10 Step Guide to the IAU Program Book

August 7, 2009 — Leave a comment

1) Open book to summary page.

2) Realise this isn’t the summary. Repeat step 1.

3) Nearly there, try again. It’s at the back.

4) Find the session you’re interested in. For the time of that session, find the list of concurrently running Joint Discussions, Special Sessions, Symposia and random titles with roman numerals next to them. (Note: the sessions indicated by roman numerals have no descriptions in the book at all so you just have to guess that they are about).

5) If you are interested in a Joint Discussion, Symposium or Special Session then you now have to go backward through the book and find where it is listed. This may take some time as the pages have no header text to help you.

6) When you locate the Joint Discussion, Symposium or Special Session that you’re interested in you will finally feel that you have found something sensible: a list of the talks with dates and times. Speakers are listed by surname, no indication of institution is given.

7) If you want to know more about a talk – you only have the often cryptic title so far – then pick up the telephone directory abstract book: the tree they sacrificed and gave to you upon registration; and look up the Joint Discussion, Symposia or Special Session you are interested in. Locate the abstract for this talk.

8 ) Hope that it does look interesting or you have to do this all again.

9) Give up and just go to the session with the coolest talk title discarding the massive abstract tome so you don’t hv to carry it around. Realise that if you ever speak at the IAU General Assembly yourself then your title should be “Observations and simulations of dark matter, in supernova, exoplanets and AGN taken in Antartica with the E-ELT using primary school children from developing countries. Free money”.

10) When in disappointing talk, be glad you have an iPhone and that, for once, the WiFi is working.

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