27 July 2011

INQUA conference part II

The speakers get cowed by the convener. The conveners get ignored by the speakers. The speakers steal the microphone. The speakers kick the audience around the head with discouraging talks. It’s not easy, a conference.

After the mid-conference excursion we had three more days of sessions and plenary talks. And there was a lot going on. Very interesting talks on all sorts of things! And our own session, which contained many very good talks, and as well the presentation of my own poster. Lots to do!

The venue a while before the poster session: the posters are already up. Mine's in there...

As a matter of joke all conveners here get some thingy that mooos like a cow when you turn it upside down, and that sound tells the speaker he or she should wrap up. There was some fear of being cowed by stern conveners. And some fear of not being cowed, as well... One convener cowed a speaker, who was giving a talk on the expected duration of the present interglacial, twice. No effect. He then got up and walked ostentatiously around. No effect. When the speaker finally reached the end the convener mentioned he could have known the speaker (named Chronis, by the way; his career is strewn with chrono-jokes) would keep on talking till the end of the Holocene...

There was a talk by a big name in dating. He gave a talk in which he warned everybody against circular reasoning in sediment dating. He keeps us all on our toes! Some people, such as climate sceptics, like to portray the scientific community as one front of conspiring folks who stick together and cover things up for each other. It’s not true. A man like that will not let us get away with dodgy dating. Luckily he’s in our project; with a bit of luck he’ll organise a workshop in November that we are invited to.

There was another talk on what can go wrong with paleoenvironmental reconstruction using microfossils; another man who will uncover any unsound reasoning. I happened to have a beer with him later; he seems to give a course in data evaluation later this year... I hope I can join in! These are the real fruits of a conference.

Dinner with colleagues and friends after the penultimate day

In our own session, a gentleman who had serious positive impact on my career spoke. When he was done he emptied the stage for the next speaker. Who was quite eager to get his own message across, but initially said no more than “Edouard has stolen the microphone...”

I will go home falling over myself with inspiration to continue the research. So much to read, so much to measure, so many things to learn! And so many new friends made I hope to see again at a next conference...


Jacquelyn Gill said...

I was at INQUA 2011, too, though you did a much better job at blogging it. I borrowed one of your photos from this post (with credit and a link) for my post on How to Pack for a Conference - if you'd rather I took it down, I'm happy to.

Margot said...

Hi Jacquelyn,
thanks for letting me know! I'm quite happy for you to use that picture. Interesting blog, by the way; I'll keep an eye on that!