I am starting my lab as an Assistant Professor at a Big Research University (summer 2010). I have a super partner and an adorable kiddo, Mini-G. I tend to rush into things and then figure them out as I muddle along. I'm sure that will be true here, too. I hope to use this space to maintain my sanity and share my perspectives on science and academia. These perspectives may sometimes qualify as rants. There will undoubtedly be some crazy times on the tenure track. Gmail me [at] primaryinvestigator
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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I really do! I have so much fun hearing and talking about new* research, and catching up with old friends. But, I haven't been around much this last week. I was not even able to pick my NFL games! At least my Broncos pulled off a win.
In any event, here are some random comments about what I have been up to:
-My brain is a little mushy right now. There were over 80 talks, each 10 minutes long, over the course of 3 days! I used to hate these talks because you can't ever actually hear a whole story. But now I realize that these are just little advertisements, so you know who to track down in the bar that evening. Still, it was intense.
-After I gave my talk, I was hunted down at the bar by a lot of folks. Hooray! Everyone was pretty excited. I even spoke to some grad students trying to find out if I have postdoc positions (YES!).
-My liver is a little mushy right now. I was at a small conference, at a location where there was NOTHING to do except the meeting. It was fantastic. Everyone ate all the meals together, there was only ever 1 talk at a time. And there were cocktails in the bar every evening. Many cocktails. The bar is the best part of these meetings. You can walk up to anyone, even the most "famous" scientist in the room and just start talking and next thing you know you have friends in common and probably they will remember your name next time you see them! Also, some of the funniest and most entertaining folks I know were at this meeting. So fun!
-I had a random conversation that actually fits in with a comment storm that I missed out on over at Biochem Belle's place. I was having drinks with one of the Big Names in the field (I told you the bar is the best part), and Dr. BN was giving me, the n00b PI advice. I was basically told to not try to worry about knowing how to actually do the experiments that go on in the lab. As it was said to me, I never learned how to run those big, tedious sequencing gels. And it doesn't matter because no one even uses that technology anymore! Did I meet CPP ?
-I have been going to a LOT of conferences for the last year or so. This was important as I was ramping up my job search. And as much as I really do enjoy conferences, when I am gone it is hard on Mini-G. We had some good quality time this afternoon after I got back, but I still feel a little bad that I left her for almost a week.
-I have so much crap to catch up on. This is going to be a crazy week! But I am really excited about the work right now
*OK, new-ish at least
I realize I went a little crazy with the happy faces. I don't even know what this one is: But it was so easy!
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That last one is "money mouth", not sure where it came from.
On the main subject, I miss going to conferences. I haven't been to one in over a year, and I didn't even present at that one. I'm hoping this coming year brings some great meetings.
Over 80 talks with 10 minutes each. It means over 800 minutes equals to >13.3 hrs.
Wowwww, Talk worth 13.3 hrs in three days. Definitely exciting.
Good Luck Gerty!
Congratulations on being asked about available post docs! Soon, you'll be a Dr. BN :)
I'm with biochem belle. I miss going to conferences too. I seem to have none or too many...like many other things in work life.
I love conferences too. I haven't been to any recently, but I'll be glad to get back into the swing of them. I feel like you take away so much from them, especially networking.
That sounds like an exciting format for a conference. One thing I have a hard time with at conferences is choosing between speakers that go at the same time. But the way yours was set-up you get to see everything and not mention it's optimal for networking!! When I was a student, my PI only let me go to one conference all my years there - he was evil. Now with my job I go to more meetings, some conferences. I just wish I got to go to a variety of places, a lot of mine are in the same city - it's getting boring!!
I love conferences too, but I kinda wish I had someone like you to go with. I'm not shy in general, but waaaaaaay intimidated by famous scientists, particularly in informal situations/bars.
Conferences might be my favorite part about being in science, and your conference sounds particularly well set-up. The big neuroscience one is coming up, and I can't wait!
I've found that the bigwigs are usually very happy to talk to trainees, especially if you have a specific question. So if there's someone you want to introduce yourself to, just find something in their talk to bring up and break the ice.
I absolutely love the smaller conferences, although I missed taking full advantage of the bar at my most recent one this summer. :( It's so great having the ability to interact with the big-wigs, though...I learn so freakin' much and end up with so much to bring back to the lab.
Did I meet CPP?
If it turns out you did, then I have questions for you. ;-)
At least my Broncos pulled off a win.
Yeah, I still don't get how they did that with only 19 rushing yards.
I have to skip Neurosci this year since I was still new in the lab when abstracts were due. Luckily this gets me out of rooming with the creepy girl in my lab.
@Image Goddess: the small meetings are SO MUCH better at this than the big conferences. I will sometimes go to a big meeting, but the best meetings for both the science and the networking are always the smaller ones. Things like Gordon Conferences, Keystone Meetings, etc.
@becca: I have recently realized how good I am at talking to random people. My view is that I go to meetings to talk to people I don't know, so I always meet new folks. I can't understand those folks that go to meetings and then only hang out with their own lab mates. Though I see this a lot. There are many times I will end up hanging out at the bar with the ENTIRE Dr. BN lab! What is funny is that everyone sees me with this lab and then assumes that I am also a member or alumni!
@Dr. O: If the person I was talking to actually is CPP it will BLOW MY MIND! Almost as much as the Broncos unlkely victory
I also love the smaller meetings, though it does suck when the meeting is full of cliquish behavior, and you have no place else to go. I admit I am jealous of your mad social skills--I suck at approaching people I don't know (and especially famous ones).
Enjoy Mini-G--that is the only part I don't like about travel.
I really like conferences as well. I can be pretty shy, but at times I'm just like "w/e let's talk." I approached Abel_Pharmboy at ACS in Boston and spoke to him ever so briefly.
The bar is actually the one thing I like the least. But that's because I don't drink. In fact, I really only drink water. That makes me a social leper. :-(