So I recently attended a conference in Pisa. In this conference, there were several things that happened that made me feel like this perhaps is the best conference I have attended so far. Let me tell you why.
See, this is a conference where I had a talk. It was co-authored. I was the first author. I've delivered talks before, but something was special in this one. It is because this is the first time my former adviser in graduate school saw me deliver a talk, in which the talk was co-authored but not with him. See, when I was in graduate school, most of my presentations in conferences were co-authored with my PhD adviser. That was totally expected. However, after graduation, let us say I moved on. I got a job in an institute in Berlin, did research there, and of course, I have been presenting my research in various different places.
Now perhaps the fact that this is the first time my former adviser is hearing me speak about topics that he didn't supervise makes it a little jittery. I was nervous a little bit, I felt like I was under evaluation by my former adviser, because he wanted to see whether the more than half a decade of advising that he did produced something of value. Hopefully, that's what he thought.
And sure enough, he told me later that my talk showed plenty of evidence of the training that he and a fellow faculty in my old university gave me. That was something I loved to hear.
Another thing that happened was that when I asked the plenary speaker about something from her talk, her response indicated that she knew of my work. That was surprising too. Funny, because this plenary speaker's dissertation was actually the first dissertation I read in graduate school. Back in 2006, I read three dissertations, one of them being hers, when I went to Prague to spend three summer months. And now, she knows of my work.
Anyway, I should say that I enjoyed this conference. I felt like I am one of them now. I used to feel differently, when I was still a grad student. When I would show up in conferences, I would see these famous people and their research, and would feel awed that I am within these people. Now people are starting to pay attention to what I do. That's a good feeling.