I've learned that scientists, as a group, give pretty crappy talks. They love data and want to show you all the bits and pieces, even if there's really not time for that. They tell you things they have been working on so long and in such detail that they have forgotten what it's like to be their audience. They just dump information onto the digital page and expect you'll understand it. Instead of understanding in an instant, the audience is bombarded with new information that they need to process very rapidly before the next slide comes up with yet another information dump. This makes seminar a gamble. You spend an hour or more sitting in a dark room hoping to hear something interesting and knowing there is a possibility the best thing you'll get is a lukewarm cup of tea.
Friday's biophysics seminar was presented by Peter Chien of U Mass Amherst. He told us about recent work in his group that completes an 8-year story: they have been chasing down a mechanism for how certain proteins are broken down in Caulobacter crescentus bacteria.
It was excellent.Read More