Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Conference thoughts

Conferences for me have turned out to be a turning point of self-realization. A test as to what I've done, where I am, and what am I going to do next. Finishing the second day here in lonely Knoxville here are my impressions for people in scientific conferences:

- 90% of the speakers don't have a clue on how to correctly present their work. How do they expect us to read dozens of sentences in a single slide while they talk? Keeping it simple is my #1 rule in presenting. It's not that their work is not great. But as the wise prof. Tanguay said, the impact of your talk is the importance of your work times the effective presentation, and not the sum.

- I start to see my competition. The people that work in similar things with me, I meet them again and again now plus I come across their names more and more often.

- You can really tell immediately the good researchers from the average ones. It only takes a few minutes of talking.

- I suck really bad in my research. I may know what am I doing, but when it comes to other people's work I don't have a clue on what's going on (with minor exceptions). There is no hope I can beat these guys.

- Coffee is like oxygen. You can get Parkinson just from the coffee in one week of conference. Not to mention wines and beers. Thank god I don't drink alcohol.

The presenter right now got the Master's from Russia, Ph.D. in physics from MIT and is currently working at the Los Alamos National Lab. The presentation is about photonic band gap structures for accelerating particles(in fact, they are the first guys ever to achieve that). Everything normal until now. But the picture doesn't match quite well: The person standing there is a hot blond girl with long hair and striking blue eyes. Huh?