Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Snoring scholars and other scenes from the chemistry conclave

The Boy and I are presently on a plane back from New Orleans, the city of my birth.  I left Philly early Sunday morning (4:30 am early) to catch a plane packed with chemists.  It used to be you could spot the pilgrims by their copies of Chemical & Engineering News, browsing the program.

The signs that point to a traveling chemist are a bit more subtle these days. The young ones have long tubes slung over their shoulders, their work laid out on a poster, rolled up, ready to hang and defend to all comers.  The older ones wear khakis, sport jackets and blue button down shirts with no ties (if they are male, and the majority of them still are) and carry battered laptop bags, their smart phones tucked into their jacket pockets.  

There are a lot of tired people in the meeting pipeline.  The person next to me on the flight from Philly sat down, fastened her seat belt and promptly fell asleep a good quarter hour before we pushed back from the gate. I was impressed with her efficient exhaustion.  Alas, she snored from PHL to Atlanta.  As did the poor student sitting in the back of the room where I waiting to give my talk on Sunday afternoon. She was propped against the wall, dead to the world and....snoring. 

I walked an average of 9 miles a day (yes, I measured it using a pedometer).  I ate several amazing meals at unfancy places, snagged beignets at Cafe du Monde twice a day every day.  (Note to self: Do not attempt this in black pants that you plan on wearing the rest of the day.)  I bought a sun hat made by a local artist.  And I very much enjoyed watching my research students (including The Boy) present their research, they were awesome!


  1. Glad you had a great trip. I think that I need to read your biography, the one that starts at birth!

    1. My birthday is Friday, maybe I should do a "where was I" on the 12th of April every 5 years or so?!