Today had fun moments, but had a melancholy undertone. We started the day with the “Participant’s Forum”, where a few representative students argued for and against three hot topics in science. Topics included “Should individuals or institutions get credit for research?”, “Should we fund research with no specific goal in mind?”, and “Is advanced AI something that should be researched?”. Once representatives stated their cases, the floor opened for questions and further comments. I left the session with no clear answer to any question, but many thoughts.
Next, Eric Yeatman (an electrical engineer) spoke about the future of computing and the limits of Moore’s Law. For me, the highlight of the talk occurred when he actually worked out the Fermi calculations that showed the hard limits in physics that tech companies must keep in mind. For example, using the width of an atom and the speed of light, he calculated the maximum number of components that one can fit on a chip. He also pointed out that we now need to worry about the time a signal takes to propagate across a chip if a chip is too large. Altogether, I found the talk fascinating, and it raised questions about how much more powerful computers can get.
Following Eric’s lecture, a quick closing ceremony thanked the many people behind LIYSF 2017. Then, we ate dinner, and left for the farewell party.
As I mentioned before, the farewell party was fun (well, as fun as loud music, flashing lights, and dancing can be). However, once the party ended, the really touching moments started. The ballroom remained full for a while after the party ended as everyone said goodbye. Once I left the ballroom, I helped several people drag a friend who had drunk far too much back to the dorms. I didn’t return to bed until disappointingly late in the morning.
LIYSF 2017 crammed so much into so little time. I experienced interesting lectures, fascinating site visits, and the hotbed of culture and history that is London. It was a fantastic experience, and I look forward to hearing from the next person (people?) that UFV send(s).
EDIT: Saying goodbyes the next morning was even harder. I made some good friends there, and although everyone says that they’ll keep in touch, rarely do people actually make good on such a promise. That said, some will keep in contact, and I feel like those that do will be lifelong friends.
I have a few more days left in London. I think I’ll use them to sleep, visit Brighton, the Tower of London, and a few other locations. But mostly sleep.