S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen
owlfish

Conference in a nutshell

After three intense days, the conference is over. It's easier to refer to it as "the conference" than by its name, for I'm not really sure how much of the name I need to include to be sure I've covered the whole thing. The handouts proclaim that it was this - "Circulating Knowledge": Fifth Joint Meeting of the BSHS, CSHPS/SCHPS, and the HSS. Even then, however, all the society names are still abbreviated, so there's also a longer version of the title where all the names of the societies are spelled out. I'll just call it "the conference".

In summary, it was good. I learned a great deal, mostly about things well outside what I usually study, and I met a great many interesting people with whom I hope to keep in touch. I ate good meals and went back three times, with a large group, to the Henry House Pub, one of the best pubs I've ever encountered (this coming from someone who doesn't even drink beer). I caught up with many old friends, for, as many good conferences are, this one was a reunion for me of people who graduated in years past from my current department. I met friends of friends, both academic and non. The weather was lovely half of the time and pouring rain the rest. I learned about fraud, preserving corpses with wax in their blood vessels, nineteenth century science education for teenagers, ancient Greek logic, preserved laboratory fish, and manuscript stemma.

My paper went well. The audience asked good questions, some thought-provoking, which was a pleasant change. I'm always hungry for more content feedback than I usually receive. As usual at non-medieval conferences, I was in a token medieval session, but the three disparate papers in the session at least had the commonality of being textually-based. We were exceedingly efficient as well, and finished half-an-hour early, even with a few questions for everyone.

The University of King's College was a wonderful venue. It is a splendid example of a well-off university spending its money in sensible and satisfying ways. The facilities were in perfect shape, the classrooms nicely designed, the faculty innovative and quirky, the maintenance staff friendly, and the technical staff as efficient as I've ever seen - they would come no more than sixty seconds after being called and promptly fix whatever the problem was.

It was my first dedicated History of Science conference, and it was a good one.
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