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Physicists take over the Big Easy

New Orleans: city with a view

New Orleans: city with a view. (Courtesy: Tushna Commissariat)

By Sarah Tesh and Tushna Commissariat in New Orleans, Louisiana, US

It is that time of the year again when around 10,000 physicists gather for the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting and this year we’re in the Big Easy. While yesterday was a jetlag-recovery day, it’s all kicking off today at the sprawling Ernest Morial Convention Center, where more than 9600 papers will be presented during the week.

Despite our sleep-deprived state yesterday, we played the traditional game of “spot the physicist” during our wanderings in the French Quarter. This was made particularly interesting with the simultaneous game of “spot the spring-breakers”. Relaxed, youthful students chatting loudly about their late-night escapades were a stark contrast to academics looking anxious and lost while over-burdened with poster tubes, suitcases and laptop bags.

As usual, there is such a huge array of talks, exhibits and posters it’s difficult to know where to start and what to see. Thankfully, the APS’s online conference scheduler gives an idea of what’s hot in the world of condensed matter by showing the most popular sessions delegates have selected to attend.

Topping the list this year are talks by Nobel prize winners Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz on topology, while superconductivity and quantum computing make up the remaining top 10. Meanwhile, other popular subjects include time crystals, 2D materials, Einstein versus Bergson and the science of superheroes.

If you’re here in New Orleans, do drop by the IOP Publishing booth in the exhibitor’s hall. You can pick up the latest issue of Physics World and check out our new Physics World Discovery books. Meanwhile, we’ll keep you all up to date with conference events here on the Physics World blog and you can follow us on Twitter: @tushna42 and @PhysicsWorld. We’ll also be visiting LIGO on Thursday for a tour of the world-famous facility, so prepare yourself for some great pictures!

Ernest Morial Convention Center

Mile of physics: APS March meeting at the huge Ernest Morial Convention Center. (Courtesy: Tushna Commissariat)

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