So I made it home a couple of days ago and am just now writing about the overall experience. It was a wonderful time spent with some wonderful people. While in Chicago I made it down to the Taste Of Chicago festival and had some excellent sweet potato cheesecake. I also rode in my first taxi and found it somewhat disappointing, since the cabbie never actually talked to me. I spent time with people I hadn’t seen in a long time, got to re-introduce myself to people I’d forgotten, and got to meet a ton of new people. I didn’t bring my camera because I usually don’t take a lot of pictures at conferences and it would have just been another thing to carry around. I very quickly came to regret that decision.
One night I sat with part of the production team from Adler and talked about the new Sesame Street show. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Even though they worked with a planetarium in Beijing, most of the work with the actual muppets was done by these guys. I don’t have a picture of them, but they were really cool. We swapped stories about working behind the scenes with character actors. :o)
I also got the chance to visit Fermilab. It was amazing. I saw it from the air as I was flying into Chicago. This was the first instant I wished I hadn’t left my camera behind. What I found most interesting was the diverse fields the scientists at Fermi are working in. One of the scientists (that was important to us) spoke to the group in their lecture hall. He was connected to the Sloan Digital Sky survey. He said that observational astronomy was basically catching particles (photons) in a collector (telescope) and measuring their quantity (brightness) and energy (spectrum) — which is exactly what he was trained to do as a particle physicist. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
I’m really glad I went, and I’m really glad I’m back. Large conferences like that are really tiring. I always take on the attitude of “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Well, either I’m getting older or the conferences are lasting longer — I’m exhausted! The first night when they fed us dessert at 11pm, I realized it was going to be a loooong week. But it was well worth it. I have much more to post and I’ll get to it as I can this week. Lots of work to catch up on around the house.
Oh, BTW, please read back through my last few posts for some updates. Those of you reading this site through the feed only will have to actually visit the blog to see what corrections I’ve made. Sorry, but sometimes even *I* have to fact check my info. :o)