On BrainTrain & Ocean Sciences: the conference student+ experience

I love scientific conferences. Going to meetings is like taking the pulse of research: you learn about cool, interesting (often still unpublished) science, and you get to meet new people and network. Unfortunately, all too often, students and postdocs are forced to take the back seats at these events. We are not involved in the organisation, and generally only have limited opportunity to actively participate. Luckily, this is slowly changing: there’s a growing recognition by senior scientists and funding agencies that students are a vital part of meetings, that our interests may extend beyond regular scientific talks, and that it’s useful for us to take part in the organization. Two recent meetings, the BrainTrain Conference in Japan and the Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) 2014 in Hawaii, highlight how students can get involved. Continue reading


Museum Magic

Poster for the 2014 Young Natural History Scientists' Meeting by xxxx.

Poster for the 2014 Young Natural History Scientists’ Meeting by Sophie Fernandez (MNHN).

Every museum has its moment of magic. In New York and Washington, exhibits came to life thanks to an ancient Egyptian tablet. In London, the mummy of Imhotep was resurrected in the halls of the British Museum. But next month in Paris, you will not need ancient sorcery to get under the spell of science: the Association for Students and Young Researchers (BDEM) at the French Museum of Natural History is organizing its 1st Young Natural History Scientists’ Meeting (12-14th February 2014)!

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Science Events Student Style – still looking for inspiration!

I believe that communicating and discussing science is incredibly important. So, not surprisingly, I love going to meetings and courses. Amongst these, events organized by students are frequently under-appreciated gems: they are affordable, with much less naval-gazing, and much more lively discussions. Student organizers are usually extremely enthusiastic, who will go that extra mile to make the event a success. Even the speakers are often more motivated, because the ones you get on a low-budget, low-key event are the ones who do it for the love of science, and not for prestige. Finally, the program can be super creative, with items you would normally not see on a science schedule. Oh, and of course the parties. They’re generally great. (And the after-parties. And the reunions.)

Therefore, I would like to dedicate a section of this blog to student science meetings: the ones organized by students and the ones organized for students, regardlehelp_wanted-neonss whether they are at high-school or university. The first post was about a Science Summer Camp organized at my old alma mater, the Eotvos College in Budapest. I have some more ideas about other events, but if you are a student and are organizing (have organized or know of) some kind of science event for students/by students – I’d probably love to write about it, and would be very happy if you’d contact me!

Science for students by students: The Eötvös College Science Summer Camp

Do you remember that terrible week of your summer holidays when you were little, and your parents didn’t know what to do with you? When they would sign you up for a… Summer Camp? Without fail they would get everything wrong: your interests, which summer camp your friends attended, and when they wanted to send you to the cool-and-trendy camp, they were normally lagging behind the actual trends by about a year (or sometimes even a decade). This is a post about a different kind of summer camp, a summer camp that kids can choose to attend and actually enjoy: the Eötvös College Science Summer Camp, which was held this summer for the second year running. Continue reading