A Grad Student Perspective on the Hilo Meeting
by Eric Cytrynbaum and Brad Peercy, University of Utah.
Shallow water waves and viscous flow of molten rock. Sounds more like a fluid dynamics meeting than the annual SMB gathering. But this year, the SMB and the Japanese Association for Mathematical Biology (JAMB) had the brilliant plan to meet halfway, in Hilo, Hawaii.
The official program lived up to all expectations with talks covering all scales of life and many corners of the world from rippling bacteria in the Bay area to patchy trees in Japan. Sessions on immunology, cancer and ecology (and many others) filled out the schedule. Many of us discovered just exactly how long 15 minutes is. Others learned to love Bill G. (did someone say "linux" or maybe even "chalk"?). And we all learned the meanings of Aloha.
Outside the lecture halls, another world awaited. Trips to the great waterfalls of the Big Island, Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls, filled the afternoons as did hikes through Pele's wasteland of lava. Strolling on the crater floor or stumbling through the lava tubes, Volcano National Park is an experience from another world.
This idea of a midpoint meeting is pretty good. Next year in Tennessee?
(Photos at http://www.math.utah.edu/~eric/photo_album/hawaii/ )