Well, I made it.  There and Back Again (but with less dragons, alas).  I even managed to give a presentation without making a complete* ass of myself.  I’ve already written about how I don’t like presentations, so I’ll spare you the repeat performance.

In all the 34th International Geological Congress was a 5 day extravaganza of all things geology and (mostly) mining.  There were several thousand registered attendees;  at any one time at least four sessions were going on with topics as diverse as calculating equilibrium reactions in metamorphic rocks (in which my brain exploded about 5 minutes into the keynote), forensic geoscience, groundwater in East Timor, the Hadean earth and the evolution of the biosphere.

Needless to say I saw some frikkin brilliant talks and had some great conversations about exciting science.**  And it’s always nice when other people are interested in your work.

One of my favourite talks was a keynote address by this man about ‘The influence of reaction affinity on metamorphic processes’ (ie the interplay between equilibrium and kinetics in metamorphic reactions).  Sounds technical.  Is technical.  But somehow it was presented in such a way that I understood, and can even have intelligent* conversations about.

Oh, and there were sand sculptures.  Which were destroyed each day and turned into something new.

*rough estimate
**I find “networking” to be a dirty word, (and not in a good way) so I don’t do it.  What I do instead is talk to people.