The massive annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience hit the ground running today in sunny and crisp Chicago. It’s only day one and the conference center is already clogged with neuroscientists. Attendance is supposedly around 30,000 this year — a staggering number, but down from the conference’s peak a few years ago in Washington, D.C. when attendance almost hit 35,000 (and when travel budgets were a bit more generous).
30K-plus is still a decent number, but apparently not big enough to take over the McCormick Place convention center — just next door from the conference, McCormick was hosting open auditions for season 5 of America’s Got Talent, and a dense and enormous stream of aspiring stars and their parents snaked around the conference center for most of the day.
There are plenty of other reporters here blogging and tweeting away, including Greg Miller at Science, DrugMonkey, the folks Tweeting with #sfn09 and eight “official” SfN bloggers. The latter is SfN’s admirable effort to actively integrate live blogging into their conference. Of course, plenty of people manage to blog and Tweet without the “official” designation, and it’s unclear whether this will actually impact coverage — but at least SfN is embracing social media, as opposed to clamping down (which has its pros and cons).