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Getting ready for crystallographic meetings – IUCr 2011

International Union of Crystallography meeting 2011

It has been some time since I have wrote here; I have been too busy writing the BSF grant before taking the flight to Madrid for the tri-annual meeting of world wide crystallophers. Madrid is a wonderfull setup for this meeting with plan aimed at Macro and small -molecule crystallography as well as other specialized crystallography fields. The plan is extensive with lectures, poster sessions and meetings from 9 in the morning to almost 8 in the evening. The warm climate with bright skies invites many to explore Madrid and it’s surrounding when the sessions are taking their tolls.

Again, I flew alone to Madrid. Natalie couldn’t come and thus I found myself flying on an EL-AL morning flight, landing at Madrid’s airport a bit before 11in the morning. On the flight I met Sergey Kapishnikov and Liron David, two graduate students from the Weizmann institute of Science and Technion. Sergey performs his studies at the Leslie Leiserowitz’s lab, on a hemozoin crystals combining X-Ray techniques with EM methodologies project. Liron performs her research on the Phycobilisome antenna megacomplex through macromolecullar crystallography. The flight was pleasant though the landing took over 30 minutes as we were told to hold at mid air for 15 minutes before getting the clearance to land at Madrid.
Once we’ve crossed the border we went straight for the Metro, one of the cleanest and modern metros I have seen yet (there are some old lines but most are excellent and very modern). At that point we had already a split, as I noticed the line #8 train ready to leave, the warning buzzer sound echoed across the hall as I jumped into the train with my trolly, backpack and poster case. Turning around I saw Liron and Sergey hesitating, not sure this was the train to down town Madrid. I managed to persuade them to join with wave handing. Finally they made the decision to join when the doors slammed on their faces. At that point a local guy that witnessed all this commotion shoved his hand in between the doors (it surely loooked painful) and tried to pry open the doors, which were quite resistant. At the end, he retracted his hand and the train moved on. While I had still eye contact with Liron and Sergey, I have signaled to her that I will be waiting at the last station, Nuevos Ministerios. Yeah, me and my plans!
I was waiting for ten minutes at Nuevos Ministerios station, when I saw the next train coming into a stop only to realize that some 100 people disembarked at the same second, making locating Liron and Sergey a difficult mission. I went through the crowd and tried to locate her without success. Have I missed her? And if not, then why didn’t she boarded the train? Later on I realized that she must have boarded the the train that left in a difference of twenty and not ten minutes.

With that I had the choice of either staying and wait till Liron and Sergey arrive on the next train or to try and reach the dormitories by myself, hopefully meeting with Liron there (Sergey have booked an hotel lodging). I decided to try and reach the dormitories and with that I boarded the connecting line 6 only to follow fellow crystallographers that also came to the present in the IUCr meeting (it was easy to identify them as they were hauling poster cases). Turned out that they were from Brazil and after walking around the Moncloa metro station we eventually one small sign directing toward the dormitories. Can’t really understand why the organizing people didn’t think about more elaborate directions so it will be easier.
And indeed at the main dormitories building I found Liron coming with her luggage – it seemed that we were lodged on the same floor, where every two single rooms had shared bathroom. When I reached my room I found that the neighboring room was occupied by Sophi Lipstman from Israel’s Goldberg lab (small molecule crystallography). She has just arrived from the conference to pick up her key and was preparing to go back for her lecture. Not realizing the time needed to reach the congress avenue, I offered Sophi we will join her as we needed to pickup our convention pack. Turns out that traveling from our dormitories to the venue took almost 50 minutes (!) each direction. A lot of time was wasted every morning requiring us to walk approximately 10-15 minutes to the nearest metro station, then taking two lines to reach the venue, which was located close to the airport (i.e. on the other side of town). Later that day we had a cocktail reception that eventually knocked us unconscious for the rest of the evening.

More to come…

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One comment on “Getting ready for crystallographic meetings – IUCr 2011

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