Talking ’bout my generation(‘s science)

By Nick

I’ve just spent the last couple of days at the PAGEs Young Scientists Meeting. PAGES is an international organization designed to bring together the diverse range of disciplines in the field of paleoclimate (that’s the study of climates in the past). The Young Scientists Meeting is held once every four years and brings together a group of paleoclimate scientists at the post-grad and post-doc level from all over the globe. This year the conference has been in Goa, India, and I’ve been one of the participants.

The conference has been great fun. Everyone has had a chance to present their work, be it through a talk or poster. And it has been a great chance to meet my peers in the world of paleoclimatology, talk to them about their experiences, and share some of the highs and lows of the PhD process. Pretty much everyone there has two nationalities, the country where they work and the country they were born in. So asking someone where they are from has become a complicated question!

But the meeting has been so much more than just a regular conference. There have also been some “professional development sessions” which sound really dull, but have actually been great fun. We’ve had Alicia Newton the journal Nature Geoscience talk to us about the reviewing process. Dave Anderson from NOAA has spoken on the upcoming world of big data, data storage and sharing (which I want to write another post on soon). And Gavin Schmidt from NASA held a video conference with us over the art of science communication.

One of the best aspects of the course has been the getting to know other young scientists. Too often at big conferences, you arrive knowing only a couple of people, and you spend much of the week feeling awkward, or following round your professor, hoping to be acknowledged by some major scientist. Here, we have built a small community, so not only is it nice to have friends at the upcoming Open Science Meeting, but these are people I will know for much of my future career, for as long as we are paleoclimate scientists.

Next up is the Open Science Meeting, or as it has been dubbed, the “Old Scientists Meeting”, where four hundred or so paleoclimate scientists are coming together, regardless of age. Should be fun!

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