Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Liveblog from SfN

The most notable thing about the conference today is how much everyone looks like a zombie.  I never thought I'd be so glad to go back to Long Island, but five days of brain stuff is just too much.

I've seen some interesting research, met some incredibly talented scientists, ate an ridiculous amount of cheese.  I'll post some of my photos and some more of my (hopefully more organized) thoughts as I decompress from all this.

Random Notes from Chicago

1.  In real life neuroscientists are more quirky than they are stuffy.  For some reason, I expected to see more tweed jackets and less Dodger's t-shirts.

2.  Conversly, University of Chicago might have the coolest campus I've ever seen.  There are gargoyles, iron gates, latin inscriptions, and everything else you'd want from your academic institution.  Also, there are knights.

3.  Five 12+ hour days devoted to neuroscience makes my brain hurt.  We went to a restaurant where you could write on the walls and I drew a picture of the prefrontal cortex and then signed my name.

4.  Deep dish pizza is good.  Deep dish pizza twice in the same 48 hour period was probably a mistake.

5.  Optogenetics is the hot new thing in psychology.  I am kind of in awe of it.

6.  Magicians say really dumb things at neuroscience conferences.  Example: "There are more magicians in magic than women."

 7.  Neuroscientists say even dumber things to magicians at said conferences.  Example: "Has anyone tried to do magic with non-human primates?"

8.  No cab driver in Chicago knows how to get to Hyde Park.  Concordantly, the Metra sometimes decides to not stop there and abandon it's passengers in the middle of nowhere.

9.  Advisers go to venders to buy equipment that costs thousands of dollars.  Their grad students go for the free pens.

10.  Academics will wait hours in line for coffee.  I will wait minutes for chai tea.

11.  I want to go to California for a post-doc.  All the best research is either there or someplace cold.

12.  If you know where to go, it is possible to get incredible all you can eat sushi.

13.  Recovery of function data suggests that an intact prefrontal cortex responds in a load dependent manner supporting dynamic neuroplasticity as a mechanism of recovery of function.

14.  Even PhDs check facebook while during talks.  In fact, they might do it more than average.

15.  A group of PhDs will abandon their grad students in downtown Chicago at any opportunity.  Especially if there is a discussion of funding to be had.

1 Minute at SfN

I'll post a lot more from Chicago in the next week or so, but I thought I'd share this before I head home...

The last major talk of the conference was by Eric Kandel a guy who literally wrote the book on neuroscience.  I thought the talk was pretty interesting, but it gives a pretty good example of why my brain is so exhausted after four days of running around with a bunch of brain people.

I got some video.  Check it out.

Believe it or not, he is talking about memory formation.