Between 10th and 15th July I attended the international annual meeting of SIAM as the representative for Cardiff’s student chapter. This year the meeting was held in Boston and I had a fantastic time there. The conference was the largest one I’ve attended, with over 1500 delegates from countries all over the world. The talks were diverse and interesting, with several of the plenary speakers delivering some of the best lectures I’ve ever seen. Particular mention must be given of Tadashi Tokieda, who gave the public lecture on ‘toy models’. This was such an interesting talk, aimed at a general public audience, which I am sure piqued many non-academics’ interest in science – something which I am personally very passionate about.
On the second day, there was a student breakfast organised for the student representatives attending the conference. Even though the breakfast started at 7am and there were several bleary-eyed attendees, it was a great experience to discuss the rôle of students in enhancing the SIAM community. I certainly came away from the event with lots of fresh ideas which I intend to implement in our Cardiff student chapter.
There were also plenty of other events which are worth mentioning, including the focus group that I was selected to attend to give feedback on the new SIAM website design and the student free book giveaway! This was quite an interesting experience, with over 100 students queueing well before the event. The poster session was also unusual in that it used some e-posters, something which I hadn’t encountered before. These were electronic posters which could include animations and other features not possible in printed versions – an interesting idea which I am sure will become more popular in future years.
Throughout the conference, as a student I felt very well taken care of and a valued member of the delegation. There were plenty of events and social evenings organised, and the hospitality of the venue was outstanding. I made some great friends and potential future collaboration partners from all over the world and this is the main thing I feel that I got out of this conference. Without the organisation of the student events, this would be a very different story. Therefore a huge ‘thank you’ is necessary for those students and members of SIAM who organised these activities in particular.
All in all I thought Boston was a fantastic city, with lots of interesting places to explore and things to see. I would definitely recommend the city, and I would also certainly recommend the next annual meeting of SIAM – to be held in Pittsburgh next July. I for one cannot wait!
Cardiff SIAM Student Chapter President