-size companies, but also include universities, governments and charitable organizations. The show looked at the industry’s record on safety, security and environmental stewardship. It also reported on the thousands of air ambulance and mercy flights flown by business aircraft each year, as well as the hundreds of relief missions flown in response to natural disasters. Okay, everyone check their parachutes and first-aid kits, please…

San Francisco: American Geophysical Union – AGU

AGU stands for American Geophysical Union.  With nearly 24,000 attendees, this is the largest earth and space science meeting in the world. Now in its 47th year, the AGU Fall Meeting was the place to present research, hear about the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in the field. This was a gabfest that brought together all the “stars” of the earth and space sciences community, for discussions of emerging trends. The technical program included presentations on new and cutting-edge topics, most of which had not yet been published, so delegates could return to work with knowledge they couldn’t get anywhere else.  The meeting offered a unique mix of more than 23,000 oral and poster presentations, a broad range of general sessions, and an exhibit hall packed with approximately 250 exhibitors. Examples of themes under discussion included Characterizing Uncertainty, Computational Methods Across Scales, and Dust and Aerosols.  Hey, buddy, keep your aerosol to yourself, you’re crowding my Uncertainty….  #AGUblogs

San Francisco: American Chemical Society Fall – ACS

ACS is the American Chemical Society, and this was their Fall Get-Together, aimed at reminding themselves that “chemistry is central to everything”.  Uh, could you be a little more specific? Well, a look down the list of conference-related releases gives an idea of the topics on people’s minds.  There was the one about “What’s in fracking fluids that raises red flags”, “Sunblock poses potential hazards to sea life”, and “Rooting out skin creams that contain toxic mercury”.  Worried now?  Well, you look kinda worried.  Worry some more about how “Dust (and the microbes hitching rides on it) influences rain and climate”.  Gulp!  On the positive side, we had “Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants”, and the astonishing information that “Tattoo batteries produce power from sweat”.  Who’d’a thunk?  Oh, hey, would you please let me connect my cellphone to your tattoo biobattery?  I seem to be low on power….  #chemistry

San Francisco: Optical Fiber Communication – OFC/NFOEC

“The future of optical networking and communications”, we heard, “is here”.  It’s the largest global conference and exposition for optical communications and networking professionals. For over 39 years, The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC) has drawn attendees from all corners of the globe to meet and greet, teach and learn, make connections and talk business.  Who was that, exactly?  Well, Network and Communications Service Providers, Internet Service Providers, Content Providers, Data Center types, Systems and Network Equipment Manufacturers, Test Equipment Manufacturers, Fiber and Cable Suppliers… and Investment and Venture Capital enterprises for those looking for funding. Amongst the 800 presentations, 550 exhibitors and 12,700 attendees, the 2014 OFC Conference and Exposition left the optical communications community with valuable insights into the latest research in the field, current products and services on the market today and future industry trends.  Here’s lookin’ at you, optics…!   #OFC2014

San Francisco: American Association for Justice – AAJ

July 20-23, 2013. The AAJ is the American Association for Justice, and is also known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.  For over sixty years the association has supported plaintiff trial lawyers as the collective voice of the trial bar on Capitol Hill and in courthouses across the nation.  The profession seems to be defending itself against myths and falsehoods: “Drug, oil, and insurance companies have spent millions of dollars to generate myths about how lawsuits are out of control and responsible for all of America’s ills”, we heard.  “The facts tell a much different story.  The number of tort (personal injury) cases has been declining for years.  According to the National Center for State Courts, tort cases accounted for just 4.4 percent of all civil cases filed in 2008, and declined by 25 percent between 1999 and 2008.  Tort filings in state courts decreased by six percent between 2007 and 2008”.  Still unhappy?  So sue me…

San Francisco: SemiCon

July 9-11, 2013. SemiCon is of course short for semiconductor, and this show is about critical issues, technologies, and people shaping the future of microelectronics.  Never before, we heard, has the confluence of technological and financial challenges in semiconductor design, process technology and manufacturing threatened the continued progress of Moore’s Law.  The emergence of multiple, non-planar transistor architectures, stacked 3D IC methodologies, 450mm wafer processing, and the continued uncertainty on high-volume EUV lithography have placed enormous burdens on R&D efficiency, effectiveness and synergy/dependency across the IC manufacturing and design supply chain.  These core R&D challenges affect all sectors of the electronic products ecosystem—including system developers in mobile, computing, communications and other products.  Research consortia will apparently play increasingly vital roles in addressing and overcoming these challenges, offering discovery and solution outcomes essential to keeping pace with Moore’s Law.  So buckle up — it’s the Law…