As one of the recipients of the Science Online travel awards, I spent Friday morning, and lunch, visiting National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. NESCent is an NSF-funded space where postdoctoral fellows and faculty members on sabbatical are put together with an unlimited supply of coffee to apply new analyses to (mostly) existing datasets, often in collaboration with researchers at Duke University, the University of North Carolina, or North Carolina State University, the three institutions administering the center.
In three and a half hours, I met with (in no particular order) Craig McClain, Robin Smith, Carlos Botero, Julie Meachen-Samuels, Ben Redelings, Trina Roberts, Juan Santos, and Gregor Yanega – it was extremely stimulating, and a little dizzying. (The other travel award winner, Christie Wilcox, arrived later in the morning, straight off her multi-connection flight from Hawaii, but she held up remarkably well.) The visit wrapped up with lunch at a nice cafe across the street from the NESCent offices, and then it was off to the lemurs with me. I can’t think of a better way to start the conference than a morning packed full of smart people doing interesting science.
Update, 17 Jan 2010: Christie took a couple photos, one of which I’m posting here:
Welcomed by NESCent. Photo by Christie Wilcox.