Saturday, January 14, 2006

So much, yet not enough

The problem with such an amazing trip is that I don't even know how to begin describing it. I spent last week in Washington, D.C. at the American Astronomical Society winter meeting. I had tremendous amounts of fun. The conference itself was impressive - over 3100 astronomers in attendance. There were many good talks and posters presented. I attended a talk by the NASA administrator - he painted a realistic picture of the future, but the budget next month is going to be very, very ugly.

In the past, I've generally attended conferences all day long and didn't explore the cities much. This time, however, I decided to follow my New Year's resolution, which is to not be such a good girl anymore. :) So I cut out of the conference in the afternoons and explored D.C. My explorations actually began the day before the conference started, when my beloved Philip and his lovely Faith took me to the National Air and Space Museum. Ah...heaven on Earth. I touched a Moon rock! And saw the Columbia module from Apollo 11! And the Wright Flyer! And the Spirit of St. Louis! I returned there again the next day when I cut out of the conference, and then I headed over to the Natural History Museum to check out the Gem and Mineral exhibit. Oh, so lovely. Especially the meteorites. Oh, the meteorites. I've never seen such a beautiful selection on display. There was a piece of Nakhla out to touch - I've touched Mars! I saw snippets of some of the other museums on the other afternoons, with my friend Kevin, and I must say that every other museum I've been to previously looks like a bad museum gift shop next to the Smithsonian museums. And the monuments and buildings are all remarkable. I took tons of pics, but they all suck compared to reality.

The socializing was excellent. Got to meet new people, including Jackie M.! Nice to see you in person. Got to catch up with the old UCLA astronomy crowd (Robert, Steve S., Suzi, Deborah, Brant). Hung out with the ASU astronomy crowd (Sam, Steve B., Paul, Kevin, Joe, Katie, Greg S., Hu, Ravi, Jason A.). Spent a lot of time, although not enough, with Philip.

As much as I was glad to come home, where Greg had a beautiful piece of azurite waiting for me from his road-trip, I was sad to leave D.C. There is still so much to explore there. I shall have to return soon.

6 comments:

Charly said...

:D

That looks like a really good time. You gotta show me the pics of the museum!

PS: I sooo like your new year's resolution.

Dr. Lisa said...

I've posted a few pix, but I didn't take any in the museums - wouldn't do justice to the beautiful objects I've seen.

I like my resolution, too.

Jackie M. said...

It was nice to finally meet you too! Sorry I was so busy talking all morning... the coffee line went right by my poster. Well, that, plus being mixed in with the Spitzer projects... I swear I was talking non-stop for four hours after I put the poster up! (Not that I'm really complaining -- it was a big improvement over my last AAS meeting, when only three people stopped by my poster.)

I was thinking about the MCC job... you know, if you're still actively recruiting for it, I could totally send an e-mail around to the UofA grads and postdoc. Do you have a job description lying around that's appropriate for a mass e-mailing?

Gosh, you actually walked around the north side of the White House? By the time we got there, we'd just finished walking from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and back, and the south lawn was the best we could manage. (Plus the snipers were kind of alarming...)

I hope you're feeling better!

Dr. Lisa said...

The snipers were the best part! :)

Glad to hear the poster went well. It's always a mixed blessing - one meeting, my poster was the first one visible upon entering the poster hall. That was exhausting.

I'll email the job description to ya - feel free to send it around!

Jackie M. said...

Okee-dokee, send it on over! (We also have buckets of planetary science and physics grads over here, and my understanding is that their job markets are even more depressing than astronomy, if you can believe... are planetary scientists or physics majors potential applicants for this job?)

Dr. Lisa said...

Worse than the astro job market? Egads. I sent the info along to you - a strong physics/astronomy/planetary physics background is necessary, but the planetary grads should have that.