Being at the APS meeting last year in Denver, I can’t help but think about some comparisons. Although I was at the march meeting last year in a different capacity (as a researcher, giving my 10+2 minute talk), It seems to me that the scale of this year’s event is much smaller compared to last year.
Although people from the APS say this year more than 7000 participants are registered, having chatted to a few people in the exhibition area, where most of the companies selling their equipment are based, they say business is much less than last year, and indeed the number of people just walking around and in sessions, to me at least, seems much less.
Most people who I have talked to seem to think along the same lines. Of course one can come up with their own conclusions about this, but maybe physics departments and institutions are tightening their belts as a result of funding tightening both in the UK and US.
I don’t have any figures to back up my claim about any possible decrease in participant figures, but possibly Bush’s last US science budget request for the financial year 2009 will promise more money for physicists and a return turnout for the APS march meeting 2009.