M&M 2018 – Looking ahead

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It’s that time of year when microscopy professionals gather to discuss and educate themselves about what’s hot in our field and how we can utilise our various microscopies to answer questions that researchers have. The annual MSA meeting, Microscopy & Microanalysis, comes to Baltimore, MD from 5-9th August and in what has become tradition for me, I’m going to give a glimpse at what you should know about the host city before you go. Here are my top things to see and do in ‘Charm City’:

  1. Baltimore is a port city on the east coast of the USA, known for its seafood, specifically the Maryland Blue Crab. The city has many fine eating establishments and brew houses, especially in the harbour area including the Rusty Scupper
  2. The historic waterfront neighbourhood of Fells Point is a lively area with bars, pubs and clubs, a definite must on a trip to Balto! It was the second largest point of immigration after Ellis Island in New York. Baltimore has a rich history of diverse migrant communities with big Italian, Irish, Jewish and Greek communities.
  3. In the Inner Harbor area, there are a number of places to go or see, including the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, the USS Torsk submarine, and the USS Constellation, (the last Civil War vessel afloat.) Built in 1854, it is the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy.
  4. Fort McHenry, a national monument and historic shrine is the place where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, (the national anthem of the United States) during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814, part of the War of 1812.
  5. You can also visit The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. Founded in 1927, the Flag House tells the story of Mary Young Pickersgill who made the enormous 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our National Anthem. Mary Pickersgill's flag still survives and now hangs at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington DC. 
  6. If you’re into sports- visit Camden Yards, the home of the Orioles, the city’s baseball team. It was the first retro style ballpark built in the country and has been praised for its architectural design. Baltimore is also the birthplace of baseball legend Babe Ruth, and you can learn more about him at the Babe Ruth Museum.
  7. Baltimore's World Trade Center located at the Inner Harbor is the world’s tallest five-sided building. Visitors can get a great panoramic view of the city from inside the World Trade Center at Top of the World Observation Level on the building’s 27th floor.
  8. Baltimore is home to the first cathedral in the United States - The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was recently restored to its early 19th century roots and welcomes thousands of visitors a year.
  9. For anyone who is into trains, you might be interested to know that Baltimore is the birthplace of the American Railroad. A trip to the B&O Railroad Museum is highly recommended. It was originally named the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum and features the most comprehensive collection in the Western Hemisphere.
  10. Perhaps, you’re more into art. If so, Baltimore has a multitude of art museums, so you’re spoiled for choice. The Baltimore Museum of Art is not to be missed. It houses the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world. Entry is free! For something completely different, visit the American Visionary Art Museum, which celebrates the work of self-taught artists.
  11. If you’re feeling lucky, you can visit the two-story Horseshoe Casino.
  12. There’s always the Zoo!
  13. If by any chance this doesn’t inspire you, perhaps this video might https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AULinm-8P58&feature=youtu.be

Further details on attractions and tickets can be obtained from the Baltimore Visitor’s Center

The conference itself is to be held at the Baltimore Conference Center, which is centrally located in the city. The scientific part of the meeting will cover all aspects of microscopy, with a bias toward electron microscopy and microanalysis. The plenary speakers this year are Jon Larsen and Manu Prakesh. Larsen is the author of ‘In Search of Stardust’, a popular science book on micrometeroites. Prakesh is the founder of ‘Foldscope’ and an enthusiast in the design of novel instruments to solve biological problems, particularly if the tool is a frugal one. I’m particularly looking forward to the huge exhibition, which provides the manufacturers the opportunity to show off the latest tools and technologies. The delegates can enjoy the welcome addresses, plenaries and refreshments as of 08.30am on Monday 6th, before the exhibition opens at midday.

Chris Parmenter

Editor, M&A 

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