Tuesday, March 29, 2011

- My thoughts on the 2011 APS March meeting

This was my first APS march meeting and I have to say: Wow! I had never seen so many physicists roaming around and enjoying life! I liked the fact that it is a great opportunity to catch up with your old friends (undergrad, grad school, postdoc, etc), I saw people I hadn't seen in many years! I don't think I have complaints about the social part of the APS meeting, except maybe that there isn't (or at least I couldn't find it in the program) a big party with music and drinks for all attendants. Maybe the women-to-men ratio is just to small to have a good party, but I don't think physicists would notice the difference :)

My comments on the scientific side are different. Not everything was good. For one, I am not sure approving a talk for pretty much everyone who submits an abstract is that good. It leads to too many bad talks, and while each one is only 10 mins long, the chances of having back to back bad talks is high enough. On the other hand, allowing a student present in front of an audience is a great experience for us. I just wished the feedback time was longer than 2 mins. I feel like that's not enough to really learn what you did right and what you did wrong as far as presenting.

In addition, having 10 mins talks means that there is likely no time to give an introduction for the non-expert. Most talks are only valuable to people working in that field, which is good for people in the field, but not so much as an educating tool for people in different areas. Maybe a little background info, or at least a well-stated question or reason for the research could go a long way as far as making me, the non-expert, understand where your field is going.

As far as location, Dallas is a great city, but downtown Dallas kinda sucks. There aren't many places to eat at around the convention center, and at night it can be somewhat scary if you're walking alone and you go a few blocks off in the "wrong" direction. There wasn't any tourist attraction (at least I couldn't find one) in the neighborhood either, typically cities that hold conferences have something "nice" by the convention center but not this time.

Next year it looks like it'll be Boston, I hope I can go. That sounds like a cool place to spend some time!

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