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Star Stryder

Astronomy conference economics

27 Jun 2019, 01:30 UTC
Astronomy conference economics
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What feels like a million years ago, I attended my first American Astronomical Society meeting. It was my senior year at MSU and it was expected that I’d be presenting research to help me get into grad school. I can’t remember exactly what was in my poster, but I remember hanging it side by side with “famous female astronomer” Erika Böhm-Vitense’s poster. I was overwhelmed because I had just bought her books and now I was presenting my research right beside her. It was amazing.

In the (mumble mumble) years since that first poster presentation, I have attended a never ending march of these astronomy meetings. Sometimes I go as a journalist, and my media badge precludes me from presenting. Sometimes I go as a scientist, and there is a professional expectation that I must present, no matter what, as much as possible.

The thing is, if everyone is presenting (often multiple things), it becomes extremely hard to find the best content, and to find the time to consume that content between presenting and meetings. Sure, there are award talks and plenary sessions, but outside these rare longer presentations, everyone is trying to cram their science into 5 minutes or ...

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