Last week the IAEA hosted its annual meeting, and I took the opportunity to visit the information tables in the main rotunda (and have lunch with my favorite engineer, naturlich.) The UN/Vienna International Center (VIC) complex is a can’t miss 1970’s design plunked down in the suburban part of Vienna.
A recent iOS upgrade to my iPhone includes a panoramic setting on the camera, and the UN complex was a perfect test for the feature.
Many of the Asian and Middle Eastern member states focused on the public health and safety of irradiated food, which was of most interest to me. Always a step ahead, not only is Indonesian irradiated food sterile and ready to eat, but it’s palatable & wholesome, too.
The Koreans also make irradiated food, and provide a handy guide on how to eat the food should the need be emergent. I chatted with the representatives a bit, who told me that everything is taste tested several times because they felt it would be important to have a comforting meal in an emergency. Alas, though, they would not share the Happy Irradiated Meal with me to try at home.
The French had an interactive Boiling Water Reactor, where you could press buttons and reactor sections would light up. Over the last 20 years I’ve gleaned a little understanding of BWR’s, but I couldn’t understand the French explanations to test my knowledge. Cie la vie.
I chatted ever so briefly with the Iranian representative about their food irradiation research. She seemed a little lonely sitting at the table. They didn’t have any “swag” to give away, which probably explains why few people stopped by.
If there had been a contest for Most Ironic Display, the Russian Federation’s glowing tube would have taken the top prize.
I also took a little time to view some of the art in the main rotunda. The UN offers a formal art tour of their vast collection, which it established to encourage people to, “in the spirit of diplomacy, consider the artistic variety of the world.” Someday I’ll take the formal tour, but for now I invite you to enjoy my small virtual tour.
Tucked away along the corridor to the main dining room is this pretty fountain, given to the UN by the city of Vienna in 2003 on the occasion of the International Year of Fresh Water, and provided me with a cool drink to wrap up my visit.