- Food - in almost all cases the larger the group of people the worse the food will be. Now you may think I am slightly joking around saying that this is the most important, but I am quite serious. There is nothing worse than having to eat some cafeteria style food and then have to sit through 2-4 hours of talks with a cramping/rumbling/starving belly. Also, I find meals are the best place to meet and have discussions with other scientists.
- Meeting people. You get a chance to meet almost everyone you want to without having to hunt them down like a gazelle. I really detest pouncing on a speaker as soon as they are done a talk. It is much nicer to see them at a break or at a meal (see above) and introduce yourself and ask a question then.
- Better science. I find at smaller conferences the talks have been hand selected and tend to have a better line up of speakers
- Location, location, location. Smaller conferences tend to have their meetings at nicer locations.
- Beer & Wine - From my experience alcohol tends to be cheaper (or free) at smaller conferences which always makes everyone happy and tends to get scientists to loosen up some.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I have been at Lake Arrowhead since Sunday for the 16th International Microbial Genomes Conference and I have to admit I am quite impressed. I think this conference has solidified in my mind that large conferences can't compete with smaller conferences. Let me list the reasons why in order of importance: