From the BIO floor

From the BIO floor

PHILADELPHIA– With apologies to David Letterman, here are the top 10 reasons to be at the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Philadelphia.
10. You can pick up some great toys for the kids. Attention-grabbing baubles are the coin of the realm in the BIO exhibit floor, where representatives of 61 nations and 48 states have set up shop. Mini-soccer balls, mini-Capitol domes and plastic fish are among the giveaways.

Crowd at BIO

9. You can go on a diet. Believe it or not, there aren’t many restaurants within easy walking distance of the massive Pennsylvania Convention Center. So, your choices are (1) exit through layers of security to wander the streets of Philly, (2) buy really expensive snacks at convention center concession stands, or (3) survive on candy from the German booth and peanuts from the Georgia booth. Most people seem to be choosing (3).
8. You can get a lot of exercise without walking outside. The exhibit floor is two football fields in length and half as wide. To soak up all of the exhibits, wear your jogging shoes.
7. You can learn about other states. Almost every pavilion has a slogan. “Wisconsin — Room to Breathe” adorns the banners hanging over the Badger state pavilion. Minnesota is “positively Minnesota.” New Jersey is “Where Life Sciences Live.” Massachusetts boasts “It’s all here.” Iowa is “Life|Changing.” Hawaii is “Open for Business.” And two states clam to be a “State of Minds” — New York and North Carolina. We’ll let them slug it out.
6. You can add to your reading material. The number and range of publications available through company, state and national exhibits is best measured by the ton. Of course, CDs and other electronic forms of communications are plentiful, too. All attendees receive a free knapsack, which will probably come in handy for those wishing to cart it all home.
5. You can see a “weird protest.” Biotech protesters of all flavors mixed it up with with a local skateboard rally. Local police are trying to sort out the mess.
4. You can attend some great parties. On Tuesday night, the exhibit floor turned into one of the world’s largest cocktails receptions. The Japanese offered sushi and Sapporo. The Germans served beer and pretzels. The French — you guessed it — wine. And virtually everyone had some kind of party in the works.
3. You can see some famous people. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush paid an extended visit Tuesday afternoon to the Florida exhibit, which is next to the Wisconsin pavilion. Arnold Palmer, a native Pennsylvanian, is also here. And the list of potential Nobel Prize winners (as well as past winners) is long and growing.
2. Get a sneak preview of how fun Bio 2006 fun in Chicago will be. The Party held by Illinois party on Monday was one of the best in Philly. Imagine if the Cubs and WhiteSox are in town during April 06 at the same time? There could be some great “roof-top” parties!
1. You can learn the latest about one of the most dynamic industries in the world. With 190 panel discussions and more than 900 speakers, BIO ’05 is the largest science and technology symposium in the world. The people attending this convention are committed to curing what ails humanity, to feeding us, to making sure we have clean water and other resources, and to making sure we are safe from terrorist attacks. That may not sound like as much fun as Reasons 10 through 2, but it’s why 20,000 people are gathered here.

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.