Every year in December, hoards of Earth and space scientists from every discipline imaginable migrate to San Francisco, California for the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). In December 2016, I joined approximately 24,000 other scientists and science professionals for my first AGU experience.
If you didn’t balk at the number of attendees I mentioned, then you come from a very different world than me. I normally attend the annual meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), a smaller gathering with a typical attendance of less than 1,000 individuals. The annual SFS meeting is familial, supportive, and focused on disciplines within my field of freshwater ecology. I know, or am one or two degrees of separation from, almost everyone at the meeting. And I leave the meeting feeling reconnected with good friends and colleagues and reinvigorated to do good science.