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The Morning After the LSC

The Morning After the LSC

- Contributed by Linda Turner

Over in the Livingston column this month, you read all about the recent LIGO Science Collaboration (LSC) meeting held in Louisiana. As with previous LSC gatherings, this one was a hive of activity, with over 200 scientists in attendance. The collaborators came to teach and to learn, to participate in the lightning exchange of complex ideas, to discuss and debate, to celebrate the strides of progress made, and to engage in some good old-fashioned brain-storming. But this represents only one side of a typical LSC conference, the "glamorous" side.

Behind the excitement of this lively gathering of scientists is a virtual tidal-wave of overhead presentations. And this is where my job begins. It's my responsibility to make sure all these presentations are available on the web as soon as possible once the meeting has adjourned. With over 150 presentations given during this past LSC, the size and scope of these vital get-togethers in ever-increasing--and so is the task of preparing each speaker's presentation for net-access by all collaborators.

The first day or two of the conference is probably the easiest for me as the submittal of presentations is at first merely a trickle. But each day the rate grows in intensity. The trickle becomes a flow, then a rush. And I find that as the presentations elapse and the conference comes to a close, what had been a steady stream now swells into a massive deluge. After all the laptops have been closed, the buffet tables cleared, the coffee urns drained of their dregs and the last participant is on the plane back home, I'm surrounded by an ocean of overhead presentations all waiting to be posted--urgently! That's when my "real" work on the LSC begins, the behind-the-scenes work, the grunt work--the dreaded Paper Work! And that's when I shift into high gear.

For me, success means having most of the presentations posted to the web within a week following the LSC's adjournment. And this time, over 125 of the presentations were available early in the first week after the meeting's close. By now, of course, all the presentations (save for the odd stray) have been posted and made available. But to me what's even more satisfying than processing all the paperwork promptly is being able to meet all the folks who provided the material, and having the opportunity to become better acquainted with so many of our LSC partners. Supporting the LSC in this role is personally very rewarding, and always leaves me feeling energized and looking forward to the next hectic conference.


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