poster competitions

Wed Aug 7 15:16:06 EST 1996

>In article <4ualsd$aan at>, lanoilb at 
>Lanoil) wrote:

(snipped for space)

 and j-stowe at (Julie Stowell) replied

>RE: value of the work seems vague and based on a general impression of
>the field.  Again, I would say enthusiasm for one's work translates to
>a better poster/talk and should be awarded credit (even acting credit).
>So I would say, maybe the judging is not based on looks, it is just

I was told by a communications skills seminar teacher (note vested 
interest here) that half of science is being able to communicate your 
ideas and enthusasim to others, both those who work for you and those 
you ask for money from, as well as to others in your field. 

 I know male scientists I would describe as "perky", though people 
usually say, "he's really excited about his work" and use the less 
informative "perky" for young women ("intense" for older ones!).  Though 
most departments don't offer formal training in communications skills 
for the PhD (I've sat through more than a few talks during which I 
wished the speaker had taken Speech 101 in grad school!) , the fact that 
the PhD defense is an oral defense implies that communication skills are 
important to the scientific community. 

Bottom line-I think that while all the pretty slides/posters and 
sparkling presentation in the world won't cover up bad science, it can 
make OK science look good.  And, more importantly, incredibly good, 
innovative science CAN be hidden and lost by poor or sloppy presentation 
or lack of confidence/conviction. Do others agree?  

I know that most people I've talked to about this think that scientists 
can be too "slick" for their own good (ie-"what are they trying to hide 
by using that fancy slide program" is the first thought in some people's 
mind when they see other than black on white or white on blue slides, 
and 3 piece suits on anything other than sales reps can be 
intimidating), but I've rarely heard anyone say, "well, he/she looked 
like a slob, and the figures weren't clear or drawn well, and he/she was 
hard to understand, but hey, the science was great!"

My 2 cents for today,
Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

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