Friday, July 28, 2017By:
My week has been a bit of an adventure! This past week I have been at a conference in Oxford! Starting Friday afternoon, I was getting ready for and heading to Oxford, England. My flights were uneventful except that the flight from New York to London was empty and I got 3 seats to myself, so I very promptly laid down and slept for the large majority of the flight. After landing in London Heathrow on Saturday, I waited for my friend to arrive. He is doing an internship in Germany at the Max Plank institute. After he arrived we both headed for the bus from London to Oxford. It is nice to spend that time catching up with a good friend. Once we arrived at St. Anne’s College (one of the colleges in the University of Oxford), I went to settle into my dorm/lodge staying. I had to do a fair bit of work on my presentation for the next week and I also had to fight everyone’s long term flight enemy: Jet Lag! The next day included more work on my presentation and going into downtown Oxford to pick up a few items I missed when packing. On a related note, England is chilly compared to D.C. which was refreshing but I am ready to get back to the nice weather. That night (Sunday), we opened the conference with a drink mixer. I met a few new people and got to use my business cards. I am still nervous when meeting people and it kept me from making more connections over this past week.
The next day was the official start of the conference! This was the borate-phosphate glass conference. This conference was special to my college because we hosted the conference in 2002 and this conference was held in my professor, Steve Feller’s honor. We also bring a big group to this conference due to my school’s specialization in borate glasses. Overall, we had 8 students (6 presented), over 5 alumni, and 2 professors attend this conference. My research has mostly revolved around a bactericidal application of borate glasses. But most of the research presented was on the structure of borate glasses which I know very little about, so unfortunately most of the talks went well above my head. On Monday night Coe College hosted a reception for all the Coe College students, alumni and faculty. But on Tuesday I presented my research that I have been working on since the summer of 2015. It was my first time giving a professional talk, it was 20 minutes and I was so nervous. Once I got up there and started talking, it all fell back into place. After giving the talk it seemed like I was given credit by the other conference attendees. People were coming up to me with questions and recognized who I was. From my perspective, it seemed like I had been officially introduced to the scientific community. Later that night we had a dinner with just the Coe college students and one of our professors. The next day was the end of the borate conference. We had talks in the morning and then the Coe students that afternoon tried to go visit Stonehenge but ultimately failed. Instead we toured around Oxford more. That night was the conference banquet, where my professor, Steve Feller, was honored again by a speech from his two daughters. The next morning, we went back to London due to the fact that we had early flights on Friday.
That Thursday, we went to the British museum and walked down to the London Eye. At the British museum I was able to see the Rosetta Stone, all sorts of mummies (like Cleopatra), an Easter Island statues, statues from the Parthenon in Athens, and many other cool items. That museum is truly a tribute to the world. On the walk to the London Eye, I got pcitures of Big Ben, the Westminster parliament building, and Westminster Abby. That night in true London fashion I went to see a musical at the Dominion Theatre. It was an American in Paris which was incredibly interesting with fabulous set design and lighting. The ballet musical was based around 3 young men in Paris after WWII, it showed the love and art that blossomed there after the war. It was an interesting tribute to the ideas of love and duty.
Then today (Friday), I have been flying. Fortunately/Unfortunately, there is a huge storm in DC and flights seem to be getting cancelled. But my connection was in Boston were my sister lives. So, I will be staying the weekend with my sister. It should be fun!
Victoria (Tori) Eng