My first academic conference (including dinner... in an aquarium!)

Posted in: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Postgraduate

Author: Ellie Marsh -

After starting my PhD recently (a month ago today to be exact),  I was lucky enough to be invited, by my second supervisor, to the Nordic Seminar on Computational Mechanics at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden. And, of course, I accepted!

With some last minute planning and already feeling like a real jetsetter, I booked my one night trip and the following week it was happening. I arrived on the second day of the conference, and jumped straight into some parallel sessions on Structural Mechanics and Optimisation. In comparison to reading papers during the first few weeks of my PhD, these 20 minute presentations were a great quick insight into this broad and complex research area, and it was a great way to meet and network with PhD students from other universities.

However, the real fun (and some bemusement) came when we were told that our conference dinner would take place at the “Universeum”. If you are asking yourself, "What is the Universeum?", you are not alone! The Universeum is a science centre (similar to @Bristol for those from my native South West) with a four-storey rainforest exhibit with sloths and other animals; a space exhibit (where I got to play a cool version of space invaders with my supervisor) and an aquarium. As we were visiting out of normal opening hours (it felt a bit like Night at the Museum), before dinner we had full access to the centre and its activities.

We were escorted into the reptile and aquarium exhibit where dinner was to be served. As you can see by the picture - it was very cool! Although, I must admit eating Plaice in front of an audience of Plaice was a new experience for me! The evening continued with lovely food, wine and a hilarious Eurovision song contest with the conference attendees. Although, I must admit me and my supervisor kept quiet when they were asking for further entries - what would we have sung anyway?!

Posted in: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Postgraduate


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