Jen-Luc Piquant and I are heading off this afternoon, but we’re each going our separate ways. She’s, well, going to do whatever avatars do in Cyberspace for "down time." Don’t ask, don’t tell, right? I am en route to San Francisco for the 2006 Industrial Physics Forum, on nanotechnology in society and manufacturing. It’s being held this year in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Vacuum Society. That’s "vacuum" as in "Nature abhors a….", not as in a Hoover, for all you smart alecks out there. And yes, it’s a common misunderstanding. One year, the AVS memorably offered stickers with a Hoover inside a red circle with a line through it, a la Ghostbusters. Clearly some staff member got tired of fielding phone calls from people in need of home appliance repair and sought catharsis through merchandising. (Jen-Luc heartily approves.)
Anyway, in an interesting twist, I’ll be live-blogging the meeting on behalf of the American Institute of Physics, which organized the IPF each year. They’ve set up a separate blog for me and everything, and you can see my first introductory post here. [SECOND UPDATE: Linkage problem solved! The problem with the link is, there needs to be a backslash at the tail end of the address, like so: http://blogs.physicstoday.org/industry/]. Bookmark it, and check in regularly beginning Sunday evening through Friday for some of the highlights of what promises to be a fascinating few days. The posts will be much shorter (that’s the idea, anyway, although it has been pointed out to me that I have a real problem with writing short), pithier, and — sadly — a bit less snarky, given the absence of Jen-Luc Piquant, but it won’t be your usual boring meeting recap either. And they’ll be more frequent, as in, two or three times a day. Comments and trackbacks will be enabled, so hopefully we can get some discussion going as well, on the science, ethics, policy issues, or random trivia surrounding nanotechnology — whatever comes to mind. It’s certainly a rich topic for debate. (Comments will be moderated, but I’m pretty easy with the delete button, so long as everyone plays nice.)
This is a new approach for AIP, and I’m really excited about participating, even though it means I’m going to be absolutely crazed the entire time. It’ll be worth it. A lot of organizations are skeptical of blogs and their ability to reach the target audience, disseminate information, or what have you. We all know differently, and if this fledgling venture proves successful, perhaps AIP (and other scientific societies) will consider doing more of them. So I hope my fellow science bloggers, among others, will check it out and link to it, if they do desire. That is my not-so-subtle hint at self-promotion. (Jen-Luc Piquant was all set with a bullhorn, but I told her that wouldn’t be necessary.) In particular, there’s numerous nanotech-specific blogs who might be interested: Advanced Nanotechnology, Nano Public, Nanotech Buzz, Responsible Nanotechnology, Nanotech Law, Nanobot, even a blog by the Foresight Institute’s Christine Peterson. And those are just the ones whose names begin with "nano."
What about Cocktail Party Physics? You may be wondering. Lee Kottner will be ably filling in yet again for the next week, until the madness of the IPF live-blogging experience is over. She’s got several terrific posts in the works — I cheated and took a preview peek — including an update on the space elevator and the Mars program. Jen-Luc Piquant and I will be back in 10 days, with a new batch of fun and fascinating posts of our own. Au revoir!