Should graduate students travel ?

Short answer: yes, they should. It’s very important. But the type of “traveling” that I promote and encourage these days, for graduate students and postdocs (obviously beginning with my own), is not the traveling that I, that most of us did in our graduate student days. There used to be a time when “traveling” for graduate students (in physics anyway) mostly meant going to conferences.

In condensed matter physics, for example, the March meeting of the American Physical Society is by far the most important appointment in North America, and it was long regarded as the one conference that every physics graduate student had to attend.
It’s where most graduate students get to give their first external presentation (albeit only 10-minute long), facing an audience consisting of professors, postdocs and graduate students from other universities, all over the world. There has always been, in my mind, something truly exciting and majestic about that meeting (also referred to as the debutante ball by a more cynical colleague).
I remember the Friday afternoon before the week of the meeting, spent listening to and rehashing all of our presentations, and then meeting almost the entire FSU physics department at the Tallahassee airport, on Saturday morning, all going to the same place [0].
The attendance (of the order of 6,000) is perhaps not on par with that of comparable meetings in other disciplines, but still rather impressive, and the first time I attended (in New Orleans, in… ouch, 1988… ), was when I first realized how big the field is, how little what I did mattered in the big scheme of things (but for some reason it did not bother me much), and how many there were like me, excited and proud as I was to present their first piece of work, obviously aiming to get to the same place where I wanted to get, eventually. And of course, it was when most of us would see for the first time legendary physicists of whom we had only heard, or read about, until then.

It is in many respects an educational experience, and clearly also a chance for aspiring young physicists to get to be known, starting to establish their own personal networks of connections, meeting potential future employers. Postdoctoral candidates are often informally interviewed at that meeting, whereas faculty candidates try and find out what their chances are at landing a job for which they have been interviewed on campus a few weeks earlier, or of being interviewed for a position [1].
“Face time” is very limited though. Meeting is very fast paced, lunch breaks are short and days are long, with a lot of parallel sessions and a lot of talks to go to; seldom does anyone have more than half an hour to talk to a colleague. It gets tiring very quickly.
Interesting ideas can be picked up, but mostly by “bits and pieces”. I remember as a graduate student returning overwhelmed, sometimes excited but more often worried about not having accomplished enough in my research work, and not being good enough to make it. Maybe it is a useful reality check, I don’t know.

In any case, things have changed. Travel budgets are meager these days, and it is my sense that most students do not go nearly as often as they did two decades ago.
Smaller conferences, as well as Summer schools, tend to be more effective, perhaps, from the strictly scientific standpoint. They are more focused, more relaxed, it is easier for a student to approach and discuss physics with prominent scientists and/or key players in their research area.
But I think that the most important type of traveling for graduate students consists of actually spending an extended period of time (e.g., Summer) doing their research work at another institution (or a national laboratory), ideally without their PhD advisor there with them.
Possibly it is something to be done only with senior students, who are fairly in control of their research and capable to work rather independently, but I think it is very useful for a graduate student to get an early taste of what postdoctoral life is. How things work when one is on one’s own, how easy or difficult it is to establish quickly a productive research relationship with new people, discussing physics with someone other than one’s PhD advisor — these are all things with which one should better get acquainted before making the move to postdoc.
It is also a very effective way to be known by a possible future postdoctoral advisor. There is nothing like observing someone “in action” in the course of a few weeks, not only directly, but also through the person’s interaction with other graduate students, to make an assessment of his/her suitability as a postdoctoral associate. I do not think that the same information can be gathered in a 30-minute conversation at the APS meeting, or by reading a letter of recommendation.
And I also think it is important to promote as early as possible the notion among graduate students that their profession breaks institutional boundaries, that research work is shared, that graduate students at other universities are colleagues before being competitors (we used to call this “internationalism” — even though that word has political implications that no everyone may be keen on, I think the concept is similar).

The best way to accomplish this, is for a faculty to have this type of arrangement with colleagues at other institutions, with whom ongoing collaborations are entertained. Students can spend Summer, or some other term, doing research work at the colleague’s institution. Financially it is really not that big a commitment, and I think the payoff is far greater than going to conferences.

Notes
[0] Traveling was not as expensive in those days, or perhaps there was more money for these things. Those were still the day when one had to stay on Saturday overnight, if air fare had to be kept low. It was quite normal for a professor to go with his entire group of students and postdocs. Most of us can hardly afford to go themselves now, let alone taking others with them.
[1] Although I think that, these days, by the time late March comes, for the most part chips have fallen into place, and not much is left to be had.

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16 Responses to “Should graduate students travel ?”

  1. The Inorganic Gardener Says:

    In my department, we like Ph.D students to attend as many conferences as time and funds allow. We encourage them to submit abstracts for talks, not posters, since quite often they will be accepted for a talk (if their work looks interesting) which is then good experience, of if not, they will most likely get a poster anyway.

    Fieldwork/working in another institution is also a very good idea – providing it’s practical for the student. I think too many departments/supervisors forget that students have lives too. Some have young children (and might be single parents) and some have dependents of other kinds.

    I’m not a big fan of the summer-school programs, particularly those like the UK GradSchool which I’ve heard students refer to as a waste of time and money since it’s based on “transferable skills” and “networking” (i.e. learning how to give a talk [which I would hope they would be taught within their home University and would have plenty of practice of] and how to shag their way around the other delegates [which I would imagine many of them are very good at anyway]. Many of these summer-school-type-things seem to be geared toward the 22-yr-old first-yr Ph.D student and don’t have a lot of content aimed towards the older students (e.g. the 35-yr-old single-mum who used to be a Technician but has decided to do a Ph.D to improve her career prospects now she has a child).

    I totally agree re: lack of funding – at all stages of academia – for travel. I’ve taken to paying for my own travel arrangements of a lot of conferences because I’m sick of being forced to share a room in a student residence or a shabby B&B, to travel long-haul economy and to have to use a bus to get from airport to hotel because taxi fares are not refundable. If we’re to be expected to attend conferences like the professional scientists and get the most out of it possible, then we should be treated like professionals. I don’t want to stay at the Ritz or to go London–>Paris first -class, but to be allowed Premiere-Economy on a 20 hour flight and a single room in a 4* hotel when I reach my destination makes such a difference to the conference experience that I now upgrade things at my own expense.

    I swear that all UK Universities are issued with a book called “Scabby B&Bs in the British Isles” because they always manage to book the most awful places with inedible food, rooms which look like something from “Readers’ Wives” and which are 3 miles from the conference venue…

    tig

  2. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    Fieldwork/working in another institution is also a very good idea – providing it’s practical for the student. I think too many departments/supervisors forget that students have lives too. Some have young children (and might be single parents) and some have dependents of other kinds.

    Well… is it so off-the-wall to assume that if a grown-up decides to go to graduate school, some thought must have gone into the process, and things worked out so that the person will be able to devote to graduate school the time that it requires ? It is true that some people bite more than they can chew, but is it fair to blame departments or major professors ?

    If the demands of graduate school and/or opportunities for professional and educational growth tread with other priorities, then I am sorry but at some point it is legitimate to wonder whether that is the right time for the person to be in graduate school.
    That is not to say that there is no room for other activities, but students should keep in mind that prospective employers are unlikely to give any credit for anything other than one’s academic record.

  3. The Inorganic Gardener Says:

    What I mean is, if working elsewhere is not in the original project description, you can’t be expected to plan to spend 3 or 6 months away from home. Sure, if the Ph.D is advertised as having placements etc, then fine, but Supervisors shouldn’t expect students to be willing to up-sticks at the drop of a hat.

  4. Cherish Says:

    If the demands of graduate school and/or opportunities for professional and educational growth tread with other priorities, then I am sorry but at some point it is legitimate to wonder whether that is the right time for the person to be in graduate school.

    I hope you’ll forgive me for saying this, but I think that is an attitude that seriously needs to change. This mindset is exactly going the wrong direction, IMO. We should be working toward a more hospitable environment for everyone to have a life outside of work and/or school, especially since this disproportionately affects women. People should not be forced to choose between their career aspirations and their “other priorities” (one of which is usually family). This is a mindset we should be getting rid of, not actively encouraging.

    When I looked at possibilities for grad school, I looked into staying at my previous school while doing a summer “excursion” like what you mention or my current situation…but there’s no way I could do both. I think I’m already giving up a lot for my education, so I’d have a very hard time conceiving of someone telling me I should do more or quit.

    On the other hand, I have to disagree that doing such things is a waste of time. Getting perspective of what things may be like at a different school, with a different advisor, etc. is immensely valuable. There are also summer “schools” which could also be immensely valuable both in developing skills as well as finding potential collaborators or at least people who share interest in your area of research.

    Just because someone attends such a thing or has the opportunity to do research at a different institution for a summer doesn’t mean they are necessarily the better researcher, however. They may only be the one with less obligations at home or elsewhere. I think that judging someone who has this sort of opportunity based on the assumption that they are “more committed” is faulty.

  5. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    Cherish, first of all, obviously at the end of the day it all boils down to dealing with reasonable persons, aside from all statements of principle that one can make, which one may end up having to take back.
    Unfortunately, there is a society out there that works based on rules which I did not make, and which are not about to change any time soon. For me or anyone else to act like they don’t exist, is disingenuous and irresponsible, and ultimately does not serve well the student.

    Let me give you a concrete example: Say I have two students, one of the two being you. You two have no obligations whatsoever, and are free to devote as much time as you wish to graduate school. Say you are equally smart and talented, but I give all the interesting and challenging projects to the other student, whereas you end up doing a lot of small, less important routine work, which leaves you with a lot more spare time than the other student to pursue other interests; it is also unlikely to give you a chance to display your talent and imagination.
    I also send the other student to conferences, Summer schools, and all sort of other events where (s)he could have “face time” with prospective employers, leaving you home all the time, again freer to do other things. Wouldn’t you resent that ? Would you not think that I am being unfair to you, that I am derailing your career ? If the other student happens to be a male, you know exactly what you will think, and you know what ? You’d be darn right.

    I can tell you all sort of touchy-feely crap, Cherish, but the reality is, you may get that degree but if your graduate experience ends up seriously lacking in some crucial aspects, you will suffer for that — there is no denying it. A potential employer will not care about any of the “other things” that you did, and based on my experience, I do think that sometimes one’s fortunes crucially depend on having met the right person at the right time.

    If I arrange for you to attend a Summer school, it is also (between you and me: mainly) because I know that some scientists will be there, who may be impressed by you and may seriously consider you for a position [of course, I don’t know that that will happen for sure, it may well be a “waste of your time”, but let’s say I honestly feel, to the best of my judgment, that it would help].
    If you tell me that you can’t go because you have other things to do [all perfectly legitimate reasons], it may be stupid of me to lecture you on your lack of commitment or patronize you in any other way, but I do need to make it clear to you that you are passing on a potentially important opportunity. If I told you “don’t worry, no need to go, none of that matters”, I’d be telling you a lie.

  6. Professor in Training Says:

    If the PI/school can afford to assist the grad student to travel to meetings and/or work in other labs, it’s definitely something that looks good on the student’s cv AND provides a lot of valuable experience.

    I went to grad school in my home country (a land far, far away) where it costs an arm and a leg to travel internationally. Our advisors/PIs had the tiniest of budgets and shelling out a few thousand dollars for even one student just isn’t possible. Our school used to provide each student with a $500 allowance to attend meetings (ie $500 MAX for the duration of your PhD) but that was the first thing that was cut when the school was looking to save money. Our university had a travel grant scheme that, although extremely competitive, provided up to ~$US4,500 for students to travel to another lab/facility to undertake work that was vital to their studies provided that work had not been foreseen at their proposal defence (that last bit’s kinda stupid).

    I paid my own way to my first regional meeting at home and won the young investigator award that paid my way to the national meeting. Then won the young investigator award at the national meeting that gave me $3K to travel to an international meeting here in the US. Between that, and the $4.5K I got from the travel grant, I was able to spend a semester working in Dr Big Name’s lab here in the US for a semester, travel to 3 meetings while I was here, decide that I really didn’t want to postdoc for Dr Big Name after all but took advantage of the fact that he knows me well enough to have a nickname for me now. That semester cost me a lot in personal savings, but it was worth it in the long run as I still catch up with Dr Big Name at meetings and forged several close friendships with some of the people in Big Name’s lab that have helped me a lot.

    Students would be well advised to travel as much as possible as meeting potential employers/collaborators and putting yourself and your work out there is all part of the game and is as important as publishing and having great lab skills, if not more so.

  7. Cherish Says:

    I think you’re being simplistic in your assertion. One hundred and two hundred years ago, people collaborated by mail. It may not have been efficient, but it worked.

    One of the students in my department has an advisor at a different university. They have weekly video conferences…or more often if there is something coming up. I know someone at my old university who has a working relationship with a professor at another school (his advisor’s MS advisor). One of the profs on my MS committee said he took a week to work at another lab (set up by his advisor) to get some help with his dissertation.

    I don’t understand why it would be so bad to call a person up and say, “I have this student you may be interested in,” or, “I have a student who may benefit from your expertise.” Fly them out for a couple days to get to know the person and see if they could develop a working relationship.

    There is no reason to send someone on a six week trip in the hopes that they may be able to meet someone and develop a working relationship. All that does is exclude people who can’t afford the time (for whatever reason…sick spouse or parent, parenting responsibilities, what have you) to spend six weeks lollygagging around, even if it would be a good opportunity.

  8. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    Cherish, I honestly think that we are talking about two different things. You seem to question the wisdom and real usefulness of doing some of the things that I encourage my own students to do — fine, you may well be right. I operate primarily based on my experience and “gut feeling”, but hey, who knows, really…
    I do believe that extramural experiences are important and useful, and I would hope that students with family or other obligations would approach me and say “Listen, I’d love to go but, is there any way you can help me with my situation ? Can you help me financially ? Can you pay for me to take my kid with me, or for me to hire a nurse to take care of my ailing mother ? Would it be all right for me to go for two weeks only ?” etc, etc.
    With that, I can work – with “Sorry, I have other things to do — no time to lollygag around”, I can’t.

    I don’t understand why it would be so bad to call a person up and say, “I have this student you may be interested in,” or, “I have a student who may benefit from your expertise.” Fly them out for a couple days to get to know the person and see if they could develop a working relationship.

    I don’t think it would be “bad”, but, based on my experience, it is not nearly as effective, as far as the student’s bottom line is concerned.
    I do think that face time is important, and that two days are not enough to form an opinion of someone, especially of a potential future employee (by the way, many women scientists believe this to be all the more important for a woman, as she faces greater diffidence, and the bar is set higher for her). And given that this is all done by humans, I do think that, everything else being equal (or, indistinguishable), we all tend to go with the person whom we feel we know better. Again, my opinion only, and I may be way off base.

    Also, there is another thing for you to consider: I may not know Prof. BigName, or not have that kind of relationship with him/her. If I call, they may well say “sorry, I have no time”, whereas if (s)he meets you directly, without knowing that you are my student, e.g. by going to a session where you are speaking, (s)he may think “Who’s this person ? I better talk to her, she seems smart enough”. Sometimes you will make a much better advocate for yourself than your advisor.

  9. The Inorganic Gardener Says:

    I have to confess, I treated my Ph.D as a (largely 9-5) job, not a way of life. Whilst I did go to conferences (national and international) and by the end of my Ph.D I’d given a lot of talks at international level, which is quite unusual in my field (mainly because my Supervisor believes in submitting abstracts for talks, not wasting time trying to get a poster – take that as the back-up plan and always put in for a talk), I didn’t go to any residential summer-school type things – I stayed in the lab and worked. I did a few weeks of fieldwork but I never stayed a day more than I needed to (ditto with conferences, except one in the USA which I tagged a holiday onto the end of).

    I’m not personally a big fan of “schmoozing” (or as we call it here “sucking academic c*ck”) people you don’t know at conferences. Some people can get away with it and it works for them, but not me. If you’re the sort of person who can get away with walking up to a total stranger and saying “Hi I love your work…by the way, give me a job” without looking and feeling like a complete bell-end then go for it. Me, I can’t do that, so I rely on my publication record and my reputation from presentations. They manage to get me jobs on their own account so I don’t worry too much about having to learn to schmooze or to get my boss to schmooze for me. Obviously for some people (especially those who are funded by industry and therefore cannot publish their work), this is the only way to promote themselves, so I guess it’s a necessary evil. The people who attend conferences but don’t present anything at all always make me a bit suspicious…

  10. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    I’m not personally a big fan of “schmoozing”…people you don’t know at conferences. Some people can get away with it and it works for them, but not me.

    Wow… Oh-Kay…
    It’s funny, I am reading my previous comments and I thought I was talking about going to conferences [where I suggested that a potential employer may be impressed with a student’s presentation], Summer schools [where normally you have to do some work and take an exam at the end], and actually spending time working at some other institution… you may add to that sending preprints, which in my field is fairly common.
    I never said anything about “Hi I love your work blah blah blah”, nor did it ever occur to me that all of that was “schmoozing”… oh, well.

    I guess I have always assumed that, in a field where each day a hundred new papers are uploaded on the archives, where the number of applications for tenure-track faculty positions is easily in the hundreds, with often as many as 30 candidates truly outstanding (at least on paper), where the likelihood of landing a job (in academia anyway) is pretty low even for people who are really gifted and have done superb work — relying exclusively on one’s CV might be a bit risky, and so it might be a good idea to give someone some additional data points to give me a job rather than the next guy — and I figured that maybe talking science and discussing research ideas might help.

    Me, I can’t do that, so I rely on my publication record and my reputation from presentations. They manage to get me jobs on their own account .

    Well, hey, good for you. Most of us are not that lucky.

  11. Cherish Says:

    Can pay for me to take my kid with me, or for me to hire a nurse to take care of my ailing mother ?

    As someone who was told to drop out of school because she was pregnant (because, of course, women can’t do math when they’re pregnant), I seriously doubt most people would even ask…and if they did, there’s a good chance they’d be lucky if their advisor didn’t yell at them. After all, isn’t your own damn fault if you chose to have a kid?

    I do think you’re right that these things are a boon to some people…but I have to mention a couple things. First, timing can be a BIG issue. Any parent with a newborn will probably find it difficult to manage something like this unless their spouse has a pretty open schedule and can join them, as well. So while someone may need to turn out an opportunity at some point, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested. Second, women tend to have a disadvantage as they tend to be judged more harshly in situations where gender is apparent. Thus, it may not work as well for female students as for males, which does beg the question of whether you are inherently adding to the advantage that men already have. Therefore, I think it’s rather overboard for you to say things like they should really reconsider whether or not they should be in grad school.

    However, I do agree that, in principal, these things provide networking opportunities. I also think, however, that there are other ways to nurture those things…some which will not have all the negatives associated with what you’re suggesting, even if they do have the negative that they may not be quite as effective.

  12. The Inorganic Gardener Says:

    I just mean I can’t do it as in I really can’t do it. I can’t sound like I am interested in talking to someone when I’m not, all I’m doing it trying to get a job from them or them to referee a paper or whatever.

  13. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    I really can’t do it. I can’t sound like I am interested in talking to someone when I’m not, all I’m doing it trying to get a job from them or them to referee a paper or whatever.

    I understand, even though, I repeat it, that is not what I am talking about. In any case, sure, if you are so formidable, if your CV stands out so much that you can afford to sit back and wait for a phone call, more power to you — most of us can’t.

    Most of us, who are not “superstars”, do not hold a PhD from a top-10 university and do not have a Nobel winner for major professor, have a hard time even getting to the point where one may actually read our CV — most recruiters won’t bother reading past the line that says “PhD at second tier university”.
    The day we are lucky enough someone gives a damn about what we have just presented, and approaches us saying “Interesting work, can I talk to you more about it ?”, most of us do not deem it wise to walk away saying “Get away from me, you creep !”.

    Me, I shall sit down and talk to that person, first of all because I actually am interested in talking about my work and receiving feedback — heck, I may even learn something. But also, indeed, I do it because there is a chance that (s)he may review my next paper, or proposal, or hire one of my students (toward whom I feel I have some responsibility), and giving a good impression seems like a good idea.
    But hey, variety is the spice of life…

  14. The Inorganic Gardener Says:

    I understand, even though, I repeat it, that is not what I am talking about.

    I wasn’t aware I had to follow on from the last comment as per the topic within it. Mea culpa. I was merely expressing my views.

    For what it’s worth, my B.Sc came from one of the top 50 in the UK, my Ph.D from one of the top 30, I now work in one of the top 10. The field I work in is SERIOUSLY unsexy. Less than 10 people in the world working in this area, to my knowledge, and prior to the last 5 yrs, no publications in this area since 1993. I publish in journals with impact factors of less than 2.0 which generally have titles beginning with the words “Archives of…”. I’ve had a few Letters to Nature in my time, but I doubt I’ll see another in the next decade. I will say though that they were solid, old-school science (all physiology and biochemistry, nothing “molecular” (whatever that really means) and no reinventing the wheel/using sexy new methods) but in serious unsexy, unfashionable, not really very interesting (unless you’re me) areas. I’ve no idea how they got in but I’m glad they did. It’s always worth a shot sending things to the sexy journals (written to put a particular spin on the data) I guess. Better to try and fail than not to try at all I spose…

  15. ancient physics postdoc Says:

    Where I did my PhD (somewhere in the British Isles) grad students got barely enough funding for subsistence, let alone conference attendance…

    But besides conferences and summer schools there’s another, less conventional (?) way grad students can put themselves “out there” for minimal cost: Academic hitchhiking.
    To illustrate this possibility, here’s the story of my experience. After completing my PhD I had time to kill while waiting on the outcome of a postdoc fellowship application (my only remaining chance for a postdoc). My adviser made the vague suggestion to “go to USA and travel around visiting uni’s and giving talks”. He had a couple of contacts who had met me already on visits to our institution, and who provided the initial fixtures for the trip. One of them got his department to cough up $1000 for me to visit his uni in Boston for a couple of weeks, and managed to arrange free accommodation house-sitting for a traveling colleague. The other agreed to cover local expenses and per diem for a couple of weeks at his uni in NY state. After that it was all up to me to find other destinations. That turned out to be quite…”interesting”.

    I wrote off emails to various distinguished academics working on stuff closely related to mine, whose work I knew and admired, and said I was gonna be in USA and could
    I please come and give a talk and visit their institution for a few days at their expense.
    I (and my advisor) were unknown to all of them, and most didn’t reply; one said “maybe” (which later became “no”), but fortunately there was one who said “sure!”. Besides that, there was a guy who was the collaborator of a random person in Europe who had contacted me about one of my papers at some previous point — he also said “sure” and offered me to stay for free with his family at his house for the visit. And then there was the
    very famous guy at MIT who said no I couldn’t give a talk there (the slots were “all full”) but that I could come and have a chat with him while in Boston. (I would never have asked for that, but when he offered of course I accepted.)

    Airtravel was fortuitously sorted for minimal cost thanks to the girlfriend of one of the other grad students being an employee of American Airlines and having a supply of standby coupons that she didn’t plan to use. Once the trip was underway, the challenge was to see how long I could keep it going for. In Boston I sent more emails to various people in the US East Coast region who might possibly be interested, and one guy at NYU took the bait. Not only did I get a nice stay in NY from it but he was so kind as to contact a few of his illustrious buddies, and from that I got trips with talk invites at Yale and Princeton! So, yeah, that worked out pretty good.

    It was kind of nervewrakking at times getting the schedule to fit together. There were times when “gaps” appeared and I didn’t have a place to stay lined up, but something always turned up thanks to the kind help of various people, and often led to unexpected fun experiences. As well as that, my various hosts along the way sometimes introduced me to, or put me in touch with, others who I would never have thought to contact myself, which led to additional talk invites and/or discussions at neighboring uni’s. All in all a cool experience. My original plan had been to academic hitchhike from East to West coast of USA in this way. It definitely seemed doable — spamming enough people with requests to visit always produced at least one or two hits, and these could then be milked for contacts to make further progress. But after a couple of months, and having made it as far as the Mid West (Indianapolis), I was too exhausted and decided to call it quits.

    So there you go — no need to go to conferences and be a wallflower, try academic hitchhiking instead! Hosts at the uni’s I visited were often bemused and asked “where did you get the idea to do this?” But at the time I though that it was the normal, expected thing for grad students to do at the end of their PhD — that was the impression I had gotten from my PhD adviser…
    For someone with the skill to exploit it I’m sure this would have provided enormous potential for networking and finding mentors etc. But I was very blase about that aspect at the time; my attitude and aptitude was similar to Organic Gardner’s above. And it didn’t help that I hadn’t learnt how to give a good talk, and thought it was a good idea to try to include in the talk the new research progress I had made the previous evening…
    I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t maintain *any* of the contacts I made on that trip…still, a fun and stimulating experience, and I suppose the list of seminar talks is good for the CV.

  16. Massimo (formerly known as Okham) Says:

    I wasn’t aware I had to follow on from the last comment as per the topic within it. Mea culpa. I was merely expressing my views.

    Not a problem, you may express your views at will. Since you are commenting on a post of mine, though, and since you insist with bringing up the notion of “schmoozing”, as though that was my main (or, even one) argument for sending students to conferences or Summer schools, I just wanted to make it clear that that is not what my post was all about, that’s all.

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