What is the collective noun for evolutionary biologists?... A selection. #evol2018 pic.twitter.com/FnrH7JrQZm— Simon Martin (@simonhmartin) August 19, 2018
Presidents of the societies participating in the Second Joint Meeting of Evolution. @hopihoekstra @SharonStrauss1 @AngiosSusana and Nina Weddel. #Evol2018 pic.twitter.com/CkhRaZGRrU— Kelly R. Zamudio (@KZ_Cornell) August 18, 2018
Super hot, loud and intense poster session at #Evol2018. The sound is deafening but the science is great #evolution pic.twitter.com/r4On9wM4eO— Marc Johnson (@evoecolab) August 19, 2018
co-blogger's note from Dan Bolnick:
I wanted to add a couple comments after reading Andrew's post.
First, another reason faculty might be shy to approach you. I have a feeling this one will get a reaction: At the Evolution meeting I tried to go out of my way to introduce myself to strangers. Standing in the security line for the Corum, or waiting for drinks, I'd just introduce myself and ask about them and their work. It was fun and informative, but a couple of times, when the person I started talking to was a younger woman, I had a nagging voice in my head saying "I hope they don't think I'm trying to be a creep". To be very clear: I wasn't. But it did worry me, the optics of being a mid-career male just spontaneously striking up conversation with a female postdoc or grad student, no matter how good my intent. I don't want to be seen as a potential threat by someone who does not know me. Unfortunately, the fear of being misinterpreted is a deterrent to striking up a conversation, which is a problem in and of itself. That's exactly why I overcame my inherent introverted tendencies to start up conversations with strangers. I mention it just because it may be another reason why an older researcher might be shy, especially to strike up a conversation with someone who is a different gender.
Second: yes, Andrew's strategy involves missing talks. And yes, people will be disappointed if he's not in the audience. But there's only so much we can do. There were times when there were 5 simultaneous talks I wanted to see. Even if I went to talks non-stop every day of the meeting, I would miss the majority of talks that were of interest to me, and miss the majority of talks whose speakers might want me in the audience. As I reach the middle of my career (20 years since I started grad school, hopefully 25-30 more till I retire), I am more accepting of the things I cannot do. One of which is to see every talk. As I accept that, I increasingly am able to plan my meeting schedule with a balance of activities. And I agree with Andrew that the most scientifically rewarding things are the one-on-one or small group conversations where collaborations get planned, data gets analyzed, and schemes are hatched. I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to have a meeting with no talks at all, just conversation time about science. So, yes, I feel pangs of guilt about planning to miss a whole block of talks, but the benefits of extended face-to-face meetings are so large I'll deal with it, and I would have missed many talks no matter what.