For graduate students, attending an ACS National meeting for the first (or second time) can be a bit overwhelming.
Throughout the afternoon on Tuesday, associate editor Linda Wang and I enjoyed pouncing on unsuspecting grad students to ask them if they had experienced anything weird or surprising while attending the events here in New Orleans. I did the interviewing while Linda snapped these photos. Here are some of our favorite responses:
Following the Women Chemist Committee’s luncheon, Penny Neisen Roufs and Maria Deslandes from Case Western Reserve University shared that they accidentally stumbled onto a movie set while walking to Kinko’s to print Roufs’s poster. (A WCC/Eli Lilly & Co. Travel Grant recipient, Roufs presented a paper and poster under the Division of Organic Chemistry.) They regret not asking about the title of the movie as they were being quickly escorted off the set, which featured period costumes from the 1920s. (Others mentioned having seen the set as it moved throughout the city this week.)
Walking through the exposition hall, we stopped Subramanya Pingali, a grad student at the University of New Orleans. He told us about an unusual evening poster session, which featured distractions that included bright balloon sculptures and a huge flat-screen TV broadcasting one of the NCAA basketball games. (We are betting that others didn’t mind having the TV there at all.)
We stopped Jennifer Haghpanah, a grad student at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, as she was buying herself an ACS t-shirt at a booth in the exposition hall. This week, she has been most intrigued by the SciMix Interdivisional Poster Session & Mixer held on ACS Island in Second Life, a 3-D virtual world created by its residents. Although she described it as “weird,” she loved being able to ask questions and get responses from presenters in this virtual world.
Andrea Verdan and Todd Gatlin, grad students in chemical education at Clemson University, were in awe after attending Tuesday afternoon’s symposium honoring Richard N. Zare, the recipient of the 2008 George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education. Verdan says she was overwhelmed by the opportunity to sit in the same room with “the elite of the chemical world,” including Dudley Herschbach, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986. Gatlin enjoyed witnessing the “funny and playful nature” of these “high-level chemists.”