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Science, Maths & Technology

Getting ready for the IPPW-5

Updated Monday, 18th June 2007

Presenting a poster at an interplanetary science workshop can be a terrifying experience.

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ExoMars rover Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: ESA - AOES Medialab
The ExoMars rover.

The IPPW-5 mentioned in the above title means InterPlanetary Probe Workshop and this year it is the fifth one but my first. It is a conference beginning this weekend and is to extend over the week. During any PhD it is important to meet and learn directly form the people at the top of your field and conferences are one of the best ways of doing that. Like any job finding out what everyone is up to is integral as it allows you to place your own work in the wider context of the subject. This is even more important within academia since peer review is required for your work to have any credibility. Less smoke and mirrors but more stomach churning terror as very clever people check over your sums. It just so happens that I have to do this in the extremely pleasant city of Bordeaux in the summer and for free.


Before you all start to hate me anymore it won't all be vineyards and guided tours (well not all) I actually have to do some work while I’m out there. First thing is a workshop. It will be about landing probes on interplanetary bodies by people that have actually been in charge of missions which have done just that. Following this is the conference proper with more sessions with poster presentations relevant to each one. The reason why I get to go to the conference for free is that I am presenting a poster in the session concerned with new sensors for interplanetary science (that would be the stomach churning terror).

When I mention presenting a poster my brother says how I have gone through a degree to do something quite straight forward. Truth is posters are a very good way of sharing your results with people and are nothing like the advertising posters seen on bus shelters. The sessions involve a hall with all the posters arrayed so people can mingle and read one another’s work, it is expected for you to stay near your poster since if anyone has any questions you can help out and is great for networking. These posters are usually full of diagrams and graphs which accurately portray how you have undertaken your research and earn your bread and butter. They are also meant to be easily read and understood by your audience. So yeah, I'm a little apprehensive.

Anyway, I hope to be able to add another post in the not too distant future describing how the whole thing went. If you still want some further info on the conference check out the IPPW website.





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