Paris, France: 2 February 2019

Notes from UNESCO:

I attended my first UNESCO event on Tuesday, the opening ceremonies of 150 Years of the Periodic Table.

I took my seat in the largest hall at UNESCO, it holds around a thousand people, an elegant room with a balcony, and a stage that descends into a two-story grooved cement wall.

Both sides of the room have small inclosed booths occupied by interpreters. Every attendee has the option to hear speakers in multiple languages through the headset accompanying each seat. A small dial behind the seat allows for language selection.  

The dimly lit room was packed with well-dressed attendees, a manufactured fog floated through the room, creating an eerie atmosphere.

UNESCO, Room 1

I waited patiently with diplomats, delegates, scientists, and other Periodic Table enthusiasts for the ceremony to begin.  

During the three hour ceremony, I listened to the 2016 Nobel laureate in Chemistry give a fascinating lecture concerning molecules, the Assistant and Director-General, several high ranking Russian ministers, and a melody of scientists.

The ceremony was intermixed with a world-renowned Russian concert pianist. Followed up with a trio singing a science-inspired tribute, while a 3D display illuminated the back wall.

I felt mesmerized and grateful for having the opportunity to experience such a wonderful display of appreciation for innovation. I stopped several times this last week to reminisce about the experience.  

I’m told this was a relatively small production for UNESCO. Apparently, the event for Women in Science is brilliant and will be held in March, sign me up!

Notes from the Field:

This week at our MeetUp cycling language group, I learned about the struggles of being a cyclist in India. Priya a woman in our group just moved to Paris from Mumbai. Here is a list of things she claims you must do to cycle “safely” in Mumbai.

  1. One must leave at 4 am to avoid heat and traffic.
  2. You must ride in the middle of the lane of very busy roads to avoid being pushed off the side and crushed into the wall or railing.
  3. Avoid being alone because large packs of dogs are known to attack cyclists. So, don’t leave anyone behind.
  4. Lastly, only 20 percent of the ride is without all of the above and only relatively peaceful.

On the bright side, who needs a personal trainer when you have the motivation of a pack of wild dogs.

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