Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm in Berlin!

I'm in Germany attending the 9th International Symposium on Semiconductor Light Emitting Devices (ISSLED), being held at Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin (TU Berlin).

Location-wise, this is one of the best conference I've been to.  The university is located in a busy urban area, the pretty Charlottenburg neighborhood of former West Berlin.  Many restaurants nearby, easy access to the U-baun.

The other great part about this conference is they give us two full hours of free time for lunch every day.  Most conferences schedule you for the entire day, including lunch, which usually ends up being some painful buffet banquet at the conference site.  Here, we're on our own to explore nearby restaurants or take a break in our hotel rooms, conveniently located a block away.  So nice!  I even caught a quick nap one of the days.  

I'm glad things are going well, because I had no time to prepare for this trip.  My P.I. had a last minute conflict and couldn't be here to give his invited plenary talk, so he asked me to come in his place early last week (after two others refused).  How could I say no?

This is actually the third time I had to step in as a substitute speaker at an international conference in the past two years -- I've been incredibly lucky.  

Still, although it's been a good experience so far, conference organizers hate it when plenary speakers back-out at the last minute.  They carefully invite specific industry big-wigs to lead the plenary talks to draw people to the conference and the corresponding conference sessions, facilitate research relationships and collaborations, etc.  I am merely a post-doc with a non-stellar publication record, so I know a lot of people have never heard of me and will be disappointed I am speaking in place of my P.I.  Hopefully I can make it up to them by having a good presentation.  (And if my presentation isn't very good, hopefully I at least look cute?) 

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