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
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
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
AMS is the American Meteorological Society, and this was their Annual Meeting. So what were they talking about? Well, stuff like Chemistry and Earth Science, with subdisciplines including Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Science, Climatology, Meteorology…. The international debate on climate change made this a particularly topical; and, sure enough, the theme for the 2014 AMS Annual Meeting was “Extreme Weather—Climate and the Built Environment: New perspectives, opportunities, and tools”. Taking NYC as an example, Mother Nature has been forced over four centuries to give up more and more reclamation land to property-hungry Manhattanites. Now, it seems, she wants it back. The New York districts damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s storm-surge were almost identical to the land drained and reclaimed since 1600. It included a broad ribbon of commercial and residential property ringing the southern tip of Manhattan Island. 400,000 people live in what a century ago was still a flood plain, and before that was under water. Makes you think… or is that sink…?
Jan 11-16. 2013 – PAG is for Plant & Animal Genome, and this is billed as the largest Ag-Genomics meeting in the world. It brought together nearly 3,000 leading agriculture-related genetic scientists and researchers in plant and animal research, to view 120 exhibits, 140 workshops, a thousand poster sessions and 1,700 abstracts. The scientific program included informative speakers and technical presentations, all geared as forums for the exchange of ideas and applications on recent developments in this field of scientific investigation. The largest group of registrations tend to be from an Academic background (64%), with Industry (25%) and Government (11%) sectors comprising the remainder. Approximately 40% of attendees came to PAG from outside the USA, making the conference a truly global event. Hey: how you gonna keep ‘em… down on the farm… now that they’ve seen, er, San Diego?
Dec. 3-7, 2012. AGU is the American Geophysical Union. (Geophysical union? It sounds like the world giving itself a giant bear-hug…). But seriously, AGU is a nonprofit corporation chartered under the laws of the District of Columbia, and it is “dedicated to the furtherance of the geophysical sciences through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international scientific organizations”. AGU, we heard, “can secure a position as a leader, collaborator, and sought-after partner for scientific innovation, rigor and interdisciplinary focus on global issues.” The number one objective supporting this goal is, apparently, to… “Transform the future of AGU’s scientific publishing in an evolving marketplace.” Okaaayyy…. Ya still want that hug?
Dec. 15-19, 2012. ASCB is the American Society for Cell Biology, and its conference is about “the science of life, and the life of science”. ASCB is an international community of biologists studying… well, the cell, the fundamental unit of life. These people are dedicated to advancing scientific discovery, advocating sound research policies, improving education, promoting professional development, and increasing diversity in the scientific workforce. There were daily programs that allowed attendees to follow new fields while benefitting from a meeting with the best researchers in cell biology. There was a keynote symposium by Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Arthur D. Levinson, Chair, Genentech, Inc., and Apple, Inc. But of course everyone had to be back in their “cells” by midnight….