Right now I'm in the middle of a thermoelectric conference that is being held here in San Diego. It is always fun to travel to another city (or country) to attend these conferences but you can't beat just staying right here at home. The conference is being held at the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island and that is one fancy place. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and is focusing heavily on putting thermoelectrics on cars to recover energy from their exhaust. Some of the companies that are here that you might know are, General Motors, Ford, JPL, BASF, Bosch, Caterpillar, Kleiner Perkins, UCSD, National Science Foundation, MIT, BMW, Georgetown University, Office of Naval Research, Argonne National Laboratory, Cal Tech, Ohio State University, Boeing, Oak Ridge National Lab, Samsung, Clarkson, DARPA, Hi-Z (of course), Brookhaven, Ford, Corning, US Army Laboratories, Clemson, General Dynamics, BAE, Sandia, Lockheed Martin and a whole lot of other companies and Universities that you probably don't care about. We have worked closely with many of these companies and most of them when they give their little talks mention that they got their modules from us. We're probably the most commonly mentioned company at the conference. I also think that we are way ahead of all of them in our research. I suppose much of what is talked about during the conference is not particularly new but since I've been out of the thermoelectric world for more than ten years it is all facinating to me. I have a lot of catching up to do and I'm glued to every presentation and while there is a lot of new stuff going on it is surprising how some things never change. A lot of the people I used to work with are starting to look very old. After the session today there was a little gathering in the hotel room of the guy from DOE. I was talking to him and I mentioned how Thomas Edison himself wired the electric lights for the hotel. He told me that he could "one up" that one. He told me that Marylin Monroe has stayed in his room and she has even slept in his bed. He said that he had the right bed, he was just forty years too late. The guy had what was probably the best room in the hotel. It was on a corner and his balcony went around two sides of the building. The conference was yesterday and today and tomorrow is the last day. It makes for some very long days but it is great.
If you "sleep" with a person, on the average you are exposing yourself to the sexually transmitted diseases of about 2.8 million people.