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When I finally get organized… March 5, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research, writing.
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I spent the day at the conference with a nasty headache.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel so that I could take some (OTC) drugs, get a hot shower, and pass out.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

I got back to find out that the toilet, which I had told them about this morning before I left, was still inoperable.  Also, the dishwasher apparently had a leak.  Their maintenance people were gone for the day, however, so my only choice was to move rooms.

Efficiency always bites me in the butt.  The one time I actually decided to unpack all my clothes and belongings in the drawers and closet, I end up having to pack everything up and haul it into another room.  Also, I have a kitchenette so I can do my own cooking, and this meant I also had to haul a couple bags of groceries and a couple bowls of refrigerated food up and down the hallway.  So that sucked up another hour of my already short evening.

The conference itself was very enjoyable.  I’ve been to conferences where people jump on you for the slightest error.  I was very impressed at how positive the dialogue was.  I also like the fact that it’s a smaller group of people.  There were about 100 people or so, and about six women.  I was thinking that was pretty awful until I remembered my signals class – 3 women out of 60, so I guess it’s about on par or even better than some of my engineering classes.

The down side is that everyone assumed that I was a grad student.  And no, I wasn’t dressed like a typical grad student.  When I corrected them and said I am a research engineer, half of them said I looked young enough to be a grad student and the other half wanted to know what a research engineer is.  (Best answer I could come up with is that it’s like a post-doc…but with a choice between benefits or flexibility.  I chose flexibility – working half-time so that I can work on a dissertation and haul my kids around after school is a pretty sweet deal in my book.)

I also had a lot of people, particularly industry folks, come and talk to me about my poster.  However, I was chagrined to discover that I put a lot more text on my poster than pretty much everyone else.  Most of the posters had a paragraph or two and were otherwise covered in pictures, plots, and equations.  I was surprised at this because my experience at other conferences is that mine was on par or even low on text.  Mike said that it was less wordy than a lot of them he’s seen.  I can’t figure if this is a shift that’s happened since I last went to a conference (it’s been about 4 years) or if it’s unique to this conference.  Admittedly, most other conferences only require you to spend a half hour or so at your poster, so they are unattended most of the time and that extra explanation is helpful.  This poster session was about 2 1/2 hours long and it was strongly recommended to be there the entire time as there are no talks going on during that time.  Anyone have any thoughts on this one?

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Comments»

1. GMP - March 5, 2012

FWIW, the conferences in my specialty are like the one you are at now. A long poster session, people expected to “man” the poster the entire time. Also, the posters are beautiful — minimal text, lots of pics and graphs.

2. aaaaa - March 5, 2012

IMO less text and more pictures has never hurt a poster or a talk for that matter. I have never seen anyone complain that a poster had too little text, just as I have never seen anyone complain that a talk is too short. I have seen the reverse though.

3. Katiesci - March 6, 2012

What a bummer. The new room also has a kitchenette though? If not, I’d be super pissed.

As for posters, there aren’t too many engineering ones there but you can check out the Better Posters blog or ask @doctor_zen on Twitter. He’s the poster expert.


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