Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Well, the little trip to Paris was a success. 
Pre-meeting: a movie & dinner with friends. I should really visit more often! Lincoln was a majestic film, and on my own I would never have gone, preferring relaxing fluff I am so tired these days. Well worth the effort! And thanks, Bruno, for going so early and getting us sweet-spot seats.

Meeting #1 was interesting, and I was only there to listen and take some notes. Maybe jump in with a suggestion, but the minds around me pretty much had everything covered. At one point the guy leading the meeting pointed out that there might be some coordinating to do with the Onco group. That would be me! So I stood up and said, yes, the onco group would be meeting just after, and we didn't want to duplicate the efforts of the Genetics group as a whole.

(See, in France Genetics is divided into Onco - where lots and lots of people work on a few diseases and a limited number of genes, so we've developed a very strong and coordinated network to decide what to do, and how to do it, and how to explain it. And the Rest of Genetics - commonly called rare diseases, though many of them are by no means rare - where lots and lots of people work on lots and lots of diseases and a rather gigantic number of genes. So it's hard for them to make a really functional network when each lab pretty much has its problems to itself. It's actually kind of a mess.)

Meeting #1 ran over and gave us just time to find a sandwich before moving on to meeting #2, conveniently in the same room. This was "my" meeting. I'd agreed to arrange things, and to coordinate the different lists of genes various labs were looking into. But I don't want to be in charge of the group. I have no agenda to impose, or even to strongly suggest. 31 people responded to my messages, and about 50 showed up for the meeting.
The goals of the group were indeed the first point of order. And then its organisation. We have many and various goals, and it was thus decided to organize ourselves into subgroups according to these different goals.
I must next check my notes and figure out just what those are, and then send around endless emails (you know, those with 50 addresses, and everybody replies to everybody...) for people to sign up for working groups I hope will be of workable size. Like 6 to 10. Not more than one representative of a given lab, please.

I had some time for bookshopping before meeting #3. This was a fortuitous gettogether with a Lebanese colleague in town for other reasons. I have just time to meet him at the station before my train home. If this were a major Paris train station, I would have suggested a specific spot at the station, but the dinky Gare de Bercy is not worth that. I can see from one end of the hall to the other. I am obviously looking out for someone. Making eye contact. But no Lebanese.
With 5 minutes to go, I give up. And I get a call on my cell (oops, should have thought to give that number to my colleague! still not used to the thing) from the lab saying he'd meet me at a café about 100 yards away. He's been trying to get me by email for an hour, but I don't have access to my CJP email off-site. Security, they say. But damn, if I give my cell number out, people will call me.
Although, if he's been waiting there a whole hour, and I obviously haven't got his message, why not just come over here to our agreed meeting place?

Whatever. On the train home I can look over my bookstore loot.

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