This Astrophysicists Conference Was Bigger Than CPAC

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—In a wrap-up speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said “What a week! What a week!”

Some of the staff at the convention hall who see all the events there come and go were a little less impressed.

A bartender at the Cadillac Ranch restaurant on site said CPAC was “medium” for the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center venue and that the January convention of the American Astronomical Convention was “much bigger.”

“You wouldn't believe it. We had 2000 drunk astrophysicists in here asses to elbows,” the bartender said.

A staff member inside the convention hall, whose title was “coffee break star” but did not want to be named, said the AAS convention was “huge.”

“I've seen a lot of events come through here, but this one was giant,” he said, referring to the AAS convention.

Rick Feinberg, a spokesman for the AAS, said that about 3,200 people appeared at the conference, which ran from Jan. 5-9. It was the 223rd annual meeting for the organization, which has 7000 members.

Other, previous AAS conferences have been even more well-attended, Feinberg said, adding that the group used to hold its conferences at the Wardman Park Marriott in the Woodley Park neighborhood but “we outgrew that.”

“If you go to a lawyers' convention, there might be 20,000 people,” he said modestly about the size of the AAS event.

A total of 2,459 ballots were cast in the 2014 CPAC straw poll. This vote is down 16% since just last year.

Photos courtesy AAS.


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