Back at the EGU

Back at the EGU (European Geosciences Union) after a 6 year absence, it felt both reassuringly familiar, and strikingly different. The throng of scientists moving around the conference building, the vast stretches of poster boards and the queues for coffee were all recognisable. The temperatures in the darkened rooms tended towards Saharan rather than glacial, and there were definitely some questions about  indoor air quality. Oral science sessions and posters aplenty kept us occupied from 8.30 am until 7.00pm. For the really keen, short courses and specialist town meetings (such as the EGU Women in Geosciences network) continued further into dinner time.

But there were also hints of the way that the life of a research scientist is changing. Some of the poster sessions were replaced by “PICO” (Presenting Interactive Content) sessions on large touch sensitive screens. Tweets allowed those of us who would have liked to have been in two places at once to keep up with the goings on in parallel sessions. A session on the use of social media in science was well attended and lively, and I went to my first ever “tweetup”. These new ways of interacting with colleagues, and the wider world, were unheard of when I started my PhD. As a somewhat under-confident PhD student, it would have been so much easier to contact the awesome “experts” in my subject area had I been able to check out their blog before asking a question on twitter.

Thanks #EGU2013 for allowing me to connect with old friends, hear about the latest work in aerosols, Saharan climate, biomass burning and rainfall, make new contacts, and  for inspiring me to finally get around to blogging.