Flagstaff remembered: Great hosts and posts

Map showing home location of 333 ScienceWriters2011 attendees classified by number of past NASW meetings attended: 113 were first-time attendees, 66 people attended one previously, 34 people attended two previously, and 120 people attended three or more previously.

ScienceWriters 2011, including the 49th annual New Horizons in Science, is now written in the dust of the Arizona desert. My thanks to Peter Friederici, Kirsten Slaughter, Lesley Cephas and Laura Huenneke at Northern Arizona University for their careful planning and wonderful hospitality. And for arranging the spectacular weather.

The wind will soon disguise our footprints in the Arizona desert, but thankfully the Twitter feed we generated in Flagstaff will endure. There you can find links to many of the meeting’s highlights. Here are a few of my favorites:

Steve Mirsky’s podcast offered a trenchant 60-second analysis of the talk by cosmologist Sean Carroll under the headline, “Moon Not Made of Green Cheese, Physicist Explains.” (Science blogger Ed Yong, who was not able to attend but whose name came up often, dismissed Carroll as a “cheese denialist.”) Brian Switek, who blogs as @Laelaps, combined his trip to the meeting with a few dinosaur sidetrips, including a visit to Zuniceratops. (Someone needs to tell him that there’s help for people diagnosed with dinosaur obsession.)

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) used Storify to assemble her tweets of the Biohunters session at New Horizons, including a reference to toxoplasmosis, which we heard about three years ago at New Horizons from Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky. Alex Witze wrote a post on the same presentation for Science News.

Paul Vincent Strong live-tweeted Heidi Wayment’s talk on the empirical basis of compassion. Kevin Bertram (@krbertram) did the same for Jason de Leon’s talk on Mexican immigration. Ditto Sophie Bushwick (@sophiebushwick) for Sean Carroll’s talk on cosmology and the meaning of life.

There were many other highlights in the Twitter stream, not least of all the frequent tweets by Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ), who needs no introduction, and who was, as usual, everywhere. Charlie Petit summed up the conference with his usual dry wit (particularly appropriate for the desert locale) on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

And many, many folks at #sciwri11, as Twitter knows it, tweeted about how happy they were to meet colleagues and make new friends. That’s as good a measure as any of the success of a conference—and by that measure, #sciwri11 was a hit.—Paul Raeburn