Saturday, 1 November 2014

SVP 2014 - Berlin


 Well it is that time of year again and, despite not being able to blog as much as I would have liked to have done, I am still delighted to be able to attend this year’s Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s conference. This year it is a fairly local event for me being held, as it is, in Berlin in Germany and continues the society’s’ recent commitment to hold the event outside of the USA every fifth year. On the first occasion (2009) it was held in Bristol in the UK and I understand that the society was looking outside of Europe initially for this meeting but events transpired that required it being held in Berlin.
As usual I have been going through the abstract volume marking out what I want to see and there are far more posters of interest this year although there are still many oral presentations that I am keen to see. It will be interesting to see how the vertical presentation of the posters will affect the ability of people to see them clearly and I know that this is causing some concern amongst a few of my colleagues but until we see how it goes it is probably best not to be too alarmist.
Again, what stands out for me, is the degree of research that features further progressive, and I have to say, impressive futuristic technology that is enabling palaeontologists to be able to reveal information that even five years ago would have been impossible to ascertain. This is an exciting and dynamic branch of our science that shows no signs of abating and simply by comparing research presented at last year’s conference, with what is being presented in Berlin, highlights the relentless pace of technological progression and enhancement that is wonderfully inevitable within this field. I cannot wait to see what wonders will be revealed over the next ten years and beyond.
The trip also enables me to visit the wonderful   Museum für Naturkunde – something I have always wanted to do but never quite got round to doing. Although the welcome reception for the meeting will be held at the museum on the Wednesday evening, we do intend to go to the museum on the Tuesday for a much more laid back look at the collection and I can hardly wait to see the fabled material from Tendaguru – one of the truly great dinosaur bone collections in the world.

Of course one of the best things about SVP is the chance to catch up with so many friends and colleagues from around the world and it looks like many of them are going to be there so I am really looking forward to a great event. This enables you to be able to network with colleagues and discuss future research and field work and is a great opportunity for our group to continue to register its presence in the palaeoworld.
This will be my last SVP meeting for two years so I will not be in Dallas next year but I hope to be back in Salt Lake City in 2016. However, the fact that I have managed to attend the last three, including Berlin, represents a nice run and I am constantly aware of how lucky I have been to attend these wonderful meetings – I never take these things for granted.
And the reason for not going to Dallas in 2015? Well next year will represent a great opportunity for me and I am hopeful that I will be spending three weeks doing field work in the USA which is, of course, subject to changes that can occur when these things are first planned. But the outlook is positive and I am excited by the prospect.
So it is my intention to report on this year’s meeting and some of the research that will be presented and hopefully to blog about it on my return but for now – onward to Berlin! 

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