Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Shootout

As you can see, I've been out of town all week. So since this week's Shoot Out topic is open, I figured I'd show you a little of my community, in it's temporary town: the Denver Convention Center.

Here we are in downtown Denver for a week. By 'we' I mean members of the American Association for Cancer Research, the AACR. It's time for our Annual Meeting, which means about 20,000 researchers and doctors, 6000 posters, hundreds of talks, and lots of excellent science! It may be the "A" ACR, but half the attendees are international.
Everybody wants in to the AACR. Alas, no bears allowed. In fact, sound and image recording devices are forbidden too, so I'm unable to show you any of the sessions or the huge poster and commercial vendors area.
Here's my wayward poster tube, delivered after only 36 hours delay. Battered and dirty and sad on the outside, the posters inside were still intact.
Here's a poster session just getting started in the morning. I hid behind a pillar to take this. Each session lasts 4 hours and you're supposed to stand next to your poster for the first two, so that people who come around to see it can talk to you about it. A lot of beautiful collaborations get started hanging around in front of posters. I think the best thing about it is how many of the really big names in the field will stroll through the poster session and stop to talk to the grad students and post-docs standing nervously next to their work. At the fast food outlets outside I keep overhearing 'Guess who read my poster! He actually asked me a question! I almost choked!'

With about 6000 posters divided into 6 sessions, that's a lot to see in just a couple hours, but they're arranged by topic and there's a map. The downside is that the oral presentations are going on at the same time, another 6 - 12 sessions in parallel, and there are very tough choices to make about where to be.
Internet access is free on provided computers, or you can sit in the wifi area with your own(below). This is about a third of the provided computer area and there isn't usually much of a wait, now that portables are so cheap and popular.
Researchers milling around at the end of the day. The sessions end around 5, which may seem early (why not spread things out more so there are fewer presentations in parallel?), but A) things start at 7 or 8 and we're exhausted, and B) now is the time to coalesce into small groups of colleagues over a glass and later dinner to get into the gritty details.

So that's a brief tour of the AACR's annual meeting, my town for a week. Next year: Washington DC.


gigi said...

Love the cowboy wall mural. I had one of those this week too. That big bear is a sight!

I hope you have a wonderful week in Denver. Good luck!

Patty said...

My favorites are the first two.

I love your kitties. We have five rescue cats.

Gordon said...

Only in Alaska would I expect a bear to look in my window like that. I want the killer rabbit!!