Many European Earth and space scientists who attend the annual American Geophysical Union Fall meeting are probably glued to their computers right now finishing off their oral or poster presentations. It amazes me how – from personal experience – it is always at the very last week (or day) that some scientific breakthrough is made. But that is just the beginning.
For Europeans attending AGU it could be a ‘stressful‘ experience. After the sigh of relief that you have something interesting to present you need to have a look at the abstract you had submitted months ago and see how you will combine what you had written back then with what you have just discovered, make (nice) figures, and put everything together. All has to be done in time to go for a few rounds of festive drinks with your peers who you would not see until mid-January the next year, buy some season gifts for loved ones, close-off your luggage, grab your passport, and head to the airport all set for the long-haul, twelve-hour flight! Once there you need to adjust to the time difference and wait until the time of your 15 minutes show-case.
Traveling back could be a nightmare if mother nature decides to throw a blanket of snow on the northern hemisphere. Getting stuck in the US is the last thing on everyone’s mind but it is a possible nightmare! Starting right from finding an alternative flight, sleeping at the airport because nearby hotels are fully booked, and hoping your return flight is not diverted mid-flight due to an airport closure back home.
If you may think that all this is an exaggeration, that was a personal experience account. Nonetheless it is worth all the adventure; sharing your work with the community and catching up with friends and colleagues from the US. AGU is a great experience and participation is recommended as much as is the EGU General Assembly.
Safe flights to all of those going to AGU !