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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Experimental Biology 2007: Registration

The Experimental Biology meetings are huge. There are thousand of people attending and one of the major road blocks at such meetings is getting registered and collecting all the material you need. It's a good idea to arrive early to avoid the rush and that's just what I did this morning.

Here's one corner of the registration area where there's a short lineup for late registration. Fortunately, I registered online several months ago so all I had to do was stand in line to pick up my badge. There were 12 lines and none of them had more than two people. This will change as the day wares on.

The next stop was to get a loot bag. Yes, that's right, you get loot bags at these parties just like when you were ten years old and you went to Erin's birthday party. My loot bag was a shoulder bag with advertising, three heavy books, and a bundle of other (mostly useless) stuff. Here's me with my registration badge around my neck holding two kilos worth of abstracts and programs.

The program is 560 pages. I haven't read it yet. The abstract books contain short, one-paragraph, summaries of all the talks and posters. There are 1444 pages of abstracts and each one has four or five abstracts. The print is very small. I haven't read them all yet.

These days all scientific meetings have a cyber cafe with wireless internet access and that's where I am right now. Back in the olden days when these meetings used to be in Atlantic City, there were other distractions but today there are dozens of people in here tapping away on their laptops. I can't waste any more time. I've got to start reading the program to see where I'm supposed to me. It's 9AM and things are starting to happen. There are about 20 things going on at any one time. I don't know how I'm going to begin.

In fairness, this isn't as overwhelming as it seems. I'm here mostly to attend the meetings sponsored by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). I just need to concentrate on what they're doing. I can pretty much ignore the sessions run by the other societies 'cause it's very unlikely that they will have something that interests me. Whew! That's a relief. That cuts the number of abstracts down to only 2500.

The exhibits are always a big attraction. I like the publishers row. That's where you find all the latest books on biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics. It's fun talking to the reps from the publishers. I expect that the John Wiley & Sons booth will be getting a lot of attention. I'm sure there will be lots of people at the Pearson/Prentice Hall booth lining up to buy my book!


  1. When are you returning from the conference? It might be worth your while to catch this on the way home:

    A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology
    Steven Weinberg, Nobel prize-winning physicist, Cornell alum (1954) and signatory of Project Steve

    Thursday, May 3, 2007 7:30 PM
    Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    Rockefeller Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
    Open to the public

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