Workshops with a difference

Small workshops and conferences are fun!

When the speakers come from fields very different from you own, the fun quotient seems to increase even more.

This was reinforced for me at the recent workshop on Biomimetics held at Imperial College. Getting to hear talks from chemists, biologists, zoologists,  physicists and engineers on talks that had one primary connection: bio-inspiration or bio-mimicry was really interesting.

Animals that prey tend to have slit pupils as opposed to round pupils for animals that don’t prey. Connect that to design of optical systems, computer vision and algorithms!

Or think of how colour originates from arrangement of butterfly wing scales because of wave interference effects rather than pigments. Now use this for colour that doesn’t fade.

It helped that I had the opportunity to invite some speakers I really wanted to hear as a co-oganiser!

Another thing I like about smaller events is the informal nature: fewer people and enough time provides space for meaningful interaction. The atmosphere is intimate and relaxed. Spending a day (or two) with a small group helps foster interaction.

Next time I’ll blog about another smaller workshop that I enjoyed in Delhi.

Cheers till then!

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