Wednesday, December 16, 2009

some preliminary AGU impressions

(written Monday evening, posted Tuesday afternoon; which was the next chance I had to be line long enough to post)

Attending such a large conference (plus or minus yesterday morning’s trials and tribulations) caused me to revert to my childhood habits of not actually interacting with anyone other than those individuals in official positions with whom I needed to interact to achieve the goal of the day (actually being permitted to attend the conference). Once I had my registration in hand I took my computer to one of the handy tables with power points provided (certainly an advantage of a large conference!) and settled in to first check e-mail to see if anything important had come in (I managed to avoid the temptation to lose hours reading non-urgent e-mail and blogs) before finishing up my poster.

By the time I had it complete and e-mailed off to be printed it was well into the afternoon, and I, finally, consulted my schedule for the day. I lead something of a charmed life, in that the schedule of interesting sounding talks and posters I’d prepared before the meeting started contained nothing but poster sessions in the morning and early afternoon, and a couple of talks in the late afternoon. Therefore I packed up the computer and wandered over to the poster session room and spent some time learning the logic of their organizational system. It turns out that the letters in the names of the session are abbreviations for the full session titles, and there are large signs hanging above the posters, in a font so large that they can be read at great distances, directing people to posters relating to Volcanology, Geochmistery and Petrology (V), Tectonophysics (T), Education and Human Resources (ED) or whatever. In addition there are even larger numbers hanging above the posters, so that if you are looking for V13D-2056 the fastest way to find it is to look for the huge sign reading “2000” and head to that region of the (very, very large) room, and then start looking at the smaller signs at the end of each row.

After finding a few interesting posters (but not actually speaking with their authors) I returned to the other building, where the lectures were being held. Consulting the schedule and map revealed that the two talks I’d put on my schedule were scheduled to take place one right after the other, but in rooms on the opposite side of the building. The one scheduled for 17:15 is by a colleague of mine, so I opted to just go to the room in which he would be presenting, to be certain that I wouldn’t miss his talk. The talk which preceded it, while it hadn’t come up in my pre-meeting keyword search of the schedule as something I would wish to seek out, turned out to also be interesting, and it was nice to just sit still for a bit and listen to lectures while making some progress on the sewing project I’d brought with me. After my colleague’s talk I chose to slip out a bit early, because I was somewhat tired and worn out for the day, and went back to the home of my friends where I am staying this week, where I enjoyed some quiet conversation (and more sewing) before doing my daily yoga and going to sleep early for the first time this trip.

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