Another post about my crazy September of conferences. Second time around it was the UK Arctic Science Conference in Cambridge.
This one was a ‘proper’ conference with actual professors and such. I was presenting a poster along with another PhD student from Leeds.
The conference had much in common with the student conference I went to earlier in the month. Lots of talks, lots of information to process and lots of tea. This conference had biscuits.
I learned a lot, like in Cambridge having a bike in a lecture theatre is allowed (apparently).
I also decided to try knitting to keep my brain awake. Totally good idea! Rather than looking at my phone, or laptop or doing other work, which make me zone out and stop listening to the talk. The knitting meant that some of my brain and my hands could be occupied with the knitting, which was something easy (a plain sock) and then I could be looking at the speaker and their slides. I recommend this to anyone!
Our poster presentation was on the first day in the evening. My arts friends at undergrad found the poster thing hilarious, like going back to primary school! However its a way to fit even more science into a conference than there is space for talks. I get the impression that you submit a poster if you haven’t quite got enough stuff for a talk. So maybe the work is in a half finished state, but you want people to hear about it and some extra ideas. Maybe you want to illuminate a small part of something bigger, so for us we had a poster of observations from the field campaign specifically about the atmospheric boundary layer.
People walk round and browse the posters, and then ask you questions (you should stand near your posters…) or share snippets of knowledge. Its great to have people interested in what you do, but scary when they ask you questions! We managed though. I must say I’m not a massive fan of science posters, they have too many words on for a tired brain that’s just sat through a day of talks!
Part of a conference is getting to catch up with the current science as well as people, this conference was great for that!
I have an old uni friend at Cambridge, so I met up with her for a chat and to find out how her PhD is going. We traded experiences with imposter syndrome, the change in work ethic between undergrad and PhD and found out what our mutual friends were up to. Its always good to have a gossip!
I also saw plenty of project people who are working on ACCACIA. It was good to hear what is happening research wise, along with more about life as an academic from my seniors and generally get to know my supervisors better.
I got to stay in my friend’s college, which was lovely. Made me miss my old college at Oxford and the funny kind of life you have there. Though I do love where I currently live too.
On the fun side, I skipped out of a session of less useful talks and had a look round the Scott Polar Institute Museum. Well worth a look if you’re ever in Cambridge and have an interest in polar exploration!
So my top tips for conferences?
Make the most of the free biscuits and tea!
Knit to keep awake.
Enjoy networking with other scientists.