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International meeting

Garth I. Patterson patterson at frodo.mgh.harvard.edu
Thu Mar 23 11:40:44 EST 1995

I wanted to float a topic for discussion in the newsgroup regarding the
It seems to me and others that I discussed this subject with that once
every two years isn't often enough.  I have three basic arguments in favor
of yearly meetings.  First, the competition for talks would be lessened,
since twice as many slots would be open.  Second, having the meeting every
two years puts many people in an awkward position.  Say you are a graduate
student and you've been around four years, and your project is going well,
but you aren't quite ready to give a talk.  Since the next meeting isn't
until 1997, you have to either try to get a talk this meeting, or give up
the opportunity altogether.  Third, it is difficult to develop
relationships with people in the community if you only see them every two
years. If one grad student starts in 1994, and finishes in 2000, and
another in 1997 and finishes in 2003, they will overlap for only 1 or at
most 2 meetings, unless both decide to continue in worms.  

I know that regional meetings are held in off years, but the consensus is that
these meetings are not the same.  Nobody says, "it doesn't matter if I don't
give a talk in Madison, because I can get a talk in Baltimore."

I realize that the expense would be increased, but the increase is not
that great in most cases.  A local meeting costs $600 or so, an
international meeting $900 or so, depending on how far you have to
travel.  One could economize by skipping meetings occasionally.

Another issue is the time involved for the organizers, but I think this
issue is not so bad.  There are currently 4 meetings every two years (one
international, then East, Midwest and West in the off years).  We would
switch to two international meetings every year.  This sites could rotate
(West, Midwest, East, Europe) to spread the work around.

I just think that so much is happening so fast in this research community
that a meeting once every two years just isn't adequate.

I intend this to be a sort of opinion poll and discussion, so please post your
response to the newsgroup, or send it to me, and I will post either your whole
message or a summary.

Garth Patterson
Mass. Gen. Hosp.

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