Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 APS March Meeting, first thoughts

A few brief thoughts at the APS March Meeting (more later....) in Dallas:
  • First time I've ever been at a convention center with a graveyard adjacent to the building.  Quite a time saver if there are really bad talks, I suppose.
  • Frank Wilczek still gives a terrific talk about the connection between superconductivity and high energy physics.  Very droll, too.  He clearly has a strong aesthetic desire for supersymmetry, but just as clearly acknowledges that all of this could go up in smoke, depending on what the LHC finds.
  • The APS's attempt at a mobile app (for iPad, iPhone, etc.) is so painfully slow and incomplete (no scheduling ability I can almost understand, but how can you not list the room numbers for the sessions?) that it's better to use wireless internet access to visit the APS meeting website instead.
  • Roland Wiesendanger also presents an outstanding talk.  His group's accumulated work on spin-polarized STM is very impressive, and definitely made me feel an intense bout of "imaging envy" (in the sense that my group's work usually does not have beautiful 3d renders of data sets that grace the cover of glossy journals).
  • Lots of discussions with people about looming budget concerns, and separately the decline of science journalism.  On some level, these topics are related....

8 comments:

Raj said...

Unfortunately my group does MRS and ACS (being a chemistry lab), not APS so I'm missing the festivities. In my hometown, no less.

What exactly do you mean by the decline of science journalism? Just that news outlets continue to cut science divisions? I can understand that -- a business needs to trim its least profitable divisions. That won't change unless people suddenly find science more interesting than Charlie Sheen. Even then, it'd be nice if popular science journalism was not broken down into 49% biology/49% astronomy/2% other.

I think science journalism has its place in more popular, targeted media anyway. Ars Technica (a tech website) does a good job of regularly publishing science articles, for example.

Anonymous said...

Popular science journals are more like 40% biology / 30% environmental issues/ 28% astronomy / 2% others

Schlupp said...

...except that the wireless is also slow.

Doug Natelson said...

Raj, yes, I specifically mean the drastic reductions in actual science journalists at all major news organizations. Science is important, certainly more so than Charlie Sheen. It physically pains me to see what CNN has become. When all news outlets decide to reduce their workforces, you end up with press releases being used wholesale as news articles, and that's not a happy trend.

Schlupp, I think wifi in the convention center is actually being done by semaphore or signal lamps. At least the cell coverage is ok.

Massimo said...

Which convention center exactly ? Looks like two or three of them connected... As for Wilczek's talk -- very nice and articulate indeed... by the way, when is the second part, the one in which he actually talks about superconductivity ?

As for WiFi-- I am sure you noticed the "APSWifi Sucks" net too...

J Hass Group said...

That won't change unless people suddenly find science more interesting than Charlie Sheen.

2010 Kia Soul parts said...

Science is important, certainly more so than Charlie Sheen. It physically pains me to see what CNN has become.

Pepe Fenjul Jr. said...

He clearly has a strong aesthetic desire for supersymmetry, but just as clearly acknowledges that all of this could go up in smoke, depending on what the LHC finds.