Where I'm Going to Be: Physics Conferences

I've mentioned before that I'm going to be giving an invited talk in the LaserFest session at the APS March Meeting. I finally got around to registering for the meeting, and booking my travel. $1,500 on the college credit card-- whee!

The March Meeting program is one of the more intimidating meeting programs I've ever seen-- there are 42 parallel sessions in every time block. Yikes. I thought DAMOP was getting to be a little too big to navigate, but this is ridiculous...

Speaking of DAMOP, I'll also be going to the 2010 DAMOP Meeting in Houston. I haven't booked my travel for that, yet, because it's still months out, but I did submit an abstract this morning on behalf of my thesis student this year, who's done great work, and earned a trip to a conference. I may be going out-of-pocket on that one, because the March Meeting eats my faculty travel allowance for the year, but I'll look at the funding situation later.

So, anyway, if you're going to be at one or both of those, I'll be there. I'll also look into setting up book promo stuff, for those who don't feel like paying $300+ in conference fees. And if you have any great advice to offer about things to do or see in Portland in March or Houston in May, let me know.

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Lots of good suggestions as to Portland activities for my trip to the March Meeting next week. There's a second, related problem that I also need help with: What should I do at the meeting itself? My usual conference is DAMOP, which I'll be going to in May, so while DAMOP is a participating…
In the last couple of weeks, I have suddenly acquired a rather full travel schedule for the coming months. The odd thing is that none of these trips are book-publicity junkets-- they're all basically professional-type appearances, several of them taking place before How to Teach Physics to Your Dog…
Matt "Dean Dad" Reed has a post about the issue of academic conference travel, which is expensive and often the first thing cut out of college budgets. Which leaves faculty either disconnected from their field, or paying out-of-pocket to attend meetings that they need to demonstrate their scholarly…
March is ages away, but it is time to start planning for the APS March meeting, to be held in the beautiful rose city, Portland, Oregon (Note to skiers that Mt. Hood is just a short distance away :) ) Anyway an important part of the March meeting are invites sessions and the quantum computing/…

There's plenty to see and do in Houston, and as I commented when you first mentioned DAMOP, you'll be right in the middle of things, near the light rail line if you want to get around without a car. Among the things nearby to consider:

- Discovery Green Park, which will likely have some events programmed at that time but is worth checking out regardless.

- The House of Blues, which doesn't have anything listed yet for that time period, but if you stay through Sunday, their gospel brunch is very popular.

- The Continental Club, for which you'd need to take the rail line. Be sure to visit Tacos a Go Go next door for a Tex Mex fix.

- You'll be too late for the annual Art Car Parade, but you could visit the Art Car Museum.

Just a few ideas there. Anything in particular you have in mind?

With DAMOP, about the only information I end up needing is where to go for lunch/ dinner/ beers. The meeting itself is usually full enough that I don't have time to do a lot of sightseeing. Occasionally, they'll have a whole schedule block full of inscrutable theory or other topics of little interest, and I'll skip out for a bit, but mostly, I act like a great big nerd and go to physics talks all day long.

OK then. The Lake House at Discovery Green Park is a nice if somewhat overpriced burger joint. The main draw here besides the food is that Discovery Green is a sweet little park, with free WiFi, if you want to dine al fresco downtown. If you're eating on someone else's dime, try The Grove at Discovery Green, or any of the downtown steak houses - Vic & Anthony's and The Strip House both come to mind.

My recommendation for Tacos a Go Go, for which you'll need to hop the light rail line to the Ensemble/HCC station, stands. Good, tasty, reasonably priced TexMex. I would also recommend Irma's, in the far northeast corner of downtown near Minute Maid Park (the baseball stadium) for a unique and old-school Houston experience. The original Ninfa's, on Navigation Road, is also worthwhile; the franchise version of it that's downtown, not so much. It's not bad, but there are many better options.

Sadly, the barbecue joint owned by Clyde Drexler's family is no longer in business. Goode Company Barbecue, near Rice University, is a standard favorite. For a newer and hipper take, try Beaver's on Washington Avenue, just west of downtown. There's a Pappas Barbecue downtown as well - it's good enough if your only option is to walk, as the others all require getting there by car.

If you like Vietnamese food, the Kim Son downtown is a fine choice, with a huge menu.

I'm too domesticated to be up on the best choices for adult beverages. I'm pretty sure whatever locals are at this event will steer you in a good direction for that.

Hope this helps. Have fun planning your trip.

For Houston, maybe check out Hermann Park, a former wasteland converted to its current glory over many years thanks to the leadership of a fellow Williams College alumnus (Class of '84) whose name escapes me. (See the current Alumni Review for details.)

My aunt and uncle have also taken me to the Beer-Can House and the Orange Show, but I can't say whether you'd like them.

Ohh! Portland is home to one of the world's great independent bookstores, Powell's. There is contact info on them here http://www.powells.com/info/contact.html if you want to try and arrange something with them. They do lots of author programs.

Also, Oregon is only 3 hours down I5 from Seattle. I might be out of town, but Jordin will probably be here should you like to visit.