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What to expect from a physics conference?

  1. Jan 31, 2013 #1
    So I just started college as a freshman and there will be a nice astrophysics conference next week. I'd like to go, but I'm not sure about how complex these conferences are. I'm able to get most of concepts to a low, media-explained level, but I'm afraid I couldn't be able to get MOST of the conference and I would lose my time going there.

    So yeah, what could I expect from a conference as a freshman?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2013 #2


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    There's a good chance you won't understand most of the material covered in the talks. You might get something out of the introductions, but, depending on the conference, most often talks are aimed at scientific peers and while they may not all understand all of the jargon used, the audience is likely to be familiar with current problems in the field, past attempts at solving those problems, and commonly employed techniques in the field.

    What you might get out of the conference is the opportunity to talk with graduate students or senior undergrads who are presenting posters. These kind of informal interactions can be absolute gold... or just a nightmare of socially awkward mingling... depending on your personality.

    Personally I wouldn't worry too much about attending a conference at the freshman undergraduate level.
  4. Jan 31, 2013 #3
    I went to a physics conference in Boston as a high school student, and a lot of the papers (well, for mine anyway) were experimental. A lot of the things you could probably understand, but the papers might not be on what you'd think they'll be on.

    But as said above, if you actually want to attend, spend a few days before looking at some astrophysics papers and get familiar with the notations/wording they use in the astrophysics field.

    Good luck.
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