The random musings of a Fluid Dynamicist

Two years of solitude...three days of redemption

Brownian Motion (BM) found themselves back at live events this week, more specifically Realize LIVE in Berlin. As a strong proponent of a sustainable lifestyle, travelling by air doesn’t sit comfortably and of course after two years of on-line events, the question is: are live events necessary? Part of the guilt / carbon footprint was assuaged by using public transport and electric taxis for either end of the air leg, but the question does remain, was it really necessary?

Navigating through an event as large as Realize LIVE after two years of isolation in BM’s spare room is not without its hazards. Having had unfettered access to caffeine-based drinks for that time (fair trade, organic and only boiling enough water each time) would I cope with just two coffee breaks each day? And would I be able to hold a face-to-face conversation at midday, let alone 8 am or possibly worse still, 8pm?

Day one saw the usual big room, opening keynotes, so 750+ engineers all together reflecting on the gargantuan task our profession has ahead of us: and could one still survive without an afternoon nap? It was almost enough to have BM scuttling back the sanctity of room 101. But as the event unfolded, the task was starting to feel more manageable.

We focused on the Simcenter sessions in this event, the buffet stations, and social events. Much can be learned at the buffet station, the plate-piler, the nibbler, the return-many-times and the meetings-all-the-way-through-lunch-so-miss-food-altogether. The buffet stations also attract the students, and this is where Brownian Motion really felt a sense of hope for saving the human race. Several student teams were at Realize LIVE showcasing their developments both on the expo floor and in breakout sessions. And almost every session was focused on working towards greater sustainability from improving EV ranges, to optimizing the use of hydrogen, reducing prototyping, automation removing humans from difficult working conditions, and discovering life on Mars.

And these events are not just about the presented content but the symbiotic content that just being with like-minded, change-driven engineers brings. There was much also to be learned from the artistic tendences in the audience, in a city whose life blood lives and breathes creativity Brownian Motion also had a dabble with graffiti.

By day three the atmosphere really felt different, there was an ease in meeting and discussing issues with other delegates. The buffet stations held less interest as the old friends reacquainted and new colleagues were discovered.

Brownian Motion was left wondering how it had really been two years of spare bedroom solitude and given all the possible advances in technology if maybe, just maybe meeting face-to-face again doesn’t need to be environmental suicide.

"Much can be learned at the buffet station, the plate-piler, the nibbler, the return-many-times and the meetings-all-the-way-through-lunch-so-missfood- altogether”