by Andrew Wood
As co-chair of the Local Organising Committee for 34BEMS, I want to encourage you to come to the 34th Annual Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. This is the first time the Society has held it’s meeting in the Southern Hemisphere and the first time that it will actually be a mid-winter meeting! However, since Brisbane is not far from the Tropic of Capricorn it should not seem like winter. June is traditionally warm and dry in Brisbane, with maximum daytime temperatures around 23°C (73.5°F), and sunrise and sunset around 6:30 am and 5:00 pm respectively. Many international flights are direct into Brisbane with a rapid connection to the conference centre and city hotels via a monorail system (http://www.airtrain.com.au/) where tickets can be purchased on line.
Brisbane is Australia’s new world city with a population of just over 2 million, and has been described as clean, green, sustainable, friendly, tolerant, multicultural, creative, collaborative, energetic, progressive and liveable. There’s something for everyone in Brisbane – including the compact Central Business District with pedestrian malls, trips on the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, and excursions to the nearby national parks. Visit the conference website http://www.bems2012.com.au/2012/ for further information on Brisbane itself and for possible side-trips to the surrounding area, including the Great Barrier Reef.
The scientific program is now almost finalised. It includes some reflections and predictions by two people with a long association with Bioelectromagnetics: Mike Repacholi and Carl Blackman. Other plenary sessions include: Advances in Electroporation; Developments in EMF Epidemiology; Strategies of Risk Communication and, new for BEMS, Windfarms and Public Health. Stuart Crozier, from the University of Queensland, will review some of the work his group has done on computational dosimetry of MRI and there will be a session, hosted by the Energy Networks Association of Australia, which is an open EMF Workshop. The Tutorial Session on Science and Media, which proved to be popular last year, will be continued at this meeting. Abstracts for oral and poster sessions have now been assigned to places in the program, which will soon be available as a download.
The venue of the conference is the just-opened extension to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC), close to the Brisbane River and to the Streets Beach (http://www.bcec.com.au). This state-of-the-art centre will also be the venue for the Tuesday evening social event. The optional excursion on Wednesday is to Australia Zoo, made famous by the late Steve Irwin. This includes lunch and bus transfers.
The level of sponsorship for 34BEMS has been very encouraging and this has enabled us to keep the registration at similar amounts to previous years. There is a range of accommodation available within walking or public transport distance of the venue, so despite the relatively strong currency, there should be affordable options to make this rare opportunity to visit ‘down under’ possible. The conference organisers, Leishman Associates (http://www.leishman-associates.com.au), who have been responsible for the conference website, have striven to make the process of registration and accommodation booking as straightforward as possible. They have also been working with Jeff Carson to ensure that the conference website and the BEMS website are kept in synchrony. In particular, the Technical Program and General Information, which is generated by the software Jeff developed, will be available to registrants on the BEMS website prior to the conference and on memory sticks at the conference itself.