The upcoming ACS conference is just over a mere 4 months away! Who’s excited?!
OK, It’s a little early to be geeking out over the conference, seeing as how it hasn’t even been that long since the last conference. Nevertheless, I’ve begun to think about it. Particularly, seeing as how I’d love to attend. Seems normal in the “chemistry rights of passage”:
- Start research
- Start a blog
- Go to conference, and report on conference
- Get published
- Become professor
- Become world famous chemist
- Become some sort of superhero/james bond type figure, with your science-side as your regular identity, and your “super powers” drawing heavily from your scientific background, not unlike Tony Stark/Iron Man…
Well, clearly the error compounds a little with each step, but generally, that’s my plan.
Anyway, I was wondering, what is the protocol (if any) for asking a PI to fund an odyssey to a conference? I’ve seen plenty of conference reports ’round the blogosphere, but most (if any?) don’t mention how the trip was acquired in the first place. Ideally, your professor will offer you an all-expenses-paid vacation from chemistry to chemistry, but then again, ideally your yields will always be better than or equal to those published, and your ΔRfs will always be >1. If you’re an undergrad and happen to live in the conference city, then maybe conference attendance won’t break the bank, but if you’re further up the food chain, or farther away from the city, the combined costs of attendance, travel, and lodging start to add up.
What with the economy, these days, and, well… ever: if you’re a student, there’s a fair chance you’re dirt poor. If you’re not a student, judging by the Registration Rates, it looks like the ACS thinks you’re going to get a hand, anyway. So, any funding one can squeeze out of their respective institution, the better. But how? Furthermore, if you’re like me (undergrad scum), or perhaps a fresh grad student, you probably don’t have the chops for your PI to straight up offer to send you, but you still want to go. Is there a diplomatic way to ask to go, or will you invariably look like a n00b¹.
Of course, for myself, the likelihood that I’ll make it all the way to SF looks slim to nil. Truth be told, it’s probably not “worth it” to send me off to such a conference armed with little more than a youthful exuberance for chemistry, and I certainly don’t have the bankroll to fund the entire trip myself… but, at the same time, if I could possibly manage to swing such an endeavor from my university, I’m sure as shit going to take the opportunity! Also, if I can manage to score a freebie Fisher “Caffeine Mug,” that would make the entire cost of attendance totally worth it! (So what if they can be purchased for sub $3 at the ThermoFisher gift shop! While all swag is free, “earning” such a mug by finagling it from the Fisher people would be priceless.)
 Completely unrelated, but bravo for a masterfully comprehensive account of a “noob.” If there were an award for best user-generated knowledge articles (wiki, urbandictionary, etc), this guy might take the cake.