Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

Materials Girl: At the ACS

[Posted on behalf of Materials Girl]

According to the flight attendant on intercom, we arrived in “the beautiful tropical paradise” of San Francisco. Hah! Compared to the freezing weather elsewhere, 50-60 °F [10-15.55555 °C – NW] probably is a true paradise, but the joke also felt like a jab towards those of us not running wild on spring break (I never was one of those undergrads). Really, though, this is another sort of paradise – or at least a nice vacation. Winter finals are over, traveling is a rare luxury for me, and, most importantly, I have a valid excuse to be away from the lab. It’s my first ACS meeting!

Conventions are all about connections, and before they start it’s a good idea to check out the digital landscape. For example, if you kept up with The Sceptical Chymist (and Twitter) you would know that some Nature editors might be heading to SF. I hadn’t, actually, hence Gavin’s post was fresh news when I took an internet break at 8pm. Aside from helpful tips for a first-timer, it was revealed that Nature Publishing Group had a stand in Moscone Center…

And so, near the end of the first day exposition, a lone student limped over to booth #1000 on a mission to find Gavin. “Hi, I’m Materials Girl! How’s life in London?” That was me – cheerful, but bleary eyed and ruing the invention of the 3” stiletto heel [76.2 mm – NW] (wisdom dictates that I dress down tomorrow). Despite fatigue, it was the highlight of my day. Meeting people means so much more when you have a tangible connection and a host of topics to discuss. My only complaints are that Neil and Stu are far away – only existing as email addresses and Twitter feeds!

This week will be madness, but I look forward to it. In the meantime, I’ll try to choose which talks to attend, get some sleep, and start following @gav33. It’s already Monday.


  1. Report this comment

    RM said:

    Err … undue precision?

    * 50-60 °F [10-15.55555 °C – NW] probably is a true paradise

    I doubt that extra 0.55555 really makes a difference, especially since MG was rounding to the nearest 10 °F — saying 10-15 °C would have probably sufficed.

    * ruing the invention of the 3” stiletto heel [76.2 mm – NW]

    Likewise, I doubt manufacture’s of women’s footwear have such tight tolerances. 76 mm is probably good enough. Heck, saying 75 mm is probably close enough.

    Sorry to be nit-picky, but this is a chemistry blog, after all.

  2. Report this comment

    Neil said:

    Guilty as charged!

    Perhaps this incident will be the catalyst that convinces the USA to adopt the system the rest of the world is using (admittedly badly in the UK)…

  3. Report this comment

    The Sceptical Chymist said:

    Materials Girl: ACS gives theobroma (food of the gods)

    [Posted on behalf of Materials Girl] …they will be raffling off at least two massive, 10 lb chunks of bittersweet chocolate [4.5 kg – NW]…

  4. Report this comment

    MG said:

    Wouldn’t that be something – “Outcry over graduate student’s chemistry blog pushes United States to adopt metric system!”

    To be REALLY nitpicky, I could argue that Neil didn’t round up the final digit in the recurring 5’s to 15.5556 😉

  5. Report this comment

    Neil said:

    I was trying to work out how to do the dot over the last 5 in HTML…but seeing as we can’t even do super- or subscripts I just gave up.