The Steinmetz Symposium is today at Union, as mentioned in yesterday’s silly poll about fears (I love the fact that “Wavefunction Collapse” leads “Monsters from the Id” by one vote at the time of this writing– my readers are awesome). As a more serious follow-up, there were two presentation options offered to the students, and this year’s physics majors overwhelmingly chose one over the other. I’m curious as to how many people would make the same choice, so here’s a poll:
If you’re not in a field that offers both of these options, I’ll put a breif description of the pros and cons below the fold.
A 15-minute talk is, well, a 15-minute block in which you explain what you did for your research project. You generally get to use whatever presentation technology you like best– chalkboard, PowerPoint, etc., but you’re limited to 15 minutes with five minutes after the talk for questions from the audience. At Steinmetz, these are typically in sessions of 5-ish talks per session.
PRO: During the time you’re talking, you are the only one presenting, and thus command the full attention of the audience (potentially, anyway). The whole thing is over in 15 minutes.
CON: Depending on the project, it can be very difficult to condense months of work into a single 15-minute presentation. The tight time limits don’t allow much detailed discussion, either in the talk itself or in response to questions. And, of course, it involves public speaking.
For a poster presentation, you are given a section of a display area– typically something like three feet by four feet– on which to hang a poster describing your research. While you are not formally required to be present, it is generally expected that you will hang around during the poster session to answer questions that people have about the poster. These are generally done in large rooms with 20-plus other people presenting their own posters at the same time.
PRO: Does not involve public speaking in the stand-in-front-of-a-crowd-and-talk form. The longer time period allows for more in-depth discussion with people who stop by to ask questions.
CON: You’re on call for an hour and a half, which can be exhausting. You’re one of 20-30 people presenting en masse, and it can be hard to draw attention to your work and the coolness thereof.