In 2019, Pittcon will celebrate its 70th year. Thousands of laboratory professionals and scientists will ascend to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA, March 16–21, for a week of education, research discovery, and networking with their peers.
This year’s host city finds the conference and exposition on the opposite side of Pennsylvania from where Pittcon’s roots took hold at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh in 1959. The first meeting showcased 14 exhibitors and 800 attendees. You can still find some of these exhibitors on the expo floor in 2019—Cannon Instrument Company, Cole-Parmer, LaMotte Company, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Thomas Scientific.
Pittcon has certainly evolved and grown over the years, but our main purpose remains the same—to provide the premier conference and exposition for laboratory professionals. And Pittcon 2019 will be no different!
The Technical Program will kick off on Monday, March 18, at the Wallace H. Coulter Lecture with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Fraser Stoddart. He will present “Materials Beyond Cyclodextrins: Emergence Opens Up a Whole New World of Wonders.” On Tuesday evening, Dr. Fenella France from the Library of Congress will take the stage at the Plenary Lecture to speak about “Preserving and Revealing History—Challenges of a Cultural Heritage Scientist.”
The Technical Program will feature a lineup of high-caliber speakers, ranging from Nobel Laureates to graduate students just beginning their careers. Focus areas of the program consist of forensics, environmental, food science, nanotechnology, and materials science. With more than 2,000 technical presentations, there are bound to be sessions relevant to your work.
The three-day Exposition will open its doors on Tuesday, March 19 and run through Thursday, March 21. To allow attendees ample time to visit the exhibit hall, we have created an “Expo Only” afternoon on Wednesday, March 20.
If you haven’t seen the Pittcon exhibit hall in the past five years, you will notice some changes. We’ve added a large area in the middle of the expo floor, called the Pittcon Park. The Park includes several hands-on opportunities for both attendee and exhibitor participation.
The Park area houses the following:
- DemoZones: a live demonstration area for exhibitors to showcase their latest products
- The Lab Gauntlet: a series of laboratory challenges where attendees can win a free t-shirt and win prizes daily
- Virtual Reality Experiences: take a moment to leave the Pittcon expo floor and explore a new world
- LEGO Gravity Car Racing: build your own LEGO race car and compete against your colleagues
- The Pittcon Booths: see what we have planned for Pittcon 2020 in Chicago, IL, and pick up a souvenir.
Coming back to the exhibit hall are the NEXUS Theaters. These two “soft science” areas on the exhibit hall allow attendees to enjoy panels and other engaging, educational, and interactive presentations.
This year you will also notice some fundraising efforts for Autism Awareness, particularly on the expo floor. The Pittcon Planetarium will be open for attendees to come inside and listen to a presentation for a small donation. There will also be booths in the exhibit hall selling cell phone wallets and pop-sockets. All proceeds from these efforts will benefit the PEAL (Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership) Center.
In addition to the Technical Program and Exposition, the continuing education Short Course program is an important part of the conference. If you are looking for courses to increase your job productivity or improve your skill set, Pittcon has a variety to choose from. The classes are taught by industry experts and class sizes are small to allow a more personalized educational experience.
Courses cover specific topic areas such as food science, water/wastewater, life science, and pharmaceutical. Additionally, courses for broad-based application and general laboratory functions include lab management, quality control, technical writing, statistics, data management, laboratory safety, and more.
Another stop on an attendee’s agenda should be a Networking Session. These moderated, roundtable discussions on a particular topic offer a relaxed environment to brainstorm with your peers and ask questions in an open forum-type environment. Plus, if you’re looking to find a new job or hire a new employee, the free on-site Employment Bureau is a must-visit. Browse hundreds of job openings or hundreds of job candidates and have the opportunity for on-site interviews.
Pittcon can be a bit overwhelming to newcomers, and even our seasoned attendees! In order to make the planning process as simple as possible, we have an array of tools for attendee use. Our most convenient is the Pittcon 2019 Mobile App. The app can be downloaded for free in the App or Google Play Stores. It has the ability to search the program, short courses, exhibitors, view the exhibit hall and convention center maps, add sessions to your agenda, favorite and take notes, and much more. There is also an online search feature available that syncs with the mobile app on the Pittcon website. You simply have to sign in to have your data sync among your devices.
Registration for Pittcon 2019 is now open. Take advantage of the discounted registration rate of $190 by signing up by February 25, 2019. The registration process can be completed online at www.pittcon.org/register.
Throughout our 70 years, we have strived to create an environment that fosters collaboration and discovery. We are looking forward to Pittcon 2019 and celebrating our history and traditions with a birthday party celebration on the expo floor.
So please join us at Pittcon 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. You will leave the conference with an apple snack, the famed Pittcon souvenir bag, and of course an abundance of knowledge to take back to your workplace to apply to your everyday tasks.
Charles Gardner is Pittcon 2019 President.