During the week of July 14th, Lexington was overrun by dancing Ukrainians, smiling Romanians and a host of other international visitors who were here for the 25th Biennial Carbon Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. After years in the planning, the conference finally took place, and the result was a great success.
In the words of American Carbon Society Chairman Dr. Fred Baker of Westvaco Corp, "Until you organize a conference you can't know how much work goes into it. (Fred and Tim Burchell chaired the '99 Conference in Charleston.) Because of an amazing group effort, the Kentucky meeting will long be remembered as a conference that was both cutting edge in terms of world-class presentations, innovative in terms of bringing new ideas into the format of the meeting, and a whole lot of fun."
Opening the conference was Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto, who was introduced by Rosemary Derbyshire. His presentation "Science, a Square Peg in a Round Hole," was both a wonderful inspiration, rallying us to go forth and introduce the wonder of science to children, as well as a warm tribute to his friend Frank Derbyshire. Frank was the former director of the CAER, who died unexpectedly two years ago and was the person responsible for the conference coming to the University of Kentucky. A special symposium was held in his honor later in the week, where instead of telling old drinking stories (which would have taken too long) the four speakers presented talks reflecting Frank's career.
With no major catastrophes, the meeting got off to a great start with a welcoming reception on Saturday night, where old friends were greeted and new friends were made. A special Biomaterials Symposium was chaired by Dr. David Pienkowsi of the University of Kentucky's Orthopedic Surgery Department beginning the following morning. The purpose of this new symposium was to enhance the field of biomedical engineering by bringing together engineers from both the biomedical and carbon-based materials fields.
Monday night's poster session was an event in itself. Master distillers from Wild Turkey Distillery, one of Kentucky's famous bourbon producers, educated our diverse group on the finer points and grades of bourbon. This format worked well and brought participants to view the posters in a sort of "Sci-Mix" format before attendees descended upon local eating and drinking establishments.
On Tuesday afternoon,
the attendees were set free to wander around the Bluegrass or participate in
a tour of the CAER. Unbelievable as
it seems, there are always scientists who would rather see their peers' research
than take the afternoon off. About 35 people toured the research center.
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