Litho in Las Vegas

The three-beams conference is a shotgun blast of ideas ranging from cool to bizarre.

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Las Vegas is not my favorite city. It is America’s monument to greed (and bad taste), where form not only wins over substance, it’s as if substance never even showed up for the race. This place relishes in its lack of roots, tearing down old facades to build newer, bigger facades (little is more pathetic than faded glitz) in an arms race of extravagance. It is all so purposely disorienting.

So why am I here? It is time for the 55th International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology & Nanofabrication (EIPBN). That’s a mouthful, which is why attendees universally call it the triple-beam or three-beams conference. Fortunately, the conference is in a resort near the mountains outside of town. Still, even this place will not let you escape the Las Vegas vibes – you can’t get anywhere in the resort without walking through the smoke-filled Casino that fills its core. Ah well.

I don’t attend this conference every year, but I wish that I could. It is generally academic, with papers that are a shotgun blast of ideas ranging from cool to bizarre. I always come away inspired and with new things to think about and work on. That will be my way of judging success this year as well.

The conference will begin with a plenary session, but the festivities have already started with the traditional Tuesday evening welcome reception, this time including an Elvis impersonator. Welcome to Las Vegas.


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