The Symposium

It is Wednesday night, so I must be feeling fine. The certainty with which I can predict this mood comes from the regularity of my Wednesday afternoons: from 4 – 6pm each Wednesday I attend an important Symposium.

The word ‘symposium’ comes from the Greek symposion, “a convivial gathering of the educated” and the Latin symposium, “a drinking party”. It’s meaning comes mostly from the title of one of Plato’s dialogs, where a bunch of guys without anything better to do sit around and drink while talking philosophically.

I’ve attended a lot of symposia over the years, including the SPIE Microlithography Symposium for the last 22 years. Most of these meetings have forgotten the true essence of what a symposium means (though I have been know to wax philosophic at some of the hospitality suites at the Microlithography Symposium over the years). My regular Wednesday commitment, however, remains true to it’s Greco-Roman symposia roots. About five to ten people meet at one of my favorite Austin pubs, drink beer, and with no set agenda have fascinating and valuable conversations. The perfect combination of taste bud and brain stimulation. What could be better?

So if you want to catch me in a good mood, get in touch with me on Wednesday night. But if you want to see me on Wednesday afternoon, you had better be attending the Symposium – otherwise you’ll miss me.

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