fluorine, uranium, carbon, and potassium

Call it an inside joke but the above was on one of the best t-shirts I saw at #scifoo last weekend*.  Actually, I was so taken by the t-shirt that I don’t recall the name of the person wearing it!  Sorry 🙂  Other things I forgot to do at SciFoo was take more pictures (the image of the board below is all I took), tweet and blog about it.

For those unfamiliar with SciFoo, it is an unconference encompassing pretty much anything the participants wish to talk about related to science, technology and largely the universe in general.  Sessions are proposed on the first evening by participants filling up the schedule board with ideas.  It is an un-conference because the schedule is put together at the event as opposed to a conference when the schedule is sorted out in advance, by the organisers.  Some conferences like Science Online London are hybrids with some plenary sessions, and some of the panel sessions sorted out in advance, often using a wiki to pool ideas.

SciFoo is overwhelming! There were around 280 people there, and a choice of at least 6 sessions per timeslot.  It was simply impossible to chose which to go to.  I decided it was better to go to an entire session than to flit between a couple, and ended up with a list of times and rooms listed in my notebook having forgotten entirely what I’d picked to go to.  In the end I went to one of the science and art sessions, and learned about some fantastic projects and galleries that warrants a post of its own, about three science and education sessions encompassing visions for new schools (K12) and engaging students with science initiatives and learning, and a variety of other things including astrobiology and the ethics of landing on Mars, the Ignite session, one of the Lightening talk sessions (mainly because I couldn’t decide what else to go to in that slot), and a couple of sessions on Nerd Activism and the like.  Between each session I was constantly made to think I’d missed out on some great stuff by not being in the other 7 rooms at the same time!

This post is lacking on detail, mainly because I’m still fighting through the fog of jet lag!   Anyway, I’m definitely glad I went to SciFoo and thanks have to go to the various organisers at O’Reilly Media, Nature and Google for a great experience, and the other campers!

*personally I think it could be improved a wee bit by having this structure on the back: