Conferences play a very significant role in the life of scientists. I have one main trick about approaching conferences and some other thoughts on the topic.
I think it is very tough these days. It has always been competitive but it has become a tougher. I’ll list some reasons why.
Thousands of people are involved in research these days.
And it all costs money.
Some scientists I’ve met are dazzlingly smart, others are creative, and most are steadfastly thorough, meticulous and persistent, but all the successful researchers I know are also very hard workers.
Ultimately, we want the most talented people delivering the most ambitious and reliable science and if we are to support these people to deliver we need to be aware of the many invisible forces that work together to facilitate or stymie success of different groups within our community.
As global communications become ever more powerful fads and fashions are dominating world thinking more rapidly than ever before. Cute ideas quickly ‘go viral’. The more appeal they have, the more they are promulgated, and the positive feedback loop means that lots of people end up jumping on the same bandwagons.
Science really is an international endeavour. It remains important to be comfortable conversing and writing in English but beyond that it really doesn’t matter where you are from.