Scientific conferences: everyone thinks they’re just glorified booze-ups but more often than not you spend nine or ten hours a day sitting in stuffy rooms in a concrete box located in an industrial complex in the suburbs of a city you would never have visited if you had the choice. Luckily I spent last week in Montpellier, where they have beaches, sunshine and 30C. Yet somehow I still managed to spend nine or ten hours a day being bored, confused or, occasionally, inspired. Now Last week was the Euromat conference, during which I pretended to be a materials scientist and learned about composites, hip replacements, solar cells, railway line degradation and hundreds of talks about carbon nanotubes. This week, I’m doing it all again. Geology replaces materials, but the rain of Switzerland replaces the French sunshine. More on this later, once the freezing cold and shocking prices have properly kicked in.

In the mean time, here are some photos from Montpellier.


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