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Looking forward to Chicago 2009


For those of you who went to this year’s AAAS meeting in Boston, now is a chance to sip coffee, recover from jet lag and go over all those indecipherable notes you took so hastily. For those of you who didn’t go, I hope that my blog has given you a taster of the symposia pertaining most to physics.

There’s been a remarkable range of topics covered. I heard the Rwandan president Paul Kagame share his vision for scientific education in Africa, the AAAS president David Baltimore tell of the importance of US research, and Princeton University’s Harold Shapiro discuss how money should be allocated within science budgets. I saw eye-popping pictures taken with present-day supercomputer simulations, graphs depicting the awkward public opinion surrounding nanotechnology, and pamphlets informing one how to spot a Weapon of Mass Destruction. I spoke to folk artists about nuclear physics, directors about the status of forthcoming facilities, and press officers about mismatching meetings.

On a final valedictory note, I also found it refreshing to hear other journalists talk about the difficulties of reporting science, and scientists acknowledge the importance of the media in helping their cause. The general feeling at the meeting was that the media will have a great — and to a certain extent isolated — role to play in conveying important issues such as funding and climate change.

This time next year, will be blogging from Chicago for the 2009 AAAS meeting. But if you can’t wait until then for more physics gossip, be sure to check-in on 10 March when editor Hamish Johnston and Physics World news editor Michael Banks will be blogging from this year’s American Physical Society (APS) meeting in New Orleans.

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