My AGU (American Geophysical Union) congress
This story begins few months ago, when I’ve been awarded the 1st CRUST workshop best poster prize. So, CRUST (Centro Interuniversitario per l’analisi sismotettonica) supported my expenses to go to a congress (thanks!), and I chose the biggest one, the AGU, which was held in San Francisco on 9-13 December. I’m quite scared by big, overcrowded conferences, but you know, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
I sent an abstract and it was selected for a poster presentation… cool! The poster is available here, but I’ll speak about the scientific poster in a later post.
Then, December come.
It was my 1st time at AGU congress and also my 1st time across the pond. When I first thought about the number of scientists attending the congress, I instinctively thought to the population of the village where I grew up, but phew!, what a dumbass… I had to multiply that figure by 10 to reach the about 28000 people attending the AGU!
The venue is the Moscone Center, which occupies an entire block. And yes, I got lost inside the Moscone. Actually, twice.
What most impressed me the 1st day was the queue for badge pickup: I’m > 30yo and I’ve never experiences such a tidy, self-organized queue at home. Later, I had further proofs (at the coffee break, toilet, supermarket, airport): queueing in the US is something different from Italy. I think it’s a matter of geometry: US folks make 1-person straight lines, eventually right angles or circles like a spiral. In Italy, it’s more like a violin plot (for non-dataviz disciples: here‘s how it looks like).
Each day I followed the shoals of poster tubes in the morning and of hungry scientists at lunchtime. I had the opportunity to see in person some of the geoscience legends I follow on Twitter. It’s weird, because you don’t know what to expect: gli eroi son tutti giovani e belli – all heroes are young and handsome as Guccini sung almost 50 years ago…
I listened to as many talks and looked to as many posters I could. By the way, stitching all the posters presented at AGU, a 30-km long (18 miles for US friends using strange units) carpet can be made! The science I heard at AGU was overwhelmingly great and gave me food for thoughts for the next months.
During the 5-days congress, I’ve walked over 45 km (28 miles) – did I mention I got lost inside the venue?
- You can be in one single room at a time; with 50+ sessions ongoing at the same time, I missed lots of supercool stuff.
- I’m a backpacker and I felt comfortable on the floor, but this may not be tha case for elders and/or disabled people. Please add chairs outside the ballrooms!
Finally, since #Geolympics is everywhere (check the previous posts on this website to figure out what it is and here to take a look to all the projects supported by AGU Centennial), I now have a favorite MLS team: San Jose Earthquakes!