Field of Science

On Conferencing

I spent most of last week at a conference. The Society of General Microbiology conference to be precise, up in Harrogate. It was my first conference, so I was pretty excited about it, and it certainly lived up to expectations. It was fun, exciting, and I learnt a whole lot of stuff. Some of it was even about science.

But the most amazing thing? Julian Davies was there. The same Julian Davies I spent the last blog post ranting about; with the papers about how sub-inhibitory antibiotics acted as signalling molecules. Best of all, I had a chance to talk to him as well. After the initial slight embarrassment of me being slightly uncertain of how to introduce myself (mostly I was desperately attempting not to gush as him in an 'I've-read-all-your-papers-and-omg-they're-amazing' way) I finally talked a little about my research.

He actually seemed interested! It turns out all his work has been on soil bacteria, so he was quite interested in my work, which was on an antibiotic-producing bacteria. We chatted for a bit, then someone else came up and I politely scarpered out the way feeling a little wobbly around the knees. Gushing mostly avoided. Serious scientific talk achieved :) It was a good feeling.

One thing I didn't realise about conferences was just how much the evenings play a part. During the day there are talks and lectures and poster displays and promotional stalls for various companies that sell scientific equipment. So there is nothing official planned for the evenings (I even brought some revision along for then. hah. Like that happened). But the evenings, it turns out, are all about going out with the people you've met at the conference; getting to know people, talking with them, sharing experiences and ideas and having the most amazing conversations about scientific things with people who pretty much think along the same lines as you. And nobody rolls their eyes and tries to change the subject. It was amazing.

So that was my first conference. Hopefully, it will be the first of many.


BiochemGirl said...

Ooh, I'm jealous. Hope my first conference is as fun! Unfortunately it's nothing but exams for me at the moment.

rhan said...

That sounds amazing! I'm so jealous - the last time I was at a conference, I was still in highschool, and everybody was a few heads taller and trying to be polite by asking the awkward little nerdy kid about Arabidopsis. Sound like it's much cooler as an undergrad!