Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New template goodness 

I had to give a seminar today and it went very well! I'm celebrating with a new template. I missed "the chick", so I brought her back to my header, bigger and more eviller than ever!

Yes, I said "eviller"


(might need to reload the page to see new template goodness. if that doesn't work, clean up your cache! what a mess! were you raised by WOLVES????)

remembered what else I wanted to write about....My talk!

So today's talk was basically a rehashing of my committee meeting talk last month, with another data slide thrown in, and some fleshed out "future directions" at the end. It was for the genetics people in the biology department, an assortment of yeast, worm, zebra fish, and fruit fly people. It was pretty easy, because I had an hour. MUCH better than the 20 minutes talks we have to give for our program.

Yes, longer is easier. Try to condense down a year's worth of work into 20 mintes - it's difficult! Why? because here's the format of a typical science talk:

Title: stuff that I've done with X
1. what is X?

2. why do we care about X?
aside here: this is the part in the talk where you try like hell to find a link between your topic and some devastating human disease. we usually use cancer. I try to use the word "cancer" on as many slides as possible. if you DON'T include a "why this is important" slide or three, there is actually a faculty member here, let's call him....P Diddy, that will interrupt you at some point and ask "sooo.....why do I CARE about any of this? what's the point?" and if it's a newer student, a first or second year, they will break down in tears. After a while, you learn to put in those slides. Many of us actually refer to them as the "P Diddy slides." in more casual settings (ie, when P Diddy himself is not present) I will actually TITLE those slides "the P Diddy Slide"

3. more details about X - assuming (most of the time) that the audience you are speaking to knows very little about X, at least half of your talk will be on the background of X, using lots of visual aids, and, if you are power point proficient, little animations. wheeee!

4. past work done by other labs on X.

5. why that past work was crap

6. here's what I want to know about X

7. here's what I've done to find out

8. data - depressingly, this is usually only a slide or two

8. what does my data mean? - lots of "handwaving" and sweeping generalizations

9. why my data is better than previous crap work

10. future directions, or, here's all the other stuff I plan to do with X

11. thank you, to all the people who put up with me whining about how crappy my work with X is.

that's a lot of stuff to fit into 20 minutes. which is why I prefer the hour talk. That's only 45 minutes of the talk, followed (or interrupted by) questions. Nice.

And got PIZZA out of it, to boot! w00t!