“Because I want to go to fancy conferences!”

Ok ok…from my previous post someone might think that working in Science is all pain and no gain.

It is not like that, at all!

Nevertheless, it is true that we spend most of our time struggling to find how something works, to embrace with new concepts and try to figure how these fit with what we have previously learnt.

And it is somehow true that in some circumstances what makes a Researcher going is just looking forward for THAT DAY in which the numbers (as a result of an experiment) pile in a perfect, rationale, scientifically strong meaning! That’s real Joy!
[Priceless…while for all the other aspects, there’s a grant code!]

Indeed, speaking about a little bit of science-related fun, last month I attended a course on “how to become a Principal Investigator”.

The first question we were asked was “why would you like to be a PI?”

Moment of silence: what do we answer now?! How do we impress the others and make ourselves looking smart and not too nerdy?!

Well, with the facilitator’s big surprise (and most of the audience, indeed), someone answered in a very genuine manner: “because I want to go to fancy conferences!”

Well, we might agree or not on how/why we actually go to conferences and with what spirit, but this answer has reminded me that I have not told you anything so far about the conferences I have been attending.

Although I have been holding this position for little more than a year, and my background was almost everything but diabetes, I have had the opportunity to attend two important meetings so far: the EASD 2014 in Vienna and the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2015 in London.

In both cases I had the chance to challenge myself as I was selected for short oral communications. The talks I have given were not directly related to the current project, but they have represented my first opportunity to present my piece of work to a diabetes-oriented audience…and guess what? I also ended up bringing home an award! :)

But the nice thing of conferences does not reside in standing in front of an audience celebrating our results (and hoping not to be grilled by the Giants of the field…which believe me, is everything but funny). The real pleasure is hidden in the hours after the conferences, where you engage with other fellows that share your same impressions, ideas, frustration and (eventually) joys…even if they belong to another lab in another city, another country and, why not, another side of the world.

No matter if you are a full professor, a young researcher, a post-doc, a PhD or just a master student: good memories belong to the post-conference chills!
It might be a pint, a dinner, a visit to a museum, a run for fund-raising, an event with restricted access where you sneaked in somehow…

and, believe me or not…this is where the best piece of collaborative works among members of spatially far institutions, becomes reality!

DUK photo cropped20140919_105153

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