In this quiet moment on a rainy Saturday evening in North Carolina Piedmont, I lie here in awe of the breadth of creative talent and boundless enthusiasm that this place attracts.
Tonight at 5:00 pm Eastern time, a couple hundred folks or so learned that they had not scored a slot in the lottery for the remaining spaces at ScienceOnline2013. I won’t be there this year either but I can certainly understand the disappointment. This simple idea of Bora Zivkovic along with Let’s-Get-Together-and-See-Where-This-Goes Guy, Anton Zuiker, has grown from a small gathering of likeminded online science enthusiasts to become the South-By-Southwest of science meetings, now under the exceptional leadership of Karyn Traphagen.
I encourage everyone to stay on or sign up for the waitlist. Lots of plans change between now and late January so registration slots will most certainly open up.
But in the meantime, you might consider another possibility that just happens to be available this year very near to the same GPS coordinates: ScienceWriters2012, the annual conference of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and the National Association of Science Writers.
Scheduled for October 26-30, 2012, ScienceWriters2012 will be headquartered at the very same hotel with a program crafted by a broad group of science communicators that include a subset of ScienceOnline folks. (For the record, we’re called Science Communicators of North Carolina, or SCONC.).
There is one considerable difference between the NASW and ScienceOnline: NASW has a membership application process (and I only just became a member this past year).
Students can probably still get in before the meeting registration deadline of October 10 by submitting their membership application now. That qualifies them for the $75 registration fee (and membership is only $35/year). Go to the bottom of the membership registration information page here and sign up for a free NASW account to begin the registration process. You’re permitted two years of student membership after which you must apply to be a full member.
For us folks who are, um, in the years out of school, non-member registration for the meeting is $395 and member registration is now $195 (the early-bird deadline has passed). If you’re not currently a member but wish to become one, the process requires submission of five published clips (written for lay audiences over the last five years) and two sponsor nominations from current NASW members. I’m not sure if that can be accomplished in time for the meeting but you might inquire with the NASW Director’s Office (_director_at_nasw_org_ — you know what to do with the underscores).
This will be my first NASW meeting so I’ll leave it to others in the comment thread to compare and contrast ScienceOnline and the CASW/NASW annual meeting. Weather-wise, the NASW meeting falls well after hurricane season and is bound to be splendid with highs in the high 60s°F/18-20°C and lows in the mid-40s°F/7-8°C. ScienceOnline tends to be a toss-up as we’ve had temperatures of 70°F/21°C some years and snow and ice storms for others.
I just think that we’re really fortunate to be hosting both this year.
So if you didn’t make it for ScienceOnline2013 registration, stay on the waitlist.
But do consider joining us here in late October for ScienceWriters2012.
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