I just with a couple of friends in a large auditorium to listen to a presentation on the Caloris Basin on Mercury. There is a chair between each of us. Looking around the room, the standard is to have an empty chair between each person.
There are 2 reasons: We all have too much stuff with us, and the chairs are small. As a population, astronomers and planetary scientists are fairly thin (especially when compared to the general American population). Looking around me, I can’t identify anyone more overweight then I am in this room, although there are several other women in the same bin a sit in. There are a lot of bean pole men. Not sure why, just no this is the way it is. This means we (as a population) aren’t finding the chairs too small because we are too large. They are simply chairs designed for some weirdly proportioned person. I’m in 2.5 inch heels, and my legs still significantly slope down from the chair seat to the ground. Apparently one needs to be 6ft tall and have a 30 x 36 pants to fit into the chairs correctly.
Getting to seats is also complicated by the fact that the room is set up with a LARGE center aisle and two side aisles of chairs, each about 12 chairs wide. It would be much more effective to make three rows of 8 chairs and two smaller aisles. This would allow us to get to chairs much easier.
Oh well. The content is interesting. My brain is happy even if my bum is not.