>Another conference under the belt. This was not what I would consider the most informative, science-wise. In fact, there was very little there that I actually cared about even a little. But, I've learned that the longer I'm in the field the less I actually learn about "teh science" at conferences. I hear about all that by reviewing papers/grants and phone conversations. No, in my opinion, the only reason to go to the conference is for the socializing. I had some quality face-time with some of the Important folks in the field, made some new connections and caught up with friends over beers. There was a lot of comparing notes about lab start-up, which was actually super useful. I did get to give a talk about my work that seemed to go over really well, so maybe something else will fall out of that.
What I have never understood about conferences are the people who go in groups and then only hang out with the people they already know. Why bother going out of town for this? That defeats the whole purpose of the conference, right? This drives me insane! So, when I was asked to sit on a "panel" for students and postdocs that are thinking about what to do next with their life, I felt like it was my duty to tell people to step outside their comfort zone and meet some new people. I actually said that hanging out at the postdoc/student session was a waste of time and that they should be next door drinking beers with the faculty members that might be evaluating their job application. I still think this is good advice. I wonder if the organizer of the postdoc/student session will bother to invite me back again?