I’m extremely excited to attend the Astrobiology Science Conference this week in Mesa, Arizona. AbSciCon 2015 proved to be my favorite conference so far, and I’m interested to see if the conference will hold its place this week. I’ll be tweeting from the conference from @NolaTRedd, and will try to write up a quick review of some of my favorite sessions. There’s a ton of talks I’m already looking forward to, so I can’t wait to see what the conference will hold in store!
I’ve chatted with several other freelancers, and the conference seems to have relatively little in the way of press. I can’t say that disappoints me, as it means fewer people competing for the same stories (freelancing is rough!). Still, I always enjoy chatting with fellow science writers, so I’ll miss that engagement. On the other hand, I”ll make up for it by engaging with scientists. Conferences are some of the best sources not only of articles but of connections, which are big helps when it comes to learning about what’s going on in the science world.
This year’s AbSciCon seems to have a lot of interest in exoplanets, as well as some interesting new ways to hunt for life, past or present, on Mars and other solar system worlds. Jupiter’s moon Europa is sure to play a major role; at LPSC last month, scientists at a workshop on the proposed Europa lander mentioned that the subject would be discussed again with the chemists and biologists at AbSciCon, and I’m interested in hearing what they have to say. (Check out my now.space piece on the status of the lander.)
Speaking of conferences, I’ll be speaking at the Chondrules as Astrophysical Objects in Vancouver in May. While the bulk of the conference relates to the meteoric record from the astronomer’s point of view, I’ll wrap it up by talking about how science writers – or, at least, how I – select a paper out of the hundreds I review as intriguing enough to write a story about it. Make sure you register for the conference if you haven’t already!
I’ll be ducking out of AbSciCona little early on Friday, since Southwest’s latest flight back to Atlanta leaves ridiculously early, but hopefully I won’t miss too much. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to what is sure to be an awesome conference!
What’s your favorite science conference?