Thursday, 20 September 2012

As it happened - HB2012 Conference in Beijing - Day 4

Today I am really tired. I had to take two naps today just to get through. 

It was the last day of talks for the conference and I woke up at 4.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I went to the gym, had breakfast and attended the morning session. Then I had to skip a few talks to finish editing a long paper I had to get done by Friday, and managed a quick lunch before I decided to have the first nap for half an hour. That kept me going until about 4pm until nap number two during a gap until the final discussion session. I’ve never before been so thankful that the conference is in the same hotel as the accommodation!

It was a good day, with some new interesting ideas and questions passed around. The discussion session at the end of the day went on for over two hours (it was scheduled for one), with a few experts dominating the conversation. It was an interesting experience and despite the ‘main players’ taking over it was very valuable – most conferences are so busy you don’t get to have a proper discussion of the new and interesting issues that have been presented. It’s not practical for every conference but for a ‘workshop’ like this of maybe 150 people split into five topical groups, it is very useful.
The final discussion session for my working group. 

I’m too tired to say much more, so instead I’ll tell a story my colleague Chip (of cricket-eating fame) told us at dinner tonight:

At KEK laboratory in Japan the accelerator operators hear an alarm when there is a problem with the accelerator that needs attention. The alarm is there just in case the operators are asleep or don’t notice a flashing signal on the screen. They wanted a way to be able to tell immediately which area of the machine had a problem, so they allocated an animal noise to each section. So one section makes a monkey sound, another a lion, another a snake hiss and so on. He says “on a bad day, it’s like a zoo in the control room!”.

Tomorrow I've been naughty and instead of attending the final summary talks I’ve organised a very exciting day out! But you will have to come and read about it tomorrow…

For now, I will leave you with the lovely latte art of a cat face (we think) from a café/restaurant called Lovever Coffee near our hotel. I’m only sad I won’t have time to go back and see what else they can do! 

Coffee from Lovever - great coffee, pricey at £3.20 but good!

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