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In the summer of '98 I had the opportunity to present a paper at M.I.T. up in Boston. More importantly, my presentation was scheduled for the first day of a three-day conference. This gave me time to tool around and visit some friends of mine.

Here we have: A few quick facts about the symposium and pictures from around Boston.

The Sixth International Symposium on Magnetic Bearings

My master's degree was in mechanical engineering, specifically in control systems. About a year after I graduated my advisor got in touch with me and told me that one of my papers had been accepted to the 6th International Symposium on Magnetic Bearings. The actual title of the paper, if you care about such things, was "Linear Parameter Varying Controllers for Flexible Rotors Supported on Magnetic Bearings." Sounds like fun, eh? Anyway, he suggested that although I had been out of the magnetic bearings "scene" for almost a year, I should probably go and make a presentation. He even offered to cover the expenses despite my no-longer-a-starving-grad-student status. So I went through my old notes, put together a presentation, and headed for the airport. Note that magnetic bearings are a very niche industry, and the "International" part of the symposium pretty much just means the U.S., Japan, and a handful of Norwegians. Total conference attendance was around 150 or so. If you want more info, check out this abstract of the original paper which laid the groundwork for the presentation. The full presentation isn't on the web anywhere, but you can still see my name in lights on one of the department's old pages. Of greater interest, of course, are the pictures of Boston.

Pictures of Boston

Empty auditorium [Yashica T4S]

The auditorium where we all symposiumed. During my presentation, the room looked exactly like this, except I was at the front blah - blah - blahing and the seats were filled with bored people.

M.I.T. Campus [Yashica T4S]

The main building on the M.I.T. campus. A dome, some columns, marble steps, an open, grassy quad in front... it all looks like pretty standard university architecture, but when you look closely at the inscription:

too much free time 1 [Yashica T4S]

Notice that they spelled "Institute" with a "V!" How'd they miss that!?

too much free time 2 [Yashica T4S]

I went by the next day to make sure I was seeing things right, and sure enough, it wasn't my imagination.

Boston skyline during the day [Yashica T4S]

The view out my window by day. I was staying in a dorm room that MIT students had vacated for the summer. It was pretty small and I shared a bathroom with about 6 other people. It was like being in college all over again. At least the view was nice. Generally, the weather was significantly less dreary than this picture would seem to indicate.

Boston skyline at night [Yashica T4S]

The same view as above, this time at night. Taken by setting my camera's self timer and propping it up on a ledge. Would have come out a lot better if not for the lights at Fenway.

The Constitution <ship, not document> [Yashica T4S]

The Constitution was one of the more disappointing sights, I must say. Seeing such a famous warship should be a lot more awe-inspiring than it was, but unfortunately it's surrounded on 3 sides by large expanses of concrete. It's hard to even get a view of the ship that includes the waterline. It's also anchored firmly to the dock by a huge steel ramp. In its current mode of display, it seems no more a ship than a river boat casino.

Rigging on the Constitution [Yashica T4S]

Some of the rigging for ol' Ironsides. Talking like a pirate while looking at the constitution is greatly frowned on, and anachronistic to boot. Arrggh.

Lightning at the science museum [Yashica T4S]

Lightning hitting two giant balls. This was part of the Boston Science Museum's Lightning show. Do not be fooled by the "Electricity" show, which is going on the other half of the time. The Electricity show involves precious little lightning and lots of bad puns.

Downtown Boston [Yashica T4S]

Obligatory portrait-oriented street level throw-away shot of downtown [large American city]. Could be any city pretty much, but this happens to be Boston.

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