Terra Sigillata

This message has now appeared on the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting site:

UPDATE: Southern California Fires & Annual Meeting

As Neuroscience 2007 approaches, SfN is monitoring the fires in the greater San Diego County area very closely and we continue to be in regular contact with area officials. While the situation is a tragedy for the affected outlying communities, we have been assured that the convention center, downtown areas, and airport remain open and are not at risk, and that Neuroscience 2007 is not expected to be significantly affected when it kicks off on November 3.

While no disruption of meeting activities or travel is anticipated, media coverage has raised questions about potential health or safety concerns. The well-being of our attendees is our highest priority. Convention and tourism authorities are expanding their range of public information to include up-to-date findings on air quality for the downtown area and other issues that would impact safety or mobility. Based on the information from local authorities, anticipated improving conditions by next week do not warrant altering plans for the Neuroscience 2007 meeting.

We encourage you to check www.visitsandiego.com regularly for updates about the fires, and for information about donating to or assisting with relief efforts recommended by the local authorities.


We posted this past Wednesday on the precedent for canceling a major scientific conference at the last minute: the 2003 AACR meeting in Toronto due to the provincial SARS concerns. While the San Diego and Los Angeles county fires posed less risk to the viability the Society for Neuroscience meeting at 10 days to 2 weeks prior to the meeting commencement, I wanted to convey to readers the complications of canceling such a large meeting.

The other intent of the post was to illustrate the excellent investigative and legal skills of the meeting planning writer, Martha C. Collins. (Frankly, I had not known previously of such robust activity and interest in the meeting planning industry.). Her review and discussion of the aftermath and implications of the 2003 AACR meeting cancellation is one of the best I’ve read.