I have decided they purposely placed all the pretty talks at the end of the data just to keep me in my chair. JAXA is currently showing off all the pretty pictures from KAGUYA and it is brain candy. Really. Go see here and here.
As I watch, I’m also watching the audience and taking in the culture. I am the product of an astronomy education. I am a child of the AAS meeting. These are very different people, but I find this a comfortable culture to immerse myself in for a few days. They dress much more relaxed – jeans and hoodies are randomly warn by elder scientists and the grad students while polo shirts and cargo pants seems to almost be a uniform. They all have computers (mostly Macs), but in the sessions they behave and pay attention to the speaker instead of their email (and they tweat by cell phone). They budget themselves more time to talk, with 15 and 30 minute presentations being a uniform way to do things. Instead of having daily set coffee breaks with food, they provide a constant supply of coffee for free and all food for pay. They talk readily, share readily (at least as I see in public), and they dedicate lots of resources to celebrating their best students. More public awards are being given to students then adults at this meeting. The majority of the hair is not gray. While non-asian/southeast asian minorities are rare, people with all manner of physical disability are here. And people of many nations are here as well.
I like this meeting. It is one of my favorite because it is friendly and I never present during the main conference and I can just sit and learn. I wish I didn’t have to go home tomorrow, but I have to teach. Next year perhaps I’ll have the NSF funding to stay and it will magically line up again with spring break.
Tonight is the poster session and then I head home. I suspect my cell phone battery will die before I head home, but I’ll tweet what I find while I can.