MICROSCIENCE 2010, the Royal Microscopical Society's flagship meeting held at ExCeL London at the end of June, attracted 519 conference delegates - the first time that the 500-barrier has been broken. And, the overall visitor-target of 2,000 was also reached.
The international conference featured three parallel themes containing eighteen symposia devoted to Life, Materials, and New Frontiers. They struck a balance between biological and physical sciences, and light, electron and other microscopies. This breadth made MICROSCIENCE 2010 the Society's most inclusive event yet.
"In 2008 and 2010 we focused on developing the scientific-standing of the conference, and it has really paid off," says Dr Debbie Stokes, Co-Chair of the Organising Committee. "The tone and quality was set each day by the Plenary Speakers - Dr Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas, and Professor Wolfgang Baumeister. The standard of the science throughout has been very high, and the first feedback from delegates has been extremely positive."
The conference sat alongside Europe's largest exhibition dedicated to microscopy and imaging. A record 1,170m2 of space was taken by nearly 100 companies. The quality of the stands, and the range and value of equipment on show was quite breathtaking. Rod Shipley of FEI, who is Vice-chair of the RMS Corporate Advisory Board, summed it up succinctly; "MICROSCIENCE continues to be the best commercial exhibition in Europe."
The final number of 2,139 visitors is just 45 short of the 2008 figure. This is despite the downturn in the economy that made it difficult for many - especially those not presenting their work - to obtain funding for travel.
"It's been a very worthwhile event," says Huw Thomas of Leica Microsystems UK, and Chair of the RMS Corporate Advisory Board. "The visitor numbers have been good and the team on the stand have been busy the whole time. What's most encouraging is that we have met with a number of new groups and we can look forward to developing relationships with them in the future."
All of the positive features from this year will feed in to the planning of the European Microscopy Congress which the Society will host in London in 2012.
EMC 2012 will be twice the size of MICROSCIENCE 2010 and it aims to be even more inclusive, bringing together researchers, practitioners, and companies in new and novel ways - and, not just from Europe, but from Asia, Australasia, and the Americas.
"This year the RMS put together a super wide-ranging conference on almost all aspects of microscopy, together with one of the best exhibitions you are likely to see," says Professor Tony Wilson, newly elected President of the RMS, and Vice-chair of the EMC Organising Committee. "In 2012 we are being more ambitious and planning something even better, and I would encourage anybody with a passion for microscopy and imaging to put the date in their diary."
The European Microscopy Congress 2012 will be at ExCeL London, 16th - 21st September 2012. The First Call for Papers will be made on 1st October 2011.
For further details, www.emc2012.org.uk