ICMPC / ESCOM at Thessaloniki

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So here we are! The first full day of the conference is now behind us, and the first thing to come to mind is that it is very hot in Greece! Luckily the conference venue is nicely air conditioned, and after a few days here the heat is a bit easier to take.

Scientifically the conference has had a great start, we had keynote presentations by Irène Deliège and John Rink already on Monday evening, and today a full day of presentations and posters.

And, there is a new format in the ICMPC/ESCOM conferences: speed poster presentations. The idea is that before the poster exhibition, you get 5 minutes to present your work, and so everyone gets a better idea about what is on the show and can find the posters they are most interested in, and also the posters get much more attention than before. And here, the organisers have made a shift towards fewer talks and more posters, which I think is a good direction. The speed poster format has been very well received, I think, at least everyone I’ve talked to likes it, and so does Vicky (whose blog you should follow not just for the more up-to-date conference commentary but in general).

Many studies presented here are individual experiments or pieces of work where you can get the main idea in a few minutes, making the speed poster a good format. We did consider it already for the previous ESCOM that we organised in Jyväskylä, but didn’t dare make the radical shift and make so much time for the speed poster sessions in the schedule as you need to. I’m glad organisers here took that step and I hope future conferences will keep it and develop it further along these new lines.

Personally, I think that 5 minutes is even a bit too much. I’d perhaps prefer 2 minutes per person, so that there could be fewer parallel tracks. Now, in many cases you don’t need the poster at all, as the 5 minute presentation contains everything. And, you need five parallel sessions to go through all posters, so you miss quite a lot. But, this is fine tuning and other people have other opinions about the time needed to present an idea, I’m just glad that the posters have gotten the promotion they deserve, and that the schedule is built around keynotes and posters and not paper sessions.

I’ve included some of the pics from my cell phone here, and will keep adding to the Gallery as the week progresses. I might write more about the themes and studies in the conference as it progresses. If you want to follow the conference events relatively “live”, a number of people seem to be tweeting with the hashtag #ICMPC. The conference programme is of course online at the conference website, if you want to see what they have catered for us here!

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