Tom Purdom describes Philcon, and science fiction conventions generally, in his recent post on the Broad Street Review. He begins with a great hook:
The “Women in Science” panel at the recent Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference attracted some ten women, all scientists or technologists. The moderator was a NASA astrophysicist, and the audience included a nuclear engineer and a molecular biologist who had switched to medicine after several years in pure research. All had overcome the barriers that confront women scientists, including the junior high “Boys don’t like smart girls” syndrome. They had stuck it out, from what they said, primarily because they’d become fascinated by a scientific field when they were young and decided they would work in it no matter what.
All the women on that panel, incidentally, cited science fiction as one of the reasons they became interested in science and technology. Nobody ever became a wizard because they read fantasy. But plenty of people have become physicists and biologists because they read science fiction.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]