The Sceptical Chymist | ACS: Crowded house

Published in Chemistry

Tuesday in Chicago didn’t get off to a great start…

I thought I would start my day off with a trip down memory lane and head to the symposium – “30 Years of Conducting Polymers” – the first session of which began with a memorial of Alan MacDiarmid, who passed away in February (the obituary published in Nature can be found here – subscription required).

Well, it turns out that memory lane was a little congested – I turned up at 9:15 to hear the first talk and couldn’t even get into the room, people were standing in the corridor watching the talk through the doors! (Note to ACS conference organizers: a memorial session for a recently deceased and well-liked Nobel Laureate, especially one that features a co-recipient of the aforementioned Nobel Prize, should not be held in a room only slightly larger than one of the bathrooms onboard a Boeing 777 jet… – more on this later…)

Deterred, I went a little further down the polymer path and ended up in a talk given by Al Nelson, a former UCLA colleague of mine, and now researcher at IBM Almaden. Al was talking about polymeric self-assembly and molecular recognition, and he gets props for the best ‘’s_law">Moore’s Law’ kind of slide I’ve seen in a while… he based it on gaming systems, showing how their capabilities have progressed at a phenomenal rate – from marbles, through to Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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