Various Lies

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On conferences...

I have just been invited/nominated/designated to give a talk at a conference in two weeks time. A summit no less, held in between my institute, two or three others and a national lab.

One of the speakers pulled out, and into this pregnant pause my name was thrust. The conference coordinator called my boss/co-director asking for suggestions and he put my name up there. Very flattering, and a testament to my great hair and fragrant persona, no doubt. But a little bit...nerve wracking.

Now, I have been a scientist for a while, over a decade in fact. I've got a PhD and years of advanced training. I've published scholarly articles, and not so scholarly articles. And I've been to loads of conferences before, but I've always done poster presentations. I've deliberately avoided platform talks due to a thick vein of moral cowardice that runs through me, like a...a...Colorado River of self preservation through the Grand Canyon of my soul...

...I like that...nice bit of metaphor on a cold and rainy Wednesday morning...

See, scientists can be real dicks, especially to other scientists. Folks get very territorial and defensive and your average scientist is not the most socially adept person anyway. So, it always struck me as better to avoid the limelight, especially seeing as I have no intention of trying to get famous and run my own lab and stuff. It's sucked a few times as I've sat in the audience watching peers or supervisors give talks I should have done, knowing I could have done it better and handled the questions at the end just as well. But, it always seemed for the best, in the long run.

And now my finagling, and wheedling and downright begging has come to an end. Something in me snapped, I must admit. My name was put forward and something weird happened...I said, "Great! I can do that!". Damned pride. Damned, insufferable pride. At the same time my name was put forward, someone else (my other boss) suggested the name of one of our clinician scientists, and I thought, "look, fuck off! She is a clinician, runs a busy surgery in town and works with us part time. I'm the fucking Project Manager of this shower, this is my fucking job!"

And there you have it.

So, After 11 years of bench work, 4 and half of which were spent in postdoctoral training...after these years of training as a neuropharmacologist with a molecular genetics background...I'm giving a talk at a conference...on Bio-fucking-Informatics.


Which I have exactly three months of experience in. I know next to nothing about software design, programming, application interfaces, database administration. I'm not sure what php, lateX, C++ are, let alone how they work, when you use them and why. And I have to stand in front of a specialised audienced, at a conference and talk for an hour. An hour!

this could be very interesting. I wonder if I can put Visene in the soup the night before...cut the attendance down a bit...

Now I have to write my biosketch...this is going to be a colourfully embroidered patchwork of wankery, to say the least...

1 comment:

chall said...

that's cool!! fun for you!

Feel free to practice with one person who has some experience of bioinformatics ;)

and as long as you know hot to pronounce lateX* i'm sure you can make it all understandable and give a perfect talk!

*laaa-tech, but you knew that already ;)