Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Information overload

Well, I'm back from my trip to Washington DC (and so is my suitcase, even though it turns out we didn't travel together). Information overload is the best summary of the trip.

The conference I attended was the annual ASCB meeting, and is always exhausting. Talks begin at 8am, and there are generally sessions until 8pm. Everyday around 500 posters are presented, which means sifting through that many titles and abstracts each day, and then trying to catch the author of the interesting ones in the 90 minutes allotted to them. And then you have to fit in lunch, dinner, brain recovery time, and of course coffee breaks. I mention coffee in particular because it turns out that Washington is not the kind of city where people live, so even the ubiquitous Starbucks on every corner closes around 7pm. Not good for a late night drink :(

It's not all science though. One of the highlights was dinner with a bunch of people from the Children's Hospital plus a few collaborators and my current boss. Lots of sightseeing - Arlington National Cemetery, monuments to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, the FBI building, the White House, WWII memorial. And then there were the museums. Natural History (excellent - saw dinosaurs, diamonds, and moon rock), American History (OK - interesting explanations of why America turned out to be so supportive of new discoveries), International Spy Museum (really fun), National Archives (saw the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Documents from the Louisiana Purchase when Napoleon sold land to the US). Missed out on Air and Space and a bunch of art museums - hopefully I'll have a chance to go back and see the rest.



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