So the ACS conference is no more. Actually, it feels like it’s been winding down since Tuesday, what with all the big banners saying “See you at the next meeting”, the posters advertising taxi services to the airport, and people wandering around with their luggage. I think it’s a shame that so many people have already gone home by the last day, especially for those who are still presenting. They may not be the biggest names, but it doesn’t seem fair that their potential audience is reduced before they even start.
As I mentioned before, this was my first ACS, and I think it’s lived up to expectations. I’ve enjoyed the chemistry (of course) but also the people watching. It seems that more senior chemists are predisposed towards facial hair (especially splendid moustaches), whereas the younger crowd are rebelling by generally being clean-shaved (although a trendy goatee beard is permitted).
Technology now allows for some mind-blowing multi-media presentations, but also inevitably to a random scattering of pop-up error messages. Still, I’ve enjoyed some of the visual humour. My favourite was the speaker who, when discussing the various organisms that have had their genomes sequenced, provided an image of each species. There was a picture of fruit-fly, a worm, and a chimpanzee. And right next to the chimp, representing humanity, there was George Bush. Say no more.
Anyway, I’ll be flying back home tomorrow (oh joy, another 8 hour flight with nothing to do but watch films about penguins. Why is it always penguins?), and then I’m going to lie down in a darkened room for a week. Really.
Andrew Mitchinson (Associate Editor, Nature)