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Virtual conferences becoming a reality

Traditional scientific conferences can be costly and time-consuming, and certainly aren't 'green', with participants travelling long distances to attend. Are there advantages to meetings held in the virtual world, and can they really offer equally satisfying — or even better — experiences compared with the real world?

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Figure 1: Participants in the Fifth Solvay Conference held in Brussels in 1927.


Figure 2: A virtual meeting environment.
Figure 3: The conference venue in action.
Figure 4: Group photo of participants from the virtual poster session pilot study.


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We are grateful to Kevin Chapman, Anil Tarachandani and Mike Bevil for valuable discussions and assistance. We are also grateful to the Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) New Technologies Review & Licensing Committee (NTRLC) for providing financial support for this project, and to all the presenters and attendees of the Spring 2009 Merck Technology Poster Session.

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Correspondence to Christopher J. Welch or Sanjoy Ray.

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Welch, C., Ray, S., Melendez, J. et al. Virtual conferences becoming a reality. Nature Chem 2, 148–152 (2010).

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