All work and no play?
Not quite, but pretty close… I will give ya a little rundown on the past month of work for us here in the ol’ STML (Soft Tissue Mechanics Laboratory).
We’ve got a abstract submission deadline this coming Friday for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Summer Bioengineering Conference. Translation: get yer ass in gear. Unfortunately, my newish project is far from being publishable by any measure, so I was thinking about foregoing the whole submission process (besides, who really wants to go to Florida in the summer?). But, overachievement may have got the better of me and I did end up submitting some of my recent work in gene related stuff, and am scrambling to get some really cool data from a separate (and really awesome) study. Last year, I presented a few posters, one of them including work from the first paper I published of which I was first author! Woogity.
So what’s the big deal about going to conferences? Well, for my first-ever conference, where I had a podium at the Northwest Biomechanics Symposium at the University of British Columbia, it was an opportunity to find out what was going on in the world of biomechanics. What other cool research were people doing? The biggest thing I got from going to the NWBS was meeting one of the biggest names in my field in person, Dr Walter Herzog. It was like meeting Robert DeNiro. You know the people exist but when you get to meet ’em, well, its pretty awesome. Anyway I digress, the bonus of going to a northwestern-located biomechanics conference was that it was small (only about ten schools were represented) but the big-wigs were still there. It offered a big more relaxed of an atmosphere… which encouraged students to present their work to other people in the field and get feed-back on their research methods and ideas.
My second conference was a much bigger one, the American Society of Biomechanics, at Virginia Tech. It was before the shootings, so the campus was very happy-go-lucky, but it was hot (and I am not a fan of hot and humid). Anyway, I got to chat with some of the peeps from my undergrad uni there, and got to thinking seriously about where I wanted to go for my doctorate.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Summer Bioengineering Conference is probably the biomechanics conference with the most biomech big wigs per square mile. So, when Savio Woo patted me on the back last year and I got honorable mention in the PhD competition, I was excited. It’s a fun conference, and I’m looking forward to chatting with folks this year for future collaboration, post-doc positions, and the like.
So that’s why we nerds go to conferences. It has absolutely nothing to do with traveling to northern California (ASME SBC 2009) or potentially going abroad (Singapore for the 6th World Congress on Biomechanics). Not at all!