I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but this is really the first time that I have done any pre-conference homework. What I am referring to is looking at the conference schedule, browsing the website, looking through abstracts, and even using the online planner to make an itinerary.
Though maybe a bit nerdy, or perhaps just naive, this has been an epiphany for me. For any conference-goers reading these posts, if you don't already, I urge you to take a look at the conference program well before you get to San Jose. Do a little planning now so that you can arm yourself with those good questions to advance and broaden your research. Some brief searching on the CLEO website last night already got me thinking about some new directions for MID-IR work as well as resurrecting some old ideas I had about novel pulsed sources using optical-phase locking.
To start your planning, I suggest going to the Hot Topics categories midway down on the main conference page. Typically I am cynical about what seem like cute little multimedia ploys to spice-up dry, technical subject-matter like the You Tube shorts on this page. However, these are well delivered and helpful. They are worth a listen. I found myself playing them all even though many were out of my sub-field. The list of tutorials and invited talks beside each short was particularly useful.
In one of the shorts (above), Peter Smowton, the Semiconductors Subcommittee Chair, from Cardiff University teased my interest in prompting what he thinks could be a "controversial" talk, CTuKK1, "Direct Observation of Two-Photon Gain in Semiconductors." This is the first observation of two-photon gain in a solid. Be sure to show up at 4:45 pm on Tuesday, May 18, in room A6 to watch the drama unfold.
In another short, Konstantin Vodopyanof, the General Chair from Stanford and Brian Applegate, the Biophotonics Subcommittee Chair, from Texas A&M University prompted me to schedule William Moerner's tutorial on supper-resolution into my itinerary, 4:45 on Thursday, May 20, in room A4. What is super you may ask? Less than 100 nm. Impressive.
After browsing Hot Topics, you may try what I did and build up a conference itinerary.
If you are going to CLEO you're a nerd already, embrace it and do some nerdy planning too.