Boston trip - Part 1

OK, back home and rested - it's time for a pictorial report, in two parts. This one is social, the other part will be about the conference itself. All of it under the fold...

Day 1

On Thursday morning I got up early, took the kids to school, loaded my luggage and got started for the airport. As my car was on empty I had to stop at the nearest gas station to fill up and, who stops behind me and start pumping gas? John Edwards. In jeans. Elizabeth was in the car. He recognized me and said Hello. I said Hello. A regular guy, in a regular car, wearing regular clothes, doing something we all do - putting gas in the car at a local station.

The flight was smooth and uneventful, though I was still nervous about flying due to my
last hair-raising flight last week. The in-flight magazine was surprisingly good, with several interesting articles, including one about NaNoWriMo, so reading that helped my anxiety somewhat.

Anna picked me up at the airport and took me to Cambridge. We left my luggage at the Harvard Faculty Club (and I stupidly left my camera there as well) and, after a crepe breakfast, went for a nice stroll around the Harvard campus and Harvard Square, leaving our scented mark in the Wideman Library.

Then I checked in at the Harvard Faculty Club - here are some pictures of it (and what can one see from the front door):

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i-322f86e0b1992e185d270243beb59ae4-Harvard Faculty Club 2.jpg
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i-b90ec7f4250427b8318b13abc3dee61e-Harvard Faculty Club 4 (view).jpg

Probably a place that until relatively recently did not allow women inside, but it certainly had an air of history around it. I only had about an hour there at first. Wifi was good and I checked my e-mail and then contacted Alex.

Soon after, we met at Cuchi Cuchi. As I was feeling a beginning of a headache, I started the evening with Tylenol, which I took with a coffee heavily laced with copious amounts of Kahlua and cognac. That was a good start of the evening. Since this is a tapas place we ordered something like fifteen different dishes and each one was amazing! It will be hard to ever again order lamb after tasting their offering! Oh, and Alex ordered a drink for me, something that was pretty much pure alcohol with a small addition of something that made it taste good. Who was there? Alex, Anna, Ginny, Melissa Laird from Harvard Virology program (and a Facebook friend) and me. Here are some alcohol-induced pictures (the last one is of me and the hostess - thanks, Alex):

i-c384812d8f07c11dccbf63f86c2670ed-1 Jinny at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-6cb09df6662afaf4874a82c0da3eba4c-2 Anna and me at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-27e42852b886a3cca0ecda389af09ceb-3 Alex and me at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-3e824b6d35600e0e4a4cabaa219ff935-3 Alex at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-2f796f63e0fac662fdae94a051aa70f3-3 Melissa and Ginny at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-1b5446f5df70c0def9a91cd29bd4df07-6 Melissa and Alex at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-e46a7f25ab3ef9de88bea090dd0245ba-7 Melissa and Ginny at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-cecb56d026ab76866d471aafa339cf23-8 Anna at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg
i-3556b1250460ad961ccc6ca00cffd4b9-9 me and the hostess at Cuchi Cuchi.jpg

When we were done, Alex and I went to the Miracle Of Science bar and grill. The menu is on the blackboard, in the shape of a Periodic Table of Elements. We had Guinness. Anna, after getting a new haircut, joined us there shortly:

i-3af67527c2c4ad63823cf7a3da9543ad-10 Science Bar.jpg
i-45949601de66945640a0bbdf5e87a457-11 Anna at Science Bar.jpg
i-ab4d5505cc064da77456dff9515fc70d-12 Alex at Science Bar.jpg

Day 2

I checked out at 10am from the Harvard faculty Club. Anna picked Robert Kylie (from the Wellcome Trust) and me and took us to the Elliott Hotel where we checked in. Then she took us to the Harvard Medical School for the Conference:

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i-260a9772542da5f2a3a2694ac0716131-Harvard Medical School 3.jpg

Report from the Conference will be a separate post later, but just to say that we all converged in a room in Biophysics Department for lunch and greeting each other beforehand, and had some nice cheese and wine at the reception in the Atrium after the meeting.

After the Conference was over, we went out for dinner. Who was there? Kishore Kuchibhotla and Zeba Wunderlich, both Co-Chairs of the meeting and both Biophysics students; Kelly Anne Dakin (Neuroscience), also a co-organizer; Anna Kushnir from Virology, Moshe Pritsker and Nikita Bernstein of the Journal of Visualized Experiments, Michelle from Biophysics who organized all the travel and hotels for us, Hilary Spencer of Nature Precedings, Corie Lok and Emily who used to TA for one of my collaborators at UNC (how the world is small!). The food was delicious and the desserts enormous!

i-1c8cd8829a1cac7081c84548d1dcfa60-Dinner 0.jpg
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i-89beb41667da3b86a9fc43cbb8bc0dcf-Dinner 2.jpg
i-045705e27bc82a765d60c1611b34d7f8-Dinner 3.jpg
i-bf4bd554522f89df67271c75d5f6b91b-Dinner 4.jpg
i-0b3f16c2265c6dbad7ad74015e513a1e-Dinner 5.jpg
i-b89cfa11a59212bcf8f7987309831e7f-Dinner 6.jpg
i-7c682b4b2071ff160c92df25f60959f5-Dinner 7.jpg
i-7334d7f6ee96bbc6a478cf9a303297d7-Dinner 8.jpg
i-47de82889623f6efca8a90d22a2433c8-Dinner 9.jpg
i-47991725eed06d05d27aaac933b435ce-Dinner 10.jpg
i-51fe6aae35093fb598ad9b203d6ece22-Dinner 11.jpg
i-5c68b61bc0dc19ce081d4990941fb8fc-Dinner 12.jpg
i-0396eac982471bc10f0786d897fcbc23-Dinner 13.jpg

Later we went to another nearby bar (the name eludes me), for another Guinness...

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The whole event was practically a Scifoo reunion. Apart from me, the veterans of Scifoo present at the conference included Anna, Alex, Corie, Moshe, Nikita, Felice Frankel and Kaitlin Thaney (have I missed anyone?). And at the bar we met another Scifoo camper - Catherine Nolan, O'Reilly Editor and Head First recruiter. She had quite a double-take when she saw all those campers walk into a bar:

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i-cafc72c1887b80fce19cac97e69a4b93-Bar 3.jpg
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Day 3

I got up late. Anna picked me up at the hotel. We went around the corner for coffe to a really cool coffee shop, in which the radio played my favourite Bob Dylan song of all times. A good ending to a good trip.

The flight home was even smoother than the first one and 'Scientific American' helped me with nervousness about flying. Drove home nicely and had great dinner with my wife at Town Hall Grill afterwards. Report from the meeting itself coming soon....

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I even had a tie ready, but Harold Varmus told me a tie does not fit the PLoS image so I never put it on.

It was great seeing you again. Sorry we didn't do anything Saturday morning ... we took off to NYC for a weekend of debauchery.

Alex ordered a drink for me, something that was pretty much pure alcohol with a small addition of something that made it taste good

It was a caipirinha=, the Brazilian national drink.

Thank you for withholding the more incriminating photographs. I am sure you had plenty of them!
Very glad your return trip was a breeze.


I did not withold those that were incriminating Alex or myself - my wife asked "Why are you hugging all those beautiful people?"