I’m in Reno right now, attending the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. It is the largest insect meeting in the world. Usually about 3000 insect scientists of all kinds attend, from every continent except Antarctica.
Unfortunately, it’s not anything like a science fiction convention. There are a lot of suits, and it’s a time to make professional networking connections and present your research. There are organized symposia about some topics I’m really interested in–the way in which media has covered Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees, for example. Many, many presentations about bed bugs.
It’s also a great time to hang out, talk to old friends, and commune with bug people.
Titles of talks or papers usually have formal names like “Update on medical consequences of bed bug biting,” although sometimes you get a bit more humor; I liked this one: “To Baetidae or not to Baetidae: comprehensive phylogeny of baeitid mayflies.”
Talks start at 8:00 AM and run until 9:00 PM at night. For 4 days. By the end you just feel like your brain is swollen. While a lot of scientific meetings are similar, each flavor of scientific meeting is a little different.
I have no idea what big meetings are like for other professions though–please tell me! What kind of major meetings do you go to for your job? Is it fun?
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