Monday, April 20, 2009

Depends on what you're looking for

I may have knocked Sunday's plenary session a little hard. Long synthetic presentations by the giants definitely have their place. When you go to one, you're usually either newish to the subject and need that overview, or you know it well but it's that special extra insight of the superexpert that will tweak your worldview in just the right way to bring it all together or suggest that missing experiment or make that key connection.
It's the downside of the size of a meeting such as this one that there are necessarily many sessions going on at once. Short talks chock full of data, new or semi-new, have to be skipped in favor of other talks. Hard choices have to be made, and detailed maps of when to leap across the hall to a different talk, then across the convention center, then back again. (People are constantly coming in and going out, thus my plea for more aisle seats - sometimes the aisle seats are the only ones occupied!) So my disappointment with the Big Head session had a lot to do with it.


Si's blog said...

I could be worse. It could be a faculty meeting where there are long talks full of nothing. The English Department complaining about the History Department getting the best classrooms on the first floor. And everyone wants the back row where they can nap unnoticed (they hope).

Reya Mellicker said...

Sometime I'll tell you about the Pagan convention I attended in San Jose California many years ago. It was a convention like any other, including the Big Names and all the simultaneous workshops. What a hoot.