My first conference

Hello everyone!

Here is a blog from my first foray into the world of the conference.  My first was the RSC’s  International Symposium on Advancing the Chemical Sciences 7 Which was held in Edinburgh

John McIntyre Conference Centre where the conference was held

I went for a couple of days as it was my first conference so I got into Aberdeen on the Wednesday morning and took the train down to Edinburgh.  When I arrived in Edinburgh, they were working on the tramlink so couldn’t get the bus from where I normally would have got it.

Eventually arrived at the site and was pleasantly surprised by it looking almost like I had accidently gone to a Spanish village or something, even though there was heavy traffic outside of the complex, it was heard at all.

Gone through registeration and dumped my bag in the hall next to the conference hall and with my nametag on, I went into the conference hall.  Um!  I didn’t expect that many people!!!  As the day went on I listened to some interesting lectures (although there was a lot of catalysis – which isn’t one of my interests) but that seems to be the main research at the moment.

I had gone to reception at the lunch time to get my room to dump my bangs and get my internet access –  £5 for a day is not to be sniffed at!  And missed out on veggie lunch!  Although I did get a Strawberry tart for my efforts which had chocolate in it!  Yummy!

So the second round of lectures after lunch and some interesting topics, one on all these natural products, how complicated they all looked, equally, these complex molecules all need a rediculous amount of steps to acheive their aim.  I was listening to the interesting seminars.

Coffee break occured and this is when it donned one me that I was on my own and isolated, but this day I met Professor Clayden (of organic textbook fame) and Professor O’ Brien of York University.  I have followed a lot of the research of both these scientists and to meet them was like meeting your favourite pop star.  (No pun intended for Professor Brian Cox!)

One thing I must say is that when research groups travel together, they tend to stick together so I felt a bit isolated as there was a huge amount of people and I stuck out like a sore thumb.

!st day finished of lectures and I felt l had acheived something as I had spoken to lecturers whose work I had adminired so I decided to take a walk around the area.

Second day of the conference went a lot better as I met people who were at my alma mater and I spoke to another gentleman who was from Canada who was touring Scotland, not sure if he understood me with my accent!!  Anyway I have one small issue with the first lecturer on the Thursday as a lot of his refences were heard to view on the font he had used.  The day before, the sound wasn’t the greatest!

So dinner was done and it was time for my final session of the day and conference before I had to go back into town for the train back to Aberdeen.  Ben Davis started us off with a fascinating talk on the sugar and proteins and what they can be used for.  More catalysis with Christophe Aissa and to finish off an informative and enjoyable lecture by Professor John Murphy!

Now the time had come that I can to come back down to earth after an informative conference and I can say I have been to my first conference! However the tone of the day was spoiled on my way home by having a train late with people giving the train guard cheek so they were ejected from the train and we were travelling behind a local service.  I am glad I brought my laptop with me, although it was an older type, it still does me!  Sadly when around Stonehaven, someone decided to smoke in the train vestibule, and the smell came through the cabin.  And the train driver even had to say an announcement on the tannoy.

What was the verdict after the conference?  It can’t be that bad as I off to a Scottish Neuroscience meeting in Dundee in August.  All thanks goes to those who organised the meeting in Edinburgh as it was informative and I learned a lot of interesting things from it to combine my chemistry and  neuroscience interests.

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