What do scientists do when they are not in the lab?

Gastartikel Often people answer this question with another question – “Scientists do things outside the lab?!” The concept of isolated scientists doing top-secret experiments in the basement of their houses is a cliché. Being a scientist requires social and communication skills and a deep sense of networking.

If you always thought of a scientist as a “nerd” you might very well start thinking of scientists as “social nerds” from now on. Scientists do spend part of their time seated at benches doing experiments. They do seat at a desk and write about their experiments, about the reasons why they want to do the experiments and about why they should get the money to be seated at their benches doing the experiments. Michael Jackson would have said “This is it”! The truth is that “this is not only it”! Scientists do all of that and much more!
One needs to start thinking about scientists not in the context of their basements but in the context of research institutes in which they work together with hundreds of other colleagues. They meet and discuss about their work in groups of two, four, ten, and up to hundreds of people, and they also meet and discuss about the new episode of “Dr House” during their coffee breaks. They work in laboratories in which they constantly move around and clash into people – people from different nationalities and cultural background. And most of all, they travel the globe to discuss their work and listen to other scientists work in the so-called scientific meetings. And this brings me back to the initial question core of this blogging series “what do scientists do when they are not in the lab?”
They go to meetings. There are hundreds of different scientific meetings offered to scientists every year covering all the different flavors of science. I will focus on a very special meeting – the EMBO meeting – to illustrate what scientists do when they are not in the lab. The EMBO meeting is happening in Barcelona this year and it will happen again in Vienna next year and hopefully continue to occur in a yearly basis throughout the years. It gathers more than 3000 people that meet and seat to discuss their work, their careers, their strategies and the future of life sciences.
Keep yourself tuned to this blog and find out what is happening in the meeting while the meeting is actually taking place. I have to leave you now to attend the lecture of Elisabeth Blackburn – the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009. I will let you know the details later on! Have a nice day!

Adriana Goncalves ist Gastbloggerin vom EMBO-Meeting Adriana.jpg

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