Monday, December 10, 2012

Festival of Light Emitting Diodes

Approximately one year ago, I was in Lyon, France to present at Forum LED, a European lighting conference that attempts to bring together science and industry of the LED world.  It turned out to be heavy on the industry and light on the science, so I felt a bit out of my element.

My session chair emailed me the day before my talk to suggest: "I am still wondering if you should not alleviate the scientific content on your talk? Don't you think?" I did, and it was probably a good exercise to lighten my usual research-heavy presentation for a more general audience. It went fine. The conference was interesting overall and gave me the chance to learn some of the challenges for implementing LEDs into the real world.

At my advisors suggestion, I allowed myself time for extra travelling before and after the two-day conference, which went surprisingly well considering I don't speak a lick of French. At times, traveling solo felt humiliating and lonely, but for the most part I enjoyed tromping around on my own and sight-seeing, especially since the LED conference happened to overlap with Lyon's Fete des Lumieres, or Festival of Lights. Which, happily enough, employed lots of LEDs!

These videos give only a small taste of what the experience was like. All over town, buildings are lit up at night with lights and projected animation shows. They closed several streets from traffic to allow thousands (millions?) of visitors to wander around and gape at all the displays. All in one weekend in December. Pretty amazing!

Other lessons I learned on this trip:
  • Look up the maximum hotel per diem rate before booking a room at the conference hotel.
  • Dragging a roller-suitcase through cobblestone is really tiring.
  • If it's going to be raining, bring leather boots and lots of extra socks.
  • Bubble baths RULE, especially when you've done said tromping around in said cobblestone in said boots and rain all day.
  • Jet lag sucks. 
  • 24 hour room service RULES.
  • Trains ALSO RULE.
  • When you're at a conference and don't know anyone there and are socially awkward, it's ok to skip the official conference banquet and take yourself out for a nice dinner instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.