Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Cognitive Neuroscience Society 2011 Annual Meeting in beautiful San Francisco, where my lab presented some of our recent research.
This was my first time at a big academic conference, and I really had an incredible time. Few things make me happier than interesting ideas and intelligent people, and CNS provided 40 solid hours of learning and conversation which left me smiling like an idiot by the time I got on the plane back to New York. Aside from filling 25 pages of my Moleskine with notes (which I’m in the process of transcribing and putting online), the chance to talk with many of the names I’ve been reading for years was really exciting, and possible in no small part thanks to the fact that my advisor turned out to be friends with (or have worked with) almost everyone I wanted to meet. It was particularly great to chat with Roberto Cabeza, whose Attention to Memory model inspired my insight research. On a more practical level, it was really valuable to be able to talk with current graduate students in programs and labs I’m considering applying to for my PHD, and learned some important things for when it comes time to make my decision.
I’m sure I would have enjoyed the conference had I gone on my own, but it was great to be there with 5 other members of my lab. Though I met a bunch of great people at the Student Society dinner, it was really nice to always have someone I knew to grab lunch with or chat to during coffee breaks.
The conference went from 8am to 7pm every day, so I didn’t get much of a chance to see friends in the city, but I did experience my first authentic Mission burrito during our Lab dinner at Pancho Villa Taqueria. The foursquare tips said to get my burrito mojado (wet, thus the sauce and cheese), and it was definitely the right decision.
I also rode the cable car for the first time, which I had somehow neglected to try despite all the time I’ve spent in San Francisco. I couldn’t help feeling like a monkey as I hung off the side (thanks Eddie Izzard), but it was preferable to having to walk back up Nob hill to where I was staying.
I’ll post a note with a link when I get my notes up online, but for now, I leave you with nightmare EEG baby courtesy of the EGI booth.