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Nicole Ackerman | SLAC | USA

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My “first” Collaboration meeting

I’m really enjoying my time with my EXO collaborators in Sudbury, Canada.  While this isn’t my first collaboration meeting by most definitions, this is the first time I really have gotten the complete experience.  While on BaBar I called into collaboration meetings for a few talks, but never attended the whole thing.  All previous EXO collaboration meetings were at SLAC, so I didn’t have the experience of  leaving my normal environment to focus 100% on EXO or going out for drinks with my colleagues every night.

I’m noticing that there are many nuanced differences between this collaboration meeting and any sort of other meeting or conference.  First of all is the schedule.  We have many days filled with talks, so the chair of each session is trying to keep us on time.   However, it was realized at some point that the conversations we are having are absolutely essential and the reason we are having this meeting!  But even with the discussions between groups regarding the content of the talks, we are still only an hour behind after the third day.  I’ve seen much worse scheduling at conferences!  Almost all of the speakers are observing their time limit, which helps.  I will definitely claim that I talked for my allotted 30 minutes but that there was 10 minutes or so of discussion that made me go over.

Another big difference is the friendliness of everyone. While I work closely with many people here, there are others I’ve never met. Yet we all have lunch together and it seems as if everyone just sits down with whoever. While I try to meet new people at conferences, I am not very successful. Here however, I know I will be interacting with everyone again (many times) so I need to learn names and get to know them – and that there is plenty we can talk about right away! I have even learned a lot about the people I already knew, over drinks and dinner. Unfortunately, dinner plans have been difficult to arrange without the last-minute cell phone contact we’ve all become used to.

While I’m more exhausted than I knew I would be and I got a lot less done than I anticipated, I’m still a little sad to head home. I look forward to future opportunities to come up to SNOLAB (and the exciting bars of Sudbury) and I also look forward to future EXO collaboration meetings, regardless of where they are.

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