On July 5th – 8th, 2015, the 21st Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics was held at the Clarion Congress Hotel Prague. The meeting was organized by the European Society of Biomechanics, the Czech Society of Biomechanics, Charles University and the Czech Technical University in Prague. Following a year “away” at the expansive World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston in 2014, our society retuned to Europe in a slightly more intimate format, with 536 attendees. The 2015 congress was preceded by a one-day course on “Patient Specific Implant Design and Validation”, run by the Czech Technical University, together with Materialise, an ESB corporate member. Over the course of the next three days, 307 podium presentations were delivered in 9 parallel sessions, with 264 posters presented during poster sessions that stimulated lively discussions. For the first time, 14 perspective talks were given by prominent researchers to provide a comprehensive introduction to many of the session topics and a broader view of biomechanics research in Europe, highlighting the results of many long-running international research programs.
Roger Kamm, the 2015 ESB Huiskes Medal recipient, opened the congress with a fascinating guided voyage through an exceptional career on the boundaries of biology and engineering. Keynote lectures were given each day to a full auditorium by Jacob Klein (“Joint Lubrication: The Molecular Domain”), Jeffrey Weiss (“Interaction of Angiogenic Microvessels with the Extracellular Matrix”) and Marcus Pandy (“Muculoskeletal Function in Human Locomotion”).
The high-level science was accompanied by an entertaining and varied social program, taking congress participants on an exceptional tour of Czech hospitality, starting with the Welcome Reception on the first evening. In a now well-established tradition, the students enjoyed an informal night in town at the Baráčnická Rychta. A highlight of the congress was the banquet at the Pilsner Restaurant in The Municipal House, where the mood was buoyed by the excellent food, the enthusiastic contribution of local musicians, the presentation of the society’s annual awards (see here for details) and the freely flowing namesake of the restaurant.
We can look back on a successful 2015 meeting, underlining the society’s enthusiastic acceptance of the move to an annual meeting. All ESB members offer their heartfelt thanks to the organizers for an exceptional meeting, and also for arranging perfect summer weather throughout.
By Stephen Ferguson, ETH, Zurich