Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Microbial Genomics

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Better science. I find at smaller conferences the talks have been hand selected and tend to have a better line up of speakers
  4. Location, location, location. Smaller conferences tend to have their meetings at nicer locations.
  5. 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.

1 comment:

Benjamin Good said...

So, how about the science? Whats new in the world of microbial genomics ?