Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Kevin's Trip to Chicago
The conference is held annually in various locations and creates the opportunity for researchers in plasma science from around America (and some internationally) to update everybody on what they have been doing and to learn what everybody else is doing.
The conference is convened for the whole week, but I went for only three days because being away from my Baby is something I do in small doses. The conference offers numerous talks of various lengths all day simultaneously in 6 ballrooms. There were two poster sessions each day with at least 60 posters to a session. So, when I wasn't standing at my poster for 3 hrs on Thursday, I was perusing the other posters and sitting in on interesting talks.
Another interesting event at this conference is the Plasma Science Expo. This expo is an opportunity for all of the participating research centers to host a booth displaying or demonstrating science that high school students can participate in. I volunteered to man our research center's booth. I had to explain and demonstrate how various materials reflect or absorb UltraViolet radiation. It was great to teach students about the dangers of long term exposure and how to protect themselves with a quantitative demonstration. The expo also served as an opportunity for me to play with the other booths cool toys.
Aside from the conference proceedings, I was able to get out of the hotel for some brief site seeing of downtown Chicago. I mostly only got to see Millennium Park with the Bean and other striking architectural structures. One evening, I went to the Art Museum, but it was closing. However, I gained the opportunity to be an audience to a street jazz performer wailing out on his clarinet. It was fun to watch as people danced in the sidewalk and even across the street. It made me think about my Baby and our past adventures.
Another great thing about Chicago was the deep, deep dish pizza. One lunch time, some of my colleagues and I went to a place called Giordano's. The pizza was two inches thick of toppings with a delicious crispy crust. I will definitely have to take Crystal there when we go.