At the 237th meeting, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) took full advantage of the online opportunity. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this meeting will actually be held this week.
The self-proclaimed “Astronomy Super Bowl” lasts until Friday (January 15) and usually covers a wide range of topics, even if it is completely online, this year’s version is no exception.of The full agenda is here. Some hot topics that participants can look forward to include fast radio bursts, dark matter, sky surveys, gravitational waves, and trying to understand why different teams use different metrics to calculate the expansion of the universe.
Before the pandemic broke out in March last year, AAS had conducted iPosters (PowerPoint posters, including a combination of text, images, video and audio) and short scientific lectures in face-to-face meetings. The association tested these conference formats online at the June 2020 conference, and as the quarantine restrictions expanded within the United States, the conference soon moved online within the first few weeks.
Full coverage: 237th American Astronomical Society Meeting in 2021
Press officer Rick Fienberg told Space.com in an email interview that participants can expect more online adjustments to AAS 237.
He said: “For AAS 237, we will add a 2-minute author introduction video of’Turbo Talks’ to draw people’s attention and stimulate interest in its iPoster.” Fienberg said that other changes that participants can expect include in the talks Let people use Slack channels “at will” and spread meetings over five days instead of four to reduce the time attendees spend on computers every day.
The virtual exhibition hall will be very different from the attendees in June. Fienberg said that this time, AAS will use a conference environment called vFairs, which allows sponsors and exhibitors to create customized branded virtual booths.
“They can post brochures and other documents for download, allow staff to interact with one-on-one or one-on-one participants at the booth at specific times of the day, and provide webinars to more participants Introduce their products and services,” he said.
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He added that the ultimate goal is to attract more attendees to the virtual exhibition hall to reflect the “coffee break” and “cocktail time” experience usually obtained when strolling to the physical hall in a face-to-face meeting.
Feinberg said: “For obvious reasons, at the first virtual conference in June, exhibitors did not get their usual traffic.” “Therefore, for the month of January, we arrange some dedicated time every day. The only The event is held in the exhibition hall, and we have successfully encouraged almost all exhibitors to provide webinars. These events are planned along with other events to avoid getting lost in the shuffle.”
Student participants can also look forward to the first virtual “Graduate School” and undergraduate research “experience exchange meeting” in history, which will allow students to share resumes, meet via text and video chat, and learn more about participating institutions Information-All of these do not need to pay for personal travel. People at all stages of their careers can also take advantage of various social activities, such as trivia night, quick social networking and virtual treasure hunt games.
Looking back at the June meeting, Fienberg said that AAS staff “really must scramble to move all activities online, including assembling infrastructure, finding suppliers, and mobilizing members and other stakeholders. Approximately 1,400 people participated in the virtual event, and the hard work paid off-twice the expected attendance that AAS thought would attend in person in Madison, Wisconsin.
Feinberg said that the IAEA listened carefully to feedback from participants in June to prepare for January. Another change they are making is to include two-day seminars, which were not available in June. Compared with summer meetings, winter meetings generally have higher attendance and more meetings and events.
Feinberg said: “During the five-day scientific conference and two press conferences a day, I have arranged 10 briefings instead of my usual 8 briefings, so I want to communicate with the spokesperson An increase of 25%, including institutional public information officers.” “All of us who participated in the planning and execution of the meeting were indeed exhausted, but this was also the case during face-to-face meetings. In these two meetings we learned that virtual meetings are involved Workload and one person.”
Fienberg added that some attendees expressed concern about the high registration fees for virtual meetings, but he pointed out that the infrastructure is not free. Although online meetings do not require venues and banquet services, AAS is still working with vendors and software to provide the best experience. When talking about the cost of AAS, he said: “This is a fairly fair deal.”
With the slow promotion of vaccines in the United States and other countries/regions, AAS is considering when it may hold face-to-face meetings again in the next few months. Feinberg said that even before the pandemic broke out, due to the cost and environmental issues associated with activities such as flying, members were already seeking virtual options. Journalists have been able to participate in virtual press conferences for many years, and Fienberg said the epidemic has led more types of participants to strongly consider online options.
He said: “I think future meetings are inevitable.” “We just need to figure out how to make it work financially.”
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