ISEB in Australia – an organiser’s perspective

The organisers also wanted to attract ‘new blood’ into the ISEB community, so a priority for us was to encourage attendance by early career scientists and students.  This was made relatively easy as ISEB has always targeted its key awards (best poster and Wolf Vishniac Award) to scientists in the early phases of their careers.

The 2017 Symposium theme was “From cells to Earth scale processes: traversing the breadth of temporal and spatial scales in biogeochemistry”.  This theme was selected as it encapsulates the diversity of the ISEB community which spans many disciplines including soil science, microbiology, environmental chemistry and geology. Each day started with a keynote talk followed by oral presentations grouped into themes. We were lucky to have four excellent keynote speakers who were both fluent and passionate about their science (Bill Ghiorse, Lesley Warren, Ben Turner and John Moreau).

What stood out for me was the intimacy of the meeting.  The 94 delegates truly interacted as was evident by the many animated scientific discussions taking place during the breaks and social events. A great week was capped off by an Aussie-style conference dinner at a local Palm Cove restaurant overlooking the ocean.

The meeting made me realise why I have been a passionate supporter of this symposium series for many years - it was just great to hang out with the ISEB community for a week: some great, personable scientists with broad scientific interests that enjoy working at interfaces. I came away intellectually refreshed, inspired and proud to have been part of the organising committee.