September 11th, 2008 – by: Adrian_Liston
The opening session of the conference was extremely painful - the conference chair decided to do a stand up comedy routine, with sad old jokes about his wife spending lots of his money on shoes while they are in Porto. They then introduced the three winners of "life time achievement in autoimmunity". The first was Georg Wick, for his work on obese chickens. The second was Ruth Arnon for inventing copaxone for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The chair made a big fuss that she was a woman and had broken "the so-called glass ceiling", which I think is pretty crummy - the glass ceiling is broken when the chair doesn't have to comment on it. The third was the most painful part - the recipient of the lifetime award was Eric Gershwin. The chair got up and introduced him as Georg Wick, a bit embarrassing. He then started a ten minute powerpoint presentation on the life work of Eric Gershwin, including photos of Eric Gershwin with an arrow pointing to him saying "Eric Gershwin" and publications with Eric Gershwin listed as the last author. Despite this, the chair heroically kept up calling him "Georg Wick" for the entire presentation, becoming excruciatingly more painful with each mention. Surely if you research a presentation on a particular person for their lifetime achievement you would remember who it was when you gave the presentation? Eric Gershwin then got up and said "Now I know what the afterbirth of a placenta feels like".