I have just returned from the ESOT 2011 Congress in Glasgow. It was held in the very large congress centre (SECC) on the banks of the Clyde River in Glasgow. The SECC is a very impressive centre with one building containing the major auditoria and which resembles from the outside a mini edition of the Sydney Opera House, while a second connecting building has space for all the other activities such as the exhibition hall, mini lecture theatres and meeting rooms.
The meeting itself was absolutely first class and I felt it was the best ESOT Congress ever, with over 3,500 participants. Of note was the large number of participants from outside Europe, confirming the increasing international stature of ESOT. Many innovations were introduced. These included poster sessions on an electronic screen at which the authors spoke, giving a brief 3 minute presentation and then there were a number of mini theatres which hold about 20-30 people and where short presentations took place. You could even download the scientific programme as an app on your smartphone. There was also streaming of many of the key plenary sessions, even to members of the AST in the USA.
The local organising committee comprised Professors John Forsythe and Alan Jardine as co chairmen backed up by Professors Peter Friend, Keith Rigg, Anthony Warrens and Chris Watson. They had put an enormous amount of work into organising the scientific programme, and indeed fulfilled their advance notice that this was to be a new meeting! Furthermore the Chief Executive officer, Annalisa Ponchia, and her team, Chiara and Kate, had done a tremendous job with the administrative and social side of the congress. All in all this was a great success and a great occasion for the President, Professor Rutger Ploeg.