Sunday, October 16, 2005

These are bones.

A few years ago, The Doktah was invited to give a talk at a mini-seminar on osteoblasts (bone cells) at the American Society of Cell Biology meeting. This surprised us all, as The Doktah did not work with osteoblasts. We had a lot of fun planning a talk where she entered the seminar room with a demonstration skeleton and began with "These are bones." Naturally, she would have continued with, "The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone is connected to the knee bone. The knee bone is, of course, connected to the shin bone which is in turn connected to the ankle bone." Nevertheless, the ASCB annual meeting is huge, and it was a big honor to be invited to speak. Especially for a grad student, because grad students typically only present posters. Talks are usually given by post-docs or above.

At the time, I was the only one of us going who had a laptop computer, so the night before we left we loaded her talk onto it. The meeting was a two-hour drive away, and her talk was on Saturday afternoon, so we left Satuday morning and went straight to the mini-seminar room so she could get ready.

Now, I don't know who out there has tried to use one of those overhead projectors for showing Powerpoint presentations, but anyone who has will know that they never work. Especially five years ago when they were just starting to be the norm. There was a secret order in which you had to connect things and turn them on, and people always seemed to get it wrong. Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this. Yes, when it was The Doktah's turn to speak, I plugged my laptop into the projector and... nothing. Her talk didn't show up.

While we were fumbling around with the projector, the coordinator of the seminar asked The Doktah if she could just do her talk without slides. Without slides? Was he insane? No, she could not do it without slides.

Fortunately, before she was forced to answer the talk coordinator, we managed to get her talk to appear on the projector, and all was well. But seriously. Without slides?

1 comment:

Doktah said...

Approximate costs of a conference as a grad student (most of which is reimbursable):
- Registration $50
- Dues to said organization $50
- Abstract submission $50
- Hotel (shared between an obscene number of people) for a few days $50
- Travel $50-$300 depending where the conference is
- Dry cleaning your pants after the coordinator asks you to present your talk without slides and you end up soiling yourself $10 (not reimbursable)
- Being involved in the scientific process in an area that is not devoid of windows and cluttered with chairs... priceless