24th CARS: A congress to remember

July 19, 2010

I had the pleasure to attend the CARS 2010 24th International Congress and Exhibition, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland, June 23-26, 2010. This is the first time the congress has been staged in Switzerland since its debut in 1985.

I had the pleasure to attend the CARS 2010 24th International Congress and Exhibition, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland, June 23-26, 2010. This is the first time the congress has been staged in Switzerland since its debut in 1985.

My experience with the CARS congress dates back to more than 10 years ago when I started my Ph.D. in the University of Ulster, U.K., where, for the first time, I started to receive information about this prestigious conference, with special focus on 3D image visualisation and clinical applications. A variety of topics on 3D imaging to assist clinical diagnosis and treatment always attracts researchers from different countries to attend this congress.

My memories of CARS are always very positive, although I was not able to attend this congress until 2007, when it was held in Berlin, Germany. It was a good experience for my first time attending, although I was disappointed with it to some extent, as I expected a lot. In 2007, I attended a 3D workshop (cost about €120) along with nearly other 20 people. However, most of us were very disappointed with the quality it offered, and I remember that one of the attendees intended to complain about it and request a refund.

I also attended CARS 2008, which was held in Barcelona, Spain. While I enjoyed the beautiful city of Barcelona, I did not really enjoy that year’s CARS. It is just getting worse as I commented to some colleagues. It was held in a hotel with very limited space available for the poster presentation. You need to step aside from your posters, otherwise, you will block attendees’ view. On the first day of the congress, I was told there is wireless connection in the venue. However, when I took my laptop to the venue in the following day, I was told no wireless connection was available since there are so many people trying to access to it. Very disappointed! What was worse was that there was no computer available for attendees to check e-mails. So I decided to skip CARS for a few years.

The reason I decided to attend the CARS 2010 is twofold: Geneva is a very nice place, the capital city for world peace. Another reason is the president of this year’s CARS, Professor Osman Rabit who specialises in 3D imaging, which made me believe there might be a difference between CARS 2010 and previous congresses. I got very excited again as I prepared for CARS 2010, although it is long and expensive journey to travel from Perth, Australia, to Geneva. I hoped it would be worth it.

Yes, it was worth it after all to attend CARS 2010. Fantastic! Well, I believe that is the right word to describe my experience. CARS 2010 was a well-organised conference, which was held in the University Medical Center, Geneva. The atmosphere was relaxed and less formal than such large meetings as the Annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America and the European Congress of Radiology. Typically, the relatively casual dress code and slightly less strict adherence to schedules and time-keeping make it more comfortable for attendees to enjoy. Free drinks and snacks were offered during the morning, and afternoon breaks allowed attendees to communicate with each other and establish a network of collaboration. In addition to the popular programs such as CAD and 3D applications in radiology and surgery, one of the highlights of the scientific programs was the addition of a new session on ophthalmology, with the aim of demonstrating the expanded applications of 3D imaging in clinical diagnosis. I felt so good to attend it.

The recommended hotels were all located in the central area of Geneva, which is very close to the Rhode Lake. Walking along the lake makes you feel relaxed and comfortable, while in the meantime, you can enjoy the view of the Alps further away. Of course, you won’t want to miss the watch shops, including the top models such as Rolex and Omega, everywhere around Geneva. I walked along Lake Geneva nearly every day during the one-week conference and never felt tired. It is just so relaxing. If you missed CARS 2010, the two photos provided here may bring you some good memories of the Geneva city.

My experience with CARS remains good and I am sure I will attend further CARS events. I think one thing that I learned from CARS 2010 is that you should always be positive, even if there are some setbacks from previous events.