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Author Topic: Conferences/Seminars  (Read 4329 times)

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Schrödinger

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Conferences/Seminars
« on: September 01, 2012, 11:05:36 PM »

I'm in my 3rd year of my M.Sc. Honours, and honestly speaking I've had zero exposure of the scientific community. I feel it's high time I started attending conferences, seminars, or whatever. At least, in those fields that interest/concern me. So, people in academia, how exactly can I get to know what and where the upcoming seminar/conference/whatever is? I mean, yes, I can google it, but there are millions of unwanted results. So, please guide me.

Also, can you tell me the difference between conferences, seminars, colloquiums and symposiums? Again, ofcourse I can google it, but I will not be able to get a first hand definition/description from a person who's been there, done that.
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Dan

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 12:32:48 AM »

This is the best website I've found:

http://www.chemistry-conferences.com/
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Schrödinger

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 04:24:27 AM »

Thanks for the link... But once again referring to my question, can you give me a first-hand experience-based definition of a seminar, conference, sympoium, etc?
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fledarmus

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012, 06:00:46 AM »

I can give you a general feel from years of attending and reading proceedings of all the different titles you mention...

1) Conferences - these tend to be "show and tell". For the most part, all of the members of some organization get together to tell all of the other members of the organization what they are researching, how they are researching it, and what answers they are getting. The organizations may be very rigorously defined and long-lasting, such as the American Chemical Society, or may be ad hoc groups with a similar field of study gathered together by a conference promoter. In general, topics are self-generated, but with large conferences, presentations tend to be grouped by at least the general area of study.

2) Symposia - these usually cover a specific area of study, usually one that is dealing with either areas of controversy or areas of scientific or political necessity. The object is to gather the experts in the field with a wide variety of opinions, and allow them all to present to an interested body. The interested body may be politicians or activists who need to be aware of the state of the science to form political consensus and mold policy, or they may be other scientists who are developing the body of opinion which will inform scientific paradigms and scientific education. Thus, there are symposia on climate change, cancer treatment, Alzheimer's disease, and so on. I find well-planned symposia to be the most interesting of the scientific gatherings, the results of which are often a lot of people developing new experiments to try to prove one or the other viewpoint wrong.

3) Seminars - these are typically educational events. The purpose of seminars is to provide experts in a topic area to inform a non-expert gathering so they can use the information presented. Typically, seminars are presented on topics with broad expert agreement, rather than areas of scientific controversy, and the purpose is to pass on the information rather than to inform opinions. Seminars are often organized around techniques developed in one field that are either frequently misunderstood, misapplied, or unknown but potentially very helpful in another field. For example, seminars on analytical techniques for organic chemists, or seminars on pharmacokinetics or toxicity to medicinal chemists, or seminars on lab safety to just about anybody.

Just my viewpoint - other people may see other definitions in these words.
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Schrödinger

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 11:39:04 PM »

Thanks a lot, especially for taking out sometime to type all that! :P Was really useful! :)
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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 12:30:52 AM »

If you are in the US the big conference to go to is the ACS one.  But if your advisor will swing it the best is pacifichem, because it is in hawaii.


They are quite good for networking.  I love conferences.
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Schrödinger

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 01:06:41 AM »

No, I live in India. But if there is a really good seminar somewhere abroad, I will most certainly consider attending it.
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Dan

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 02:18:29 AM »

If you are in the US the big conference to go to is the ACS one.  But if your advisor will swing it the best is pacifichem, because it is in hawaii.

You don't have to be in US! It is more expensive, but I managed to get to Paifichem 2010 from the UK with flights and registration covered by two travel grants - so I had to pay for all the hotels myself. It's a good conference, and I took a week off in Hawaii afterwards. Amazing.
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408

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 02:50:10 AM »

I would have been at pacifichem, but I traded it for another conference.

Where are you getting travel grants?  My supervisor has been paying for my conferences...
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Schrödinger

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 03:50:52 AM »

I believe the next Pacifichem is in 2015? Well, if you guys say it's that good, you can expect me to be there  in 2015 come what May (or should I say come what December :P )! :D
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Dan

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Re: Conferences/Seminars
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 10:33:04 PM »

Where are you getting travel grants?  My supervisor has been paying for my conferences...

I got one from my university, and one from the company that funded my PhD. Depends on the funding you have - I did not have a pot for travel expenses included in my basic funding (many funding sources do, but the student is not always told this). I also had to scrape around a bit because I went to Tokyo for another conference in the same year.

Just out of interest, what did you trade in Pacifichem for?

I will probably try to go to Pacifichem 2015 as well.
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