The 2012 International Workshop on Deep Inelastic Scattering and Related Subjects in Bonn (Germany) is coming up at the end of next month. I'm scheduled to give a talk there, but my adviser has asked me to look for external sources of funding to cover the trip. So naturally I thought of Stack Exchange and its speakers' bureau program.

Why is this of interest to the community?

DIS 2012 will be attended by a lot of accomplished high-energy physicists. In particular, representatives of the major experiments at CERN and elsewhere will be presenting their latest results, so anyone who follows the latest trends in high-energy physics will be interested to know what is presented at the conference. I can write up daily updates and post them on my personal blog, and I can also make an effort to ask relevant questions on the site.

What is the benefit to Stack Exchange?

Many of the physicists there also have teaching duties, and there will also be graduate students and postdocs giving presentations (at least, I assume I won't be the only one there who's not a professor). Even if these people may not be the type to ask questions on this site, they are in a great position to recommend us to their students or members of the public. So this is an opportunity to get more people aware of this site. I can also mention other related SE sites which may be of more interest to the conference attendees - I'm specifically thinking of Theoretical Physics and Computational Science.

What do I need?

As I mentioned at the top, I'm looking for any funding sources that can replace some of the grant money that (I assume) I can get through my university. Since the potential benefit to SE is not as great as if I were going to a conference specifically to promote this site, I wouldn't presume to ask for a full sponsorship of the trip, but even, say, a contribution toward the cost of the hotel would be helpful. I already plan to acknowledge selected Stack Exchange sites in my presentation, but I think the acknowledgement might carry more weight if I could say "sponsored by Stack Exchange, Inc." People's ears tend to perk up when they hear that money might be available somewhere ;-)

Physicists don't go to conferences expecting to collect T-shirts, but if I had some small things to hand out like business cards, pens or pencils, or maybe even stickers, I could probably send a few people home with reminders of our network.

So what does the community think about this? Is it worthwhile? If not (or even if it is), I think we should keep in mind the possibility of sending someone as a representative of PSE to a more high-impact conference like next year's APS general meetings.


Updates:

  • Success! Stack Exchange will be partially sponsoring my trip to Bonn and I will do my best to involve the Physics.SE community, perhaps including posting updates on this meta question. More details will be coming.
  • Swag has arrived :-) I have some stickers, pens, and markers to hand out at the conference.
  • I'll be mainly posting updates on my blog and on Twitter, but I'll also add summaries to an answer to this meta question.
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"Physicists don't go to conferences expecting to collect T-shirts" Well, the big conferences usually have some swag--a bag with a pen, a notepad and the schedule in it at least--and it's been down a bit recently. So maybe a freebie wouldn't hurt. –  dmckee Feb 26 '12 at 21:51
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How do we get SEs attention on this? Do we need more people from the community to support it? AFAICT nobody visits the meta :( –  Manishearth Mar 2 '12 at 14:17
    
More support is always better, but this should be good enough for now. I'll have to send them an email about it. –  David Z Mar 2 '12 at 16:56
    
@DavidZaslavsky Any progress? –  Manishearth Mar 12 '12 at 9:20
    
Nope, no response from SE. –  David Z Mar 12 '12 at 10:03
    
@DavidZaslavsky Sorry about that! I'll check on the progress of this for you. –  Anna Lear Mar 14 '12 at 3:28
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2 Answers

I'm not sure what Deep Inelastic Scattering is, but physics.SE could definitely do with some promotion (I dunno about the other sites, but a little promotion never hurt anyone). Compared to the other SEs, we have much less activity. And we need more specialists, as is evident from this.

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UPDATE: Here's an idea I just came up with. In honor of the conference, I'll be putting bounties on between zero and two more DIS-related questions this week to increase their visibility and/or reward those who post good answers (with a preference toward new or low-rep users). So if you have a question on any topic related to the conference, this is the time to ask it!


At Shog9's request, I'll be posting some updates here as I put things up on my blog.

  1. What is Deep Inelastic Scattering?
    I'm starting with a post that explains in basic terms what deep inelastic scattering is, as well as why it's important enough to have a conference named after it even if much of the subject matter of that conference is not directly related.
  2. Summary of plenary sessions
    I've posted an overview of some of the plenary session talks, including recent results.
  3. Midweek report: Parallel Sessions
    Here I just pointed to some potentially interesting presentations, but I'll have to come back and do analysis later.
  4. Day 5: plenary sessions (again!)
    There is a lot to summarize from this conference, but for now I've posted a quick overview of some of the relatively general-interest points brought up at the concluding summary talks.

I did manage to get the word out about Stack Exchange to a few people at the conference! I gave out a few pens and markers (the stickers were less appreciated, though).

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