Home > Conferences, Research > Attending a conference without attending

Attending a conference without attending

I have been receiving the newsletter of the American Chemical Society ever since I moved to Ireland to start my PhD. I generally just read through it when I receive it in my inbox and archive it. However this week a notice grabbed my attention. An ACS national meeting has just been held, and all presentations were uploaded online, together with synched audio. More than 500 presentations are available for free, making it possible to feel like I attended the meeting without actually attending.

I had never even thought that such things are done, and was pleasantly surprised at the different topics covered during the meeting. I have now gone through the list of presentations and noted the presentations which are of interest to me. Hopefully I will manage to go through those that caught my attention (around 11 in all). Most are linked to the area I am currently researching, but some are in the wider area of science.

Today I decided to follow an easygoing presentation to start with:

Challenges and joys of an industrial career when “far, far away” becomes “just around the corner

Carolyn Ribes (DOW)

The presentation spoke about the challenges and strengths of women who take on international assignments within their company. Although I have not actually taken such an assignment, most of the things discussed within the presentation are highly relevant to my situation. I found it interesting to learn more about the topic and also to look at how other people prepare presentations and present their work. The presentation (you just have the powerpoint slide on view) and the audio are excellently linked. Overall I really enjoyed listening to it and I look forward to going through the remaining presentations on my list. However at 20-30minutes per presentation it might take some time.

I think such efforts are an excellent way to disseminate details from such a meeting or conference and should be a minefield to any PhD student for whom attendance to conferences is not always possible due to financial or time restraints. It is great that the content is made freely available, and I hope that more conferences go down this route. This is the first time I hear about this, but I will definitely keep my eyes open for similar initiatives.

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