Friday, February 12, 2010

The Thing About Scientist Conferences

I'm on a kick of pointing out The Things About Various Things, apparently.

Well, I'm about to embark on a journey to our nation's capital to participate in a conference of physicists. As I say that, the snow falls steadily outside my window, but I'm not going to think about it, because I paid too much money for that plane ticket and can't afford another one...

Whether or not I manage to actually go, I'll be broke either way. Okay, not really, but that is the thing about these conferences.

Little just-barely-post-college-student (and no "real" job) me just can't come to grips with the kind of lifestyle where people would pay a few hundred for a plane ticket, a few hundred per night at a hotel that charges you for the things good ole Motel X in normal places already include in the deal, where you go to restaurants that have dress codes and charge fifteen dollars minimum for sandwiches. Not to mention taking a taxi (oh god, a taxi, how do I handle that?) not the bus/subway and all that. Yeah, the metro line that went off the rails this morning is the one I'll need to be taking tomorrow morning, assuming my flight from here isn't dealayed because it's still snowing or I can't get to the airport...not gonna think about it.

I was going to drive, but I couldn't get my head around paying $40/day for parking either, and though still cheaper than flying (and also more environmental), I already know I haven't got the (metaphorical) balls to face DC traffic even when it's not covered in snow.

I'm just a simple southern girl, apparently, used to riding my bike or driving my car and paying less than $10 for most meals except extra fancy occasions.

But anyway. That's the world of our nation's leading scientists, at least the ones who go to these kinds of things regularly. I know I'm not going to look like a seasoned veteran...but at least it'll be an adventure.

Oh, and it's right next to the National Zoo, which, in stark contrast to everything else in Expensive Capitol City High Life world, is free. And according to their on-line menu, sells boca burgers for a shockingly cheap* five dollars.

*quoth Einstein: it's all relative

Obviously, this is not my official Student Science Reporter description of the event.


  1. What is truly depressing to me is the fact that a large number of people that go to these conferences are being funded to do so...and by the government. Alex, for example, goes with his research group to several conferences a year. The funding they receive is from the government and it covers the several hundred to thousand dollar plane tickets, hotel rooms, conference fees and some meals for each member of the group. I personally have been to several conferences and haven't had to pay a dime for any of them!!

  2. I guess I should have gone as a student. I'm supposed to get some money for the science writer thing, but it's enough for like one night at the hotel.