Sunday, 12 September 2010

Reflections on a great IMPC

Last week’s IMPC in Brisbane was one of the best, and the organising committee of the AusIMM, CSIRO and JKTech must be congratulated on a thoroughly professionally organised event. As a media sponsor, I would like to pay special tribute on behalf of MEI to Alison McKenzie and Miriam Way our contacts at the AusIMM, who have been a pleasure to work with as always.

What makes a great IMPC? Well obviously the papers are important, and there were well over 400 of these in plenary, keynote, parallel and poster sessions. It would be impossible for me to comment on all these, not only because of their numbers, but also, and I apologise to all authors for this, because I did not attend any of them! I was too busy talking to people.

A well-known academic asked me why I enjoyed attending conferences- surely I must be fed up with them by now? When I tire of meeting new people and catching up with old friends and colleagues, then I will tire of conferences, but the end is not yet in sight. The great attraction of an IMPC such as that in Brisbane is that it is an opportunity to get together for 4 days with what is essentially the whole world of mineral processing, and why Brisbane, Beijing, Istanbul and others were so successful is that the infrastructure and social activities encouraged interaction in relaxed and informal atmospheres. Of major importance is centring the coffee and lunch breaks, welcoming functions, happy hours etc on the exhibition.

Amanda, Jon and I were busy all day in our exhibit booth, talking to the many people who called in for a chat, and we had many pleasant encounters with surprise visitors, such as my meeting with ex-Camborne School of Mines students Martin Moloney and Howard Askew, who were among the first mineral processing graduates from CSM in 1979. Although I have bumped into Martin in the past, this was my first meeting with Howard in 31 years.

Amanda also had a pleasant surprise when Noel Warner, Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham, called in to see us. Noel I have known for years, and he was once external examiner for CSM but Amanda and Noel had not seen each other for 13 years, since Amanda left Birmingham with her PhD in Chemical Engineering. It is obvious from the photo that they enjoyed their reunion, and that they weren’t discussing Noel’s plenary lecture on geosequestration!

Nor is Dee Bradshaw of JKMRC looking particularly dismayed at catching up with her old University of Cape Town colleague Jan Cilliers, now with Imperial College, UK.

Another obviously joyful reunion was between Tim-Napier Munn who was a lecturer at Imperial College from 1977-1980, and some of the 1982 graduates in Mineral Technology at the RSM: left to right John Marsden, Richard Williams, Cathy Evans and Tim.

At the conference dinner, many of Graeme Jameson’s current and past University of Newcastle (Australia) students got together for a reunion photo. There must have been many such reunions at the conference, and this is what makes events such as this so special, so no, I will not be opting out of this enjoyable aspect of life just yet.

Although Brisbane could not compete with Beijing and Istanbul historically and culturally, the social events, particularly the Gala Dinner, were special events. This was my 9th visit to Brisbane, and it is has changed radically in recent years, with inordinate growth and development. When I first visited in 1983 it was no more than a sleepy town, but it is now Australia’s second major city, and growth is continuous. The photos below were taken in St. George’s Square in 1983 and last week.
So thanks again Australia, you did the mineral processing community proud, and I hope that the standard of IMPCs in recent times can be maintained at New Delhi 2012, Santiago 2014 and Quebec City 2014.

1 comment:

  1. I had a great time in Brisbane, it was wonderful to see everyone again. I also thought it was very well organised and send my congratulations to everyone involved.


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