Tuesday, June 26, 2012

conference, day 1: already, bad behavior.

[from yesterday's draft, on a scrap of paper]

i'm getting "worse" when it comes to behaving myself at conferences.  usually i pay attention for the whole of the first day -- an honest effort, if you will -- but it's already day one and by the second round of plenary talks, i'm not listening much anymore. [1]

instead, there's an odd thread that's run loose from my talk preparations, which are preliminary results and not yet submitted.

there's some leeway here in the hypotheses;
i wonder if i can prove something better?

so i spent most of the talks, scribbling.  every talk gets my undivided attention for ten minutes, you see; if it doesn't catch my interest after that, then i'm working on my own problems.

i'm not the only one "misbehaving" though:
during the last plenary talk of the morning, i heard the unmistakable sound of fingers typing on a laptop's keyboard .. and the keys are rather thin at that.

then again, it could be one of the forthcoming speakers, making last minute changes to make a more reasonable or accessible talk .. in which case, they would have my solemn appreciation.
speaking of which, i was subjected to a few painful talks today.  it's not the subject matter was particularly bad, but that the method or presentation was somewhat .. lacking.
in one contributed talk, there were screenshots of a PDF of the speaker's actual paper [2].  i suppose it could be worse: around 2-3 years ago, i attended a conference in which the speaker actually opened up a PDF copy of his paper, and scrolled up and down to get at the right theorems to talk about!

in another talk today, one slide consisted of a single paragraph that was twenty lines long of pure text.  (i counted, if only because of indignation.)


how anyone is supposed to follow those kinds of talks is beyond me ..!
to be fair, the first two plenary talks gave nice introductions to the Heιsenberg grοup, which was initially surprising but later made perfect sense. (i forget that there is a rich history of fοurier analysιs on this kind of Lie grοup, if only to show that it is a theory that isn't completely specialised to Euclidean spaces.)

[1] then again, the conference is centered around the topics of fοurier analysιs and pseudοdifferentιal οperatοrs .. neither of which i study.  it only happens that the conference is being held at my university and that it is easy to attend.

[2] the speaker was quite ambitious: in twenty minutes he even made it to section 7!

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