Sunday, March 28, 2010

conferences: the unease of giving talks.

this weekend is a conference in lexington, kentucky. day 1 of 2 is over -- a dozen or more talks, meals and coffee, research discussions -- and strangely enough, i don't feel sleepy.

some observations:
  1. i think i've recast myself as someone who studies analysιs of PDE now, albeit on metrιc spaces. do one project, give one talk, and suddenly people think that you know what you're doing and suggest all sorts of project ideas.

  2. after my talk was over, nobody had any questions .. which was unnerving, because it could mean plenty of things:

    did they understand it all, think it overly obvious?
    did no one understand, thereby making any question impossible?

    this time was especially worrisome: i spent my usual non-teaching time this week either (a) preparing a midterm (+ extra office hours), (b) helping a graduate student prepare a talk, and (c) entertaining friends/overnight guests from out of town.

    subsequently i finished writing my talk on the drive to the conference, and had no real time to practice it. there was a real chance that it could have bombed.

    call me needy, but i was relieved when a colleague complimented me on the talk. i don't know whether he suspected that i wanted to hear it, but i was just glad he said so.

    there's probably a moral in this, but i can't see it right away.

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