Monday, March 10, 2014

March Meeting wrap-up

I've been slow about writing a day 3/4/wrapup of the APS meeting because of general busy-ness.  I saw fewer general interest talks over that last day and a half in part because my own group's talks were clustered in that timeframe.  Still, I did see a couple of interesting bits.
  • There was a great talk by Zhenchao Dong about this paper, where they are able to use the plasmonic properties of a scanning tunneling microscope tip to perform surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy on single molecules (in ultrahigh vacuum and cryogenic conditions) with sub-nm lateral resolution.  The data are gorgeous, though how the lateral resolution can possibly be that good is very mysterious.  Usually the lateral extent of the enhanced optical fields is something like the geometric mean of the tip radius of curvature and the tip-sample distance.  It's very hard to see how that ever gets to the sub-nm level, so something funky must be going on.
  • I saw a talk by Yoshihiro Iwasa all about MoS2, including work on optics and ionic liquid gating.  
  • I went to a session on the presentation of physics to the public.  The talks that I managed to see were quite good, and Dennis Overbye's insights into the NY Times' science reporting were particularly interesting.  He pointed out that it's a very challenging marketplace when so much good (or at least interesting) science writing is given away for free (as in here or here or here).  He did give a shout-out to Peter Woit, particularly mentioning how good Peter's sources are.
I probably should wade into focus topic organizing again;  it seemed like this year there were more issues with parallel sessions about similar topics and some lack of cohesiveness within some of the contributed sessions.  (This isn't meant as a criticism of those who invested their time to do this, which is absolutely appreciated!  I am well aware how hard it is, particularly as the meeting keeps growing.)

No comments: