June 26, 2015 marks the inaugural Geophysical Laboratory (GL) and DTM poster gathering at the Broad Branch Road campus.  The Geophysical Laboratory's own Charles Le Losq, Ileana Perez-Rodriguez and Zachary Geballe were the masterminds behind the poster gathering, organizing the event and encouraging everyone on campus to participate. 

The poster gathering was advertised by Le Losq as:

...nothing formal but just a cool science gathering session! Bring your crazy ideas, your fancy theories, your best experiments, those you cannot explain, your collaboration projects, whatever you want! Something like the Jupiter trees and their particular C isotope composition that is induced by fluctuating electronic eigenfunctions due to the solar wind pressure! (for instance)...

The session itself was comprised of 37 original posters from GL and DTM participants; including postdoctoral associates, staff scientists, collaborators from the University of Maryland, alumni and support staff.  The Tuve dining hall was buzzing as participants and attendees mingled from poster to poster, discovering all of the different facets of science that are taking place at the Broad Branch Road campus. 

Topics ranged from astronomy to materials physics and drew in more than 60 attendees.  A full list of the topics and poster titles is available here.

Geballe, Le Losq and Perez-Rodriguez noted that the event was inspired from the idea of finding a practical way of getting the BBR campus' scientific community updated with each other's research, and culminated at a brainstorming session between postdoctoral associates and the recent visiting committees.  The postdocs realized that they mostly work alone or in small research groups, so Becky Lange, an Earth Science professor from the University of Michigan, suggested a poster session. 

Le Losq and Perez-Rodriguez were also inspired by DTM's Johanna Teske, who organized a series of postdoctoral seminars last fall, and thought the poster gathering would be right in line with that successful series, "while also providing a space for science interactions in an efficient way," says Perez-Rodriguez.

"I wanted to learn about other people's research," says Geballe, "and to have fun nerding-out on a Friday afternoon. I also wanted to encourage the less social postdocs to meet other postdocs, because I thought that would improve the atmosphere at GL and to eventually improve everyone's research."

Le Losq adds, "Another goal was to keep things simple. We are all pretty busy and the idea was to make a serious but informal poster session. Meaning that if you came with just printed figures and a title, this is perfectly fine.  [A poster gathering] can be a good thing for new postdocs that do not know necessarily all the things that are going on at the [Broad Branch Road] campus."

In true poster session form, libations were served and pizzas delivered, to encourage participants and attendees to interact with each other and stick around for a while. 

The overwhelming response from the participants and attendees was that the poster gathering was extremely fun. The organizers all agree that the support from GL and DTM directors, George Cody and Rick Carlson respectively, made for a successful event "experiment," as well as the support from Carnegie president, Matt Scott and the support staff on campus and from the Carnegie headquarters at P St. 

As for what the future holds, Perez-Rodriguez says, "We hope to hear of a second annual poster gathering! I would envision this experiment turning into a "mini-symposium" running on Friday, with selected talks from several people from our own community in the morning and ending with the poster session in the afternoon."

Until then, enjoy these photos of the poster gathering and get excited for next year's event.

               Zack Geballe, Ileana Perez-Rodriguez and Charles Le Losq                     Attendees and participants at the poster gathering


Michelle Scholtes, 29 June 2015

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