Friday, February 11, 2011


We turned the living room into a seminar room for the night, all the couches and chairs facing the blank white west wall, onto which we projected my PowerPoint slides. The audience was diverse: in addition to a dozen adults from several professions, I spoke to two little girls (neither of which understand English), an eight month old baby and a big old shaggy dog who curled up by my feet. Before I had gotten through my introductory slide the dog was snoring loudly under the table I was using as a podium, one of the little girls was raising her hand wanting to go to the bathroom, and the baby was waving at me with both hands and saying, "bob bob bob bob bob bob bob bob." As I described the success of my laboratory experiments to date, the dog woke up and began snuffling in the trashcan next to me, and at some point one of the little girls came and tried to sit behind the podium. Despite these disruptions (or perhaps because of them?) the presentation went well, the assembled nonexperts seemed to think the presentation clear and convincing, and their comments, while helpful, require only minor changes to the talk.

I hope that the distinguished scientists I am to present to on Wednesday will be somewhat more decorous. If they are not, it may give me an unfair advantage over the other applicants.

No comments: