After a year of being glued to screens, Matej can sadly only keep up with one tab at a time and asks with intense FOMO:
What have I missed from vEGU 2021?
Oh, dear! This week has been truly intense, and I do not blame your Internet bandwidth for not keeping up with all the parallel discussions and science from vEGU. In fact, it turns out that on Monday the conference platform was taken by surprise by the hoards of enthusiast scientists trying to log in at the same time. Who would have thought that so many people will try to access the website on Monday morning? After all, the whole experience was organised spontaneously, without know-how of online conferencing. Moreover, it’s not like all the attendees have logged in with unique credentials, so how could you possibly anticipate the traffic in the first day?
I do not blame you for not being able to connect to your BBB (Big Blue Baffle), but you did miss some intense action. Some hard-core action some might say. So-called ‘hackers’ ending up Zoom-bombing the impromptu sessions set-up by desperate conveners from their academic Zoom accounts. After high-jacking the Zoom call these ‘hackers’ decide to expose the worlds’ brightest minds to that-who-shall-not-be-named-most-evil-of-all (
capitalism pornography). What a missed opportunity for geology jokes, I say! Instead, our fragile eyes were polluted with profanities.
It was endearing to see how new technology preserves old behaviour. Short of becoming the new ‘hackers’ we have assisted virtually to endless conversation monopoly between two buddy academics who just wanted to ‘spar’ publicly. What a true reminder of offline conferences! And it turns out you can ask a ‘comment’ online too! Phew! I am not sure if you had the same experience in your sessions, but seeing world leading scientists using Zoom in April 2021 really transported me back to March 2020. Yes, we can hear you. Yes, we can see you eating with your camera on. Yes, you just stood up and left for half of the time. No, you did not mute yourself when you got that phone call. Yep, we can all read what you say in the chat.
As per always, our beloved Marie Tharp keeps stirring the male ego. It turns out, that women can indeed be gaslighted posthumously too. In line with her having to share the spotlight during her lifetime, she now shares the spotlight for a division medal, too.
As the week unfolded I became amazed at all the different definitions of two minutes that presenters had. Two minutes over geological timescales so familiar to us are nothing. Two minutes at vEGU is more like the Phanerozoic… As always, the quality of the scholarship and science was out-stan-ding. Marvellous. Break-through. It really showed that the scientists (especially young parents) took the opportunity Sir Issac Newton took during the plague and came up with Earth-shattering science. After all, this pandemic has increased productivity and publications (especially for women), and it really showed. I can not wait to discover more e-nlightenment in the piles of supplementary display materials.
I hope you were able to attend some of the Gather Town networking events that were most certainly not awkward. Just fellow colleagues, friendly interacting regardless of career stage and status, being curious about each other’s work. Just like in real life.
This might be our last vEGU, but it will sure not be our last didgeridoo.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: I have so much influence that my wishes have been answered and we did get the two week vEGU I hoped for…