The first day of the 2013 annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology is in the record books. Well, for me anyway. Others are still whooping it up elsewhere, no doubt. Alas, my east-coast internal clock couldn’t take it any more. I need to sleep.
But before I pass out, I felt that I needed to share with you some highlights of my day, and in doing so, illustrate why meetings like this are so important.
Today was a typical day of a professional meeting. There was sitting in large halls listening to back-to-back 15 minute technical talks. These were the calm times. I had only to listen… and live-tweet all the interesting soundbites that came up. (You can follow the tweets related to this meeting by searching the hashtag #2103SVP on Twitter. I’m not the only one tweeting the meeting and you can learn a lot about how the science works by following the tweets.)
Then there were technical posters to look at.There were exhibits. And there was a lot of chatter of paleontologists catching up and planning the next year’s research activities.
The chatter is one of the most important parts of a meeting like this. This is where the magic happens. This is why I call today a raging success.
Today, I made contacts with people that could result in four different new research projects. Three of them are geochemical studies involving things from teeth, to sediments, to fossilized scat. The other is a project for an educational toy that I’ve had in my head for years, but never thought could actually be produced. Now, it seems like a possibility.
I know all these potential projects won’t pan out. Maybe none of them will. But, if past experience holds true, one in ten projects that are suggested during meetings like this actually get somewhere. So if I come up with four potential projects per day for four days, that means I have a good chance of coming up with one new project that will succeed.
That is worth the trip.
Now I need some sleep.