Rikki Hall reports on his visit to the Entomological Society of America's annual convention here in town:
The Entomological Society of America convention wraps up today, just in time for downtown restaurants to restock their coolers and order new kegs. Insect researchers like to eat and drink, and they loved downtown Knoxville and the Convention Center.
The convention was the group's second largest in attendance (about 3,000 registered participants) and largest in number of talks, thanks in part to Tennessee professor Jerome Grant. Grant co-chaired the committee that selected themes for symposia and chose speakers. He said the convention drew researchers from all 50 states and from 50 countries.
Yesterday's tour of the UT Body Farm reached capacity and had a waiting list. There is a tour tomorrow of the Discover Life in America facilities in the Smokies, and it filled up more than a month ago.
Last night the University of Georgia claimed the Linnaean Games national championship with a convincing win over Wisconsin. Imagine Jeopardy with the categories being Insect Anatomy, Entomology Books and Authors, Insect Identification, Insect Ecology, and History of Entomology. Even the audience of professors and grad students was stumped by some of the questions.
The University of Kentucky won the student debates, arguing that entomophagy -- consumption of insects as food -- holds more promise than genetically modified crops as a solution to world hunger. While insects might prevent global food shortages, insect researchers can cause local food shortages. If items are missing from your favorite restaurant's menu, hungry entomologists are to blame.