As you may know, I spent Monday at SET for Britain (Science, Engineering and Technology for Britain), at the House of Commons. It was a lunchtime reception, so not quite four longs long, and it flew by. I was in the first of two 90 minute poster sessions, and had very varied visitors: two of the judges, and plenty of participants who were presenting in the second session. A tiny minority of these were computer scientists, most were not. All were good to talk to, and some good points were raised about my work (e.g. the ethics of creating a system for students with smartphones, when not all of them own such things!). I hope to stay in touch with a couple of these people. (Oh: I should mention, my poster was entitled ‘Pervasive Technologies for Accessibility and Learning’.)
My local MP, Alan Whitehead, had been planning to show up towards the end of the event, but he didn’t make it, which was a shame. So it goes!
Meanwhile, I had the luxury of checking out other people’s work during the second session, and my, it was varied! It went from the usability of devices for soldiers, when they’re kitted out with cumbersome combat gear, to the impact of coastal defences on other bits of coastline, to what insect navigation can tell us about learning and memory, to psychological resilience in obese children (why ‘fat camps’ work wonders with some, but other kids have the exact same experience, then resume their old habits once they leave), to the forgeability of digitally signed signatures, to the effects of testosterone on economic behaviour. (Exposure to lots of testosterone in the womb resulted in ‘hyper rational’ behaviour, whilst participants with lots of testosterone in their bodies tended to act more emotionally in their decision making. Contradictory and interesting, no?). There was also a model of the experience of homeless TB sufferers in London. And work on the effects of climate change on cyclamen. And the study of neutrinos. See what I mean about the variety?
Oh, and Westminster itself is extremely impressive! Very high security going in, of course, not unlike going through an airport. More men with big guns than in most airports, though. And gorgeous buildings!