5 reasons AGU is awesome

My attempt to capture the scope of the poster sessions at AGU

As the last day of AGU approaches, I am pleased to report that the meeting has been excellent. Here is what I love about it and what I might change.


1. Despite the 20,000+ participants, it’s easy to find your sub-community(ies), because sessions are physically clustered next to each other. The biogeochemistry talks and posters are always in the same hallway and the same rows.

2. Lots of researchers whose work I respect and have been following were there (e.g., Margaret Torn, Pam Templer, and Steve Allison), making it a great place to “put faces to names”.

3. There were some great sessions, including ones on the stability of deep soil carbon (co-organized by my friend Biao), soil change and SOM dynamics in the anthropocene, and incorporating explicit microbial mechanisms into earth system models.

4. The casual assumption that 3:30PM at a professional conference is a good time to start drinking beer makes for  better-attended late-afternoon poster sessions. Also, the free coffee and tea is very nice (take note, tri-societies!).

5. I got to room with my friends who study water supply and soil and land degradation in Ethiopia, plutonism and volcanism, and cosmic rays. Where else would we all end up at the same conference?


1. The number of people sitting on the floor at any given time was high enough to indicate to me that more lounge/work space might be needed. Although maybe people could find a chair by just actually going to a session.

2. The meeting app, while a good start, was a bit clunky to navigate, couldn’t locate presenters by their full names, and was hard to just browse.

3. The biogeosciences luncheon was super super meat-heavy, which was a bit surprising – I expect a lot of the other scientists in that division also normally try to reduce their meat intake.

That’s it! It’s been really great, and I will definitely plan to go to another meeting in the future. Thanks to the Cornell Graduate School and to the AGU for the travel grants to help me get here!


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