Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Conference thoughts and politics

The weather has been very nice here in Denver. I just found out it is the city with the most sunshine in the US: more than 300 days a year the sky is clear. That has been true for the 5 days we've spent here so far (cold is another issue).

Katsouleas gave a slam dunk opening plenary talk on Monday morning: about 1,000 attended this opening session, and he managed one way or another to touch all of them, despite coming from a different field. I was talking to random people later and although they had no clue about our field, they all stated the talk was just amazing. The best part was where the screen filled with 100 similar acceleration shots from our last experiment, proving that the results are repeatable.

Apart from the review talks every morning (where everyone attends) thereafter the conference splits to normal session it parallel. At the same time as the parallel talks, there are poster sessions where people present a poster with their work (like me). These ones are my favorites because there is always some smart guy there that will be willing to explain the basics of his research - this is how I learn about neighbouring fields to mine and what people are doing in them. The talks are no good for that since it's tough to understand everything and there are no questions (of an academic character). The posters are always a super set of the talks, and I think you get a better idea of what's going on in the planet.

This conference has very strict politics: If you are in the organizing comittee, you cannot be again for several years. If you are giving a talk, you cannot give another talk for several years. This restriction allows more people to come to the surface with new ideas all the time - that's just great I think.

In most conferences there is usually a banquet, after which the most important part is over. Our banquet was tonight, and now people will start leaving. In order to try and persuade people to stay, the APS people decided to hold an iPod lottery on friday noon:-)

From a sunny Denver, goodnight, and good luck.