Another week, another country. This week I’m at the SPIE conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation. This is the large conference organised every 2 years by international optical engineering society SPIE, alternating between venues in North America and Europe. The 2012 edition is in Amsterdam – and a joy it is to be here.
Having lived down the road in Leiden for over 3 years I enjoy coming back to the Netherlands. And bewildering as these large conferences are, it’s nice to have one in a country where I speak the language and vaguely know my way round. That said, I did get hoplessly lost biking to the RAI convention centre on the first day. It’s also great to catch up with my former Dutch colleagues, many of whom are also here.
There’s always lots and lots of talks at SPIE, but the real fun is of course in the fringe events – especially those that include a few drinks. As you know, I love a bit of gossip, and there’s nothing like a few beers to get some good inside snippets from the many projects represented here.
This time round I actually have my name and picture in the programme, as I’m the invited speaker in the Women in Optics special session. This is an evening network event with drinks and an hour-long talk, and the honour of giving that has come to me. I was pretty chuffed to be invited, although having only rarely spoken about my interest in science & society issues outside of pubs, I’m a little daunted. Once I’ve recovered, I might write a bit more about the talk on here, or share my slides – I’ve tried to squeeze in some of my favourite things in life: dotAstronomy, kittens, histograms, telescopes, MIRI, high fashion, celebrities and beer. And I’m lying about only one of those.
The session starts at 16:30 with drinks, then the talk at 17:00. If you’re coming along, I look forward to seeing you there.