“Cold War” in Potsdam, June 2016 (Vilmantas Prėskienis)

October 26, 2016 in Article, post by Davesne.G

Remember these days when USSR and USA were the two competing powers, and Europe with China were just little players? No? Me neither (I’m too young). But my trip to Potsdam last June reminded me of that. This was the 11th ICOP (International Conference on Permafrost), at which close to half of the participants were from Russia, other big delegation from Alaska (and some other states), and then smaller groups of researchers and students from other “satellite countries”, including Canada, China, Sweden, Germany, UK, etc. Here for a full week, the cold war (or war for cold) continued as in old times.

My name tag bore only the indication that I’m from Canada and my exotic name, which allowed me to be a perfect spy for… I don’t even know who yet. The Alaskans (and their colleagues from other states) were more suspicious about me mingling around, since everyone is expected to understand English, as it was the language of the conference; however I managed to secretly retrieve some information from Russians, French, Swedish and Germans, who had no suspicion I might grasp some words in their languages.

Overall this was a great conference, where every new day brought lots of excellent ideas, and taught me more than a semester-long course at a university. I met my old friends and made some new acquaintances, and finally I’ve learned again, that having lots of nice pictures on your poster is never a bad idea!


Vilmantas in front of his poster at the ICOP in Potsdam

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