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

Atlanta: American Meteorological Society – AMS Annual Meeting

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…?

San Diego: Plant and Animal Genome – PAGXXI

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?

San Francisco: American Geophysical Union (AGU)

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?

San Francisco: ASCB

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….

Philadelphia: American Chemical Society (ACS)

Aug. 19-23, 2012. ACS stands for American Chemical Society, and the words they live by are “Chemistry for Life”.  ACS is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.  With more than 164,000 members, it is apparently the world’s largest scientific society, and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise, and positions itself as the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.  You can just feel the chemistry…..

Montreal: International Microwave Symposium – IMS

June 17-22, 2012. IMS is the International Microwave Symposium, and it is, we hear, the largest professional microwave gathering in the world.  There was no better place for a microwave engineer to be in June, we were firmly informed. IMS also goes by the name of Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), which was founded in 1952 as a result of early developments of microwave technology started in World War II, and of early microwave publications including the MIT Radiation Laboratory Series and the Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers.  Early microwave applications developed included communications, commercial radar, industrial heating, and measurement. IMS 2012 celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the MTT society, and to mark the occasion of the IMS being held outside of the US, the theme was the evolution of microwaves in Canada. Help needed? To de-thaw frozen pizza, set the microwave to 45 seconds on the low setting…