Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.
Well I've been back nearly a week and almost recovered now. I did far to much and ended up wearing out my arthritic knee plodding round London - but it was well worth it!
The original US reef exhibits in the Hayward Gallery are tremendously gorgeous - especially the little beaded ones. (I feel my beading needles may have to come out again soon.) The UK reef overflows into the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall where it's on display for much longer hours and there are lots of crochet events for you to participate in if you around there. Next to it is the US Toxic Reef which is largely constructed from scrap found washed up on beaches. The Hayward wouldn't allow photos but the RFH didn't mind so if you click photo in this post you go to my images of the Toxic Reef, the UK Reef and the symposium on Flickr.
The symposium was lots of fun with a couple of hands-on sessions. Marcus du Sautoy was one of two hosts and possibly the only fully-fledged mathematician there! He looked a bit bemused by the collaborative building of a hyperbolic jellyfish sculpture but maybe he was just worried about keeping to time.
What really surprised me at the symposuim was the reported complete lack of interest in the project from the science funding community. To my mind this is exactly the sort of thing that brings new audiences to science/maths events and is just what science communicators say they're always on the look out for. I'm guessing the organisers' experience was largely in the US but there was a distinct lack of EPSRC or similar logos in the funding credits for this event.
In spite of the best efforts of the organisers to mix the working groups to foster networking, I found myself sitting next to a felt maker from Kelso. We were probably the only people from Scotland out of around ninety. (If you know otherwise please comment below.) Another manifestation of the smallness of communities! (See previous post)