I’ve just returned from a week in Chicago. Well, technically Evanston, but Chicago looms large on the horizon. I was at NetSci’12, the biggest network science conference of the year, held at Northwestern University. NetSci is always a highlight for me. Representing things with networks can be an extremely powerful tool, and once you start to think about it, almost any complex system has a networky element to it. This means that NetSci has a very broad scope, and I heard fascinating talks on topics such as economics, epidemics, social networks, mobility, communications, ecology, gene interactions, …the list goes on and on. Another great thing about NetSci is that the first two days are dedicated to satellite symposia. These are independently organised workshops on more focussed topics. This year I went to LangNetSci, about all things networky related to language, and Netonets, about networks of networks and their importance to infrastructure and systemic risk. Both of these workshops were well worth the time, and there was hearty discussion and a real sense of collegiality in both, which continued through the main conference.